The success of any business depends on the ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences. For this reason, customer experience (CX) has become a key differentiator in today's highly competitive market.
After spending a few years in the digital field, I gained the skills to collaborate with IT teams and ensure that the designed customer journeys were implemented in the backend systems. However, I have also witnessed customers having poor experiences due to gaps between CX and operations functions. In the play of delivering exceptional CX, the operations team plays a crucial role in ensuring that the business can deliver the intended customer journeys efficiently and consistently at the utmost premium quality. As a CX professional in a global consulting firm, I work with clients in various industries that rely heavily on their operations to deliver exceptional customer experiences. This outstanding guide on ‘Effective Collaboration on CX and Operations’ has been a lifesaver, providing valuable insights and guidance to navigate challenges.
It is a mind-blowing guide that provides insights into the tools and methodologies used across operations teams, the role of organizational design and the balance of trade-offs between efficiency and CX governance. Moreover, the guide also highlights extensive research conducted across various sectors, such as Banking, Retail, Technology, Airline, Construction and more to build on some incredible case studies for readers. Here are a few ways the CX team can support Operations:
Owning CX Delivery: Embedding accountability of delivering excellent customer experience to operations ‘personnel’ will build a strong foundational alignment between departments. To achieve this alignment, there are some key practices that CX professionals can employ. One such practice is to integrate Business Operational Excellence or Improvement teams into the Experience Office. In organizations where a Chief Customer/Experience Officer exists, a Head of or a VP of Operational Experience can be assigned to the Chief Experience Officer to align Operations with the strategic CX strategy. This includes defining, measuring, and tracking Operational Metrics that align with the strategic metrics, facilitating a CX Operational training program, and developing, maintaining, and governing CX Standards and supporting practices. Communication of CX Operations strategy with all employees and the establishment of a culture of self-enablement, ownership, and engagement that fuels continuous iteration to improve customer experience are also important. Finally, organizations should ensure that remuneration and KPIs align with improving CX and leaders should be held accountable for the leadership they demonstrate in CX.
Proactive Issue Resolution: Operations teams often view business decisions as a trade-off between different factors such as cost versus quality, time versus accuracy, and investment versus cost minimization. As CX professionals, it is important to emphasize that these decisions are rarely black and white and that opposing goals can be achieved simultaneously with a balanced solution. While investing more time in a process to reduce error rates may come with an upfront cost, it could result in savings from reduced labor, customer compensation, and complaints. The CX team can aid the Operations team in conducting a thorough examination of customer journey pain points. They can offer support by providing Voice of Customer (VOC) data and a detailed analysis of pain points that arise throughout the end-to-end processes and customer journeys. This collaboration can lead to the proactive identification of issues, fast resolution, and the distribution of information to front-line teams, enabling them to take swift action with customers.
Goal-Oriented Action Planning: Collaboration between CX professionals and Operations team leaders is essential for achieving a customer goal-oriented journey. To overcome silo thinking, implementing Agile and Design Thinking practices can be effective. This involves creating cross-functional teams with diverse skill sets, which can encourage a better understanding of the various team members' working realities and a broader perspective of the customer journey. CX should be embedded in all onboarding experiences to reinforce the critical customer touchpoints of the organization, CX philosophy, and the role that every employee makes in contributing to that experience. This will ensure that the incoming pipeline of new team members will join with the same expectations and understanding of the value that the organization places on CX. These action plans should be co-developed with Operations managers and aligned with other business data to provide a holistic analysis of the company's success.
By establishing efficient and simplified procedures along with transparent communication, CX and Operations can operate as a cohesive unit to achieve KPI and drive growth. Although, I love how this guide also enlightens us about common pitfalls that we should be mindful of:
● Absence of strong CX prioritization from C-suite leadership
● Implementation of CX programs only in selected parts of the business
● Lack of data which can lead to incorrect assumptions
● Excessive focus on metrics and conflicting targets
Did the above pitfalls sound like a struggle you are currently going through and are unsure of how to instill CX initiatives across your Operations teams? Well, this guide is just for you as it shares suggested remedies to solve these pitfalls and pave your way through them. I must admit that I was thoroughly engrossed in reading the incredible case studies featured in this guide, which highlight the ingrained CX programs of organizations such as IBM, National Australia Bank, Google, and Harley-Davidson. I'm eager to hear how this guide helps you collaborate with your Operations folks!
Vaishali Dialani, CCXP is the Customer Experience Analyst for Konabos and is a winner of CXPA’s 2022 Emerging Leader Awards. The book Effective Collaboration Between CX and Operations: Strengthening CX Together, is available for free online reading to CXPA members at www.cxbookstore.com Not a member? Learn more and join today.#2023#featured