If you want people in your organisation to appreciate the value of customer experience, you need to learn how to sell customer experience (CX) to those who are not dealing with it day in and day out.
It’s a rather simple idea to understand, but not an easy thing to do in practice. And that’s why CX is an area of business that’s often underappreciated, undervalued, and overlooked.
As a CX leader, it’s possible to feel a little demotivated by that.
You might get feedback from your team around their perception of not being taken seriously across your organisation. Maybe they don’t get included in product decisions or informed when new marketing campaigns are run. They might feel frustrated and unhappy because they see huge opportunities for your company that aren’t being capitalized on.
The only way to change this is by tackling it head-on. You need to learn (and teach) how to sell customer experience to your whole organization. While this isn’t something you can achieve completely by yourself, you can do a lot to influence the perception of CX throughout your company.
You can become a driver of change.
Increasing the standing of the CX team across the company is also the best way to increase investment in your team. The more your company invests in CX systems and teams, the more you’ll feel the positive impact on your customers (and your business metrics).
The research on customer experience value speaks for itself:
- Research from Dimension Data reports that 84% of companies who invest in customer experience report seeing an increase in revenue and 92% of them see an increase in customer loyalty.
- Forrester found that CX leaders outperform laggards both on stock price growth and total return, and that has been even more valid in the past two challenging years.
In your quest to achieving those types of goals, it might be a great first step to start asking some questions regularly in your team meetings. For example:
- What do we do to promote the customer experience?
- How do we talk about the value of what we do?
- When is the right time to raise a specific CX issue and how?
And while this is a great place to start, mastering how to sell customer experience is not a trivial task.
Why selling customer experience is challenging
There are a few common challenges when trying to make customer experience value visible across your company:
- Lack of good data
- Contact rate
- Competing priorities
Each of these challenges makes it harder for you to prove the ROI of customer experience and to sell other leaders on the importance of investing in CX.
Lack of good data
Many customer experience and customer insights teams suffer from a lack of good data.
Categorizing, analyzing, and quantifying different parts of the customer experience can be very time-consuming. Every CX team needs to figure out a reliable way to collect data before they can start providing meaningful insights to the company.
Messy and unreliable data makes it more complicated for you and your team to find how to sell customer experience. But fortunately, this is a relatively small hurdle to overcome. It’s often best to start with what you have—even if it’s not perfect—and begin building momentum. Over time, you can work to make that data more comprehensive and trustworthy.
Many people assume that customer experience refers to support tickets. That’s a limited view because your customers have many different touchpoints with your product and brand over time.
Support interactions are an important part of the customer experience you’re creating, but making them the main thing can hurt you. It creates one main challenge: Are the insights you gain from tickets representative of your customer base?
Only a very small proportion of your overall customers likely end up contacting you in a given month or quarter.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use those insights or that they aren’t valuable. You just need to address this barrier proactively. You can either use data that shows these insights are representative or include other sources of feedback in your CX program to paint a fuller picture of your customer experience across different stages of the customer journey.
Competing strategic priorities
Let’s say you’ve managed to handle the other two challenges. You have some data and you can back it up well enough that it’s validated and taken seriously by other leaders in your organization.
Translating that data into meaningful action is your last and biggest hurdle.
Every company has a huge list of competing priorities. In the famous words of Steve Jobs, “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.”
Every strategic decision comes down to deciding to focus on one thing over another. It’s on you to make the case that customer experience is one of the things that need to be prioritized.
How do you establish that customer experience brings a great return on investment? How can you even measure what the impact of CX is?
How to sell customer experience across your organisation
There are three big things you can do to promote the customer experience across your company:
- Measure the impact that CX has on financial or business metrics
- Proactively advocate for CX across the company
- Develop the CX team so that you can represent the voice of the customer
Measuring the impact of CX
It’s okay to start selling CX with generic stats about how valuable customer experience can be across industries. You can make a general case about how a great customer experience drives sales and loyalty. This will translate to financial and business metrics, which is the bottom-line impact you’re looking to have.
Moving from generic to company-specific arguments is much more powerful.
That may sound like a huge and intimidating project. That’s why starting small is the best way to begin. This is much easier to do when you already have some buy-in. You can build a case for CX for your CEO first to justify an initial investment, then branch out from there.
Another great approach is to prioritize projects within your team that will have the biggest impact on the company’s success. If your product is business-critical for some of your customers, maybe great incident detection and response is how the CX team contributes the most. If you run a B2B subscription model, maybe relationship-building and customer success are what you should focus on.
It’s easier to measure the impact of projects when you’re specific about what you’re prioritizing. Pick one area and make a change to the customer experience. Compare key metrics before and after the change to understand the impact. If possible, try segmenting your customer base and running A/B tests simultaneously to see the impact in real-time.
Quantifying the business value and ROI of customer experience is tough, but it’s the foundation for mastering how to sell customer experience.
Advocating internally for the CX team
It’s easy to underestimate how much of an impact internal advocacy can have on changing the reputation of customer experience across your company. CX teams are often taken for granted and not given the attention of teams like Product or Sales.
As a CX leader, it’s your responsibility to figure out what to do to promote the customer experience and set the tone for how CX achievements and feedback are perceived across the company.
You can influence this in numerous ways:
- Build relationships with leaders across your organization. Do you have a good understanding of how CX impacts Sales and Marketing? Does your Product team listen to your feedback? Do you understand other teams’ priorities and strategic goals? CX impacts every area of your company, which means you have a great opportunity to collaborate across the board.
- Communicate your wins as a CX team. Find ways to track specific positive feedback from your customers. Are there situations where your team successfully retained a customer after a bad product experience? String together enough of these examples and you can make a much stronger case for customer experience value.
- Encourage others to shadow the CX team. Look for opportunities to enable senior management, QA testers, developers, and others to interact directly with customers. It’s easy for teams—especially senior leadership—to become separated from your customers. Every time you can draw them closer to your customers you’re building momentum for CX initiatives.
Internal advocacy is worth investing energy into across all parts of your organization. It’s tempting to get stuck on the leadership level. Get buy-in from the top and it will translate to results, right?
Focusing your attention on one or two teams is great as a starting point, but customer insights can be valuable across all teams. Every team will need something slightly different from you, but tailoring your communication and data to each audience will make it far more impactful.
Representing the voice of the customer
Voice of the Customer (or VoC) is a methodology used to understand how your customers feel about and experience your business.
You can use every piece of feedback and interaction you have with a customer to build this understanding. The goal behind running a VoC program is to enable everyone across the company to know what your customers need and want.
The CX team is often uniquely positioned to collect and share this information. If you’re looking to master how to sell customer experience, getting your CX team involved in building a robust Voice of the Customer program is a great way to get started.
The outcome of our VoC program should be clear analytics and reports describing your customer experience. It will arm you with specific and actionable insights whenever someone in your organization needs them.
Your VoC program should also include regular opportunities to update your company on CX initiatives. How did your latest marketing effort or product change impact your customers? How is your price increase being received?
Customer experience value lies in your ability to digest data and translate it into meaningful insights to share with other parts of your organization.
Is The Organisation Sold on CX yet?
After all the effort you have done to learn (and to teach to your team) how to sell customer experience across your organisation, a final question is legit: how do you know if you’re being successful and all departments truly understand the value of CX?
This is something you can probably figure out in the long term, but there are some early signs you should look out for. Those are:
- People across your organisation proactively ask the CX team for input and feedback.
- More money and company investments are directed towards customer experience.
- Customer metrics and business KPIs, like customer loyalty and churn, see hand-in-hand improvements.
Remember that changing perception across an organisation takes time and mastering how to sell customer experience is no trivial feat. And at the end of the day, the more people you get on your side and the more things they will do to promote the customer experience, the more empowered your CX team will be to help your company succeed.