Following your Customer Experience North Star

By Tabitha Dunn CCXP posted 07-08-2021 04:05 PM


As the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, then any road will get you there. Or to put it into a customer experience (CX) context – many CX roads will get you to many different destinations. Best-in-class, CX-oriented companies have a clear definition of their customers and the intended customer experience to be delivered – their Customer Experience North Star.

Defining and launching your North Star can stir up a lot of great energy and lead to valuable communication efforts - from physical materials such as cards, desk swag, and posters, to digital formats such as online training, engaging websites, and customer stories. But what happens after the hype of the launch – how do we make a Customer Experience North Star sustainable and integratednorth star throughout the company?

I’ve broken this down into the tried-and-true segments of people, processes, and tools.

People – Your Customer Experience North Star should influence hiring and ways of working. Take Southwest Airlines for example – “fun” is a keyword in their experience and there is no doubt that it affects who they hire and how those employees interact with both their customers and each other. There are numerous stories of this experience in action that showcase the integration of the North Star with company culture.

  • Key to success: Determine a handful of key behavioral attributes that employees who “live the North Star” would exemplify and integrate those characteristics into your hiring policies and into the ways that you celebrate company culture. This reinforces the behaviors and expectations of your workforce.

Process – If you have improvement projects underway in your business with a stated outcome of improving the customer experience, it should be spelled out (1) which customers are targeted, (2) what part of the customer journey is being affected, (3) how the experience will change for customers and employees and (4) what customer-centric metrics will be tracked. If every project in your business has been assessed for its potential impact on your customers, you reinforce a culture of improving customer experience and enable clarity on the outcome of those improvements.

  • Key to success: Build out training for project managers and project sponsors. Project managers should know where to get the information they need for scoping a project’s customer experience impact and experience design. Sponsors should then reinforce the expectation that this material be included in the project and ask for it when it is missing.

Tools – This is one of the critical ways a central CX team can empower many areas of the business to drive effective change and enable alignment to the Customer Experience North Star. The CX team should become a library of best practices, a connection for tracking CX impact and coaching for CX-centric capabilities, and the go-to resource for journey mapping, experience design, and customer-centric metrics.

  • Key to success: Ensure your CX team is set up to be the core resource for your North Star improvement efforts. For example, if a project team is setting up its own metrics for success regarding the customer experience, a trained CX sponsor can redirect them to the core set of shared CX metrics. This reduces duplication of efforts and ensures you have a trusted source of data for measuring success across every area of the business.

Whether you are just starting on your journey towards building your Customer Experience North Star or you are working to close the gap, a systemic approach to aligning to your North Star enables more rapid progress towards achieving that outcome and sustaining it for the long term. By aligning your company’s people, processes, and tools to the North Star strategy, you ensure that your customer experience goals are integrated into all aspects of the company, driving positive and measurable change to better serve your customers.