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In this podcast, I am joined by fellow podcaster Amelie Beerens. She is a CX expert and helps managers take actions on their digital roadmap. Together we talk about the challenges of this transition, how to cope with resistance to this change and how to work with emotions within the organization. We will end the podcast by discussing the importance of having a holistic approach in this transition.
Challenges with bringing customers at the centre of a decision.
Customer experience is a priority for a lot of organisations today, but I only see a few succeeding in involving cx correctly. Why is this? What are the hurdles?
1/ A product-oriented mindset and culture (or management-oriented)
In an organisation, not everyone will be adapted to dealing with the importance of cx. More often, the focus lies more on the product itself. There are a lot of departments and discussions about optimizing the product itself or the product sales. It has become a habit to work around these principles and not involve the customer in the discussion. These customers simply cannot always be rationalized through graphs, numbers and discussions.
It is clear that in order to deal better with cx, people need to learn to work with behaviour, feelings and emotion. The organisation needs to incorporate the customer into their values and actively involve the customer in their decisions.
2/ CX is tackled as a sprint rather than a marathon
Organisations will often hire some sort of cx consultant or expert and expect a result fast. This is because their objectives and performances are usually assessed on the short term. But customer experience is something that needs more time to develop properly. Shifting the culture of a company cannot be done swiftly and easily, because after having the same mindset for years, people have become resilient to change. Overcoming this resilience can be a time-consuming process.
I immediately hear you guys thinking…
“Incorporating the customers into our values and involving them into our decisions seems vague and not specific at all.”
“How the heck are we supposed to work with emotions and feelings?”
“Overcoming resistance is not only time consuming, but pretty impossible.”
Don’t you worry . I will answer these questions in the next few minutes!
Implementing the cx mindset in your organisation
There usually emerges a big chaos while transitioning to the new cx mindset, which can lead to stress and disorder. So how do you make this transition more swiftly?
1/ The top has to be customer oriented first!
The management team has a big impact in the organisation. That’s why the change has to be made there. If they are able to step down from a hierarchical management-oriented mindset to the new cx mindset, people will see this as the new norm and adapt as well. The top should create the best possible conditions for the people to do their job in a customer-oriented way.
2/ Link CX to day-to-day actions
Don’t think that the change can only be made from the top down, though. By linking customer experience to daily meetings and discussions, people get used to the idea of putting the customer into the conversation and involving them into decisions. You can do this by starting a meeting with a little anecdote. Talking about something you saw in the shop or something you picked up through customer care. By doing this, the customer is being woven into the DNA of the organisation and this will be beneficial on the long term.
3/ Approaching CX holistically and not as a separate thing
To implement the cx mindset into the company, you need to implement it in every department of the company and treat the departments together as a whole. Organisations have become very good at separating and specializing every aspect of the company into multiple departments. The problem with this separation is that every department focuses on their department objectives and not on the objectives of the company as a whole, which in this case is customer experience.
Dealing with resistance to change and emotions
1/ Resistance to change will undermine CX
We all have noticed that people are resistant to change. It is hard to change fundamental things in our own life or in our professional life. I noticed this myself when trying to learn new habits or making change in my company when I was CEO. Why are we so resilient to change? And how to work around this resilience?
Work in small steps! Making multiple small adjustments in an organization will lead to less resilience than one big adjustment. That’s because small changes pull us less out of our comfort zone than big ones.
When making big transitions in a company, many changes are made, new methodologies and functionalities are being added. Old ones are replaced or adapted. When this happens, people often think that their expertise is considered outdated or irrelevant and feel unrecognized. Especially when the pressure in the organization is high, they will not be open to learning new skills and growing. This often happens because it has been taught to us from a young age that making mistakes is bad and means you have failed. It is completely normal to make mistakes when picking up a new skill. So how do you deal with this fear of failing and rising angriness in transitions?
One word: recognition!
Listening with care to what people have to say and recognizing their past work and methodologies will make them feel valued and respected. These people have been successful with certain methodologies for years and have worked the company to where it now stands. If suddenly, they are told that their methodologies are no longer needed or no longer work, they could believe everything they have done up until that point is meaningless. If people still resist, put your focus on the people that don’t, and the rest will follow.
2/ Emotions play a crucial role
This point has a great link with the previous one. In order to listen with care, people have to be able to tell how they feel. That’s why, in an organization, there needs to be room for people to share their emotions, without them being afraid of getting remarks for it.
Decisions are always affected by emotion. That is how our body was designed. If we listen to our colleagues, to our spouse or to our children and do our best to understand why they feel a certain way, these people will feel understood and have a better mood. That’s when the collaboration is good and good decisions are made!