A step-by-step guide for leading a workshop to transform your CXM process
Co-Founder & CEO
July 09, 2018
If you are in search of real improvement in your customer experience, don’t waste your time on a project. Install a process. In the same amount of time, you’ll be able to make immediate improvements AND engage your entire organization in a process for continuous CX improvement and evolution.
I have helped hundreds of CEO’s and business owners install a Customer Experience Management (CXM) process into their organizations. Through each engagement, I have continuously refined the installation to make it as impactful and efficient as possible. So after 25 years, it’s down to a single meeting and some pre-work. The objective of this article is to provide you with a do-it-yourself guide to installing a CXM process in your organization. I hope you find it helpful.
Identify Your Organization’s CX Leadership Team
Looking over your organization’s roster, make a list of the people who are responsible for parts of the CX. Make sure you include department/functional leadership as well as representatives from the front-line who have demonstrated a strong passion for understanding your customers. Once you’re comfortable with your list, you may want to run it by some of your colleagues inside the organization and make sure you aren’t missing anyone. The last thing you’d want to do is forget someone and have an essential part of the experience not represented on the leadership team. Next, connect with each person on your final list and ask if they would join your team. You can let them know that if they join, the next step would be for you to interview them about their perspective on the company’s current customer experience. They will also be expected to attend the team’s inaugural meeting (The Workshop) in which the team will determine the meeting plan and time investment required moving forward. If someone on your list declines, ask them to recommend someone to take their place who can represent their perspective.
Interview Each CX Leadership Team leadership Member
You can use this 5 question questionnaire as the basis for personal interviews or send it to them and have them respond via email:
- Who is our customer?
- What is the goal of our overall customer experience?
- What metric(s) provide(s) the best measure of our current customer experience performance?
- What processes or systems do you manage/use that impact our customer experience?
- What is your #1 idea to improve our current customer experience?
Interviews/Questionnaires should be completed at least two weeks prior to the Workshop so that you have time to aggregate the responses into a presentation.
Here is the basic checklist for setting up your Workshop:
- • Time Required – Depending on number of participants, we typically do 2 hour, half day or full day sessions. Whatever time you have and can coordinate, let this workshop be the inaugural meeting with an understanding that this is a conversation that will begin and never end. It’s more important to cover each agenda topic and start the dialog than it is to try to come up with the ultimate solution for CX perfection in a single meeting.
- • Venue – A conference room will do but getting the team outside of the office and possibly into a venue that has some additional significance can add to the experience.
- • Audio-Visual/Workspace – You’re going to need a way to share the results of your interviews along with a way to capture the team’s brainstorming and planning efforts. We like to use laptops, but whiteboards, easels or handouts can work just as well.
- • Refreshments/Facilities – Plan accordingly depending on the length of your meeting to make sure everyone stays hydrated, has access to energy snacks and restrooms are easily accessible.
- • Invitation – Send out the invite well in advance to make sure it gets on people’s calendars early so that they can plan travel if necessary. Share an attendee list, workshop objectives and the agenda (below) to give assurances that this will be a productive use of their time.
- Establish the CX Leadership Team
- Align around the current state of our CX
- Install a CXM process moving forward
- Welcome to the CX Leadership Team
- Audit the Current State (Share Interview Results)
- Start Designing the Future State
- Operationalize the CXM Plan Forward
Finally, you will need a way to share the findings of your interviews. I’ll discuss the exact information to present below in the next section.
The big day is here and if you’ve done the pre-work, the workshop should be fairly easy to facilitate. It could be performed anywhere so have some fun and be creative about the venue. The intentionality that you demonstrate in managing this experience can provide a terrific illustration of experience design to all attendees. Intentional doesn’t always equate with money spent. Focus on the attendees and their purpose for attending and try to design an experience that brings to life just how important your customers are to you.
Here’s a Facilitator’s guide you can use to lead the workshop but I encourage you to customize this plan and make it your company’s own.
Agenda Topic #1: Welcome to the CX Leadership Team – Start by welcoming everyone, re-stating the objectives, and walking through the agenda along with any meeting logistics that need to be covered. I’d recommend a good ice-breaker to get the team relaxed, in a creative mood, and on the same page.
Agenda Topic #2: Audit the Current State – The next agenda topic to cover is the current state of your experience. To get as clear of a picture as possible of how you as a group currently see your customer experience, you interviewed each one of the attendees and asked them 5 questions. Spend the first part of this workshop reviewing the results.
Interview Question #1: Who is our customer? – Share the answers you received to this question. Lead the discussion about the differences between answers. Add any new answers that come up in the discussion. And lastly, take a vote on which answer is best. There doesn’t need to be unanimous support for any one answer. It’s most important just to get everyone’s perspective out on the table so that you can first understand where you stand currently.
Interview Question #2: What is the goal of our overall customer experience? – Same process as above for the first question.
Interview Question #3: What metric(s) provide(s) the best measure of our current customer experience performance? Same process as above for the first question.
Interview Question #4: What processes or systems do you manage/use that impact our customer experience? Share the list of processes and systems. Does anyone see something missing from the list? If something’s missing, who is responsible for managing/using it? Make a note to invite some of those people to join the team. Discuss which processes are most important to your customers. I like to have each attendee vote on their top 3 giving them 3 points for their first, 2 for their second, and 1 for their third. Take a break to tally the results and share the team’s perspective on the most important parts of the experience.
Agenda Topic #3: Start Designing the Future State – Now that the team has a clear picture of how they are thinking about their current experience, it’s time to start designing the future.
Interview Question #5: What is your #1 idea to improve our current customer experience? Remind attendees of their answer to this question. Give them the opportunity to change their answer. Have each share their final answer with the group. As each answer is given, ask the group members to raise their hand if their answer is the same. Document each unique answer. Get a show of hands of the number of people that ‘like’ each answer as you go and document the number of likes. Once you have all of the teams ideas captured, the team must determine priorities. Again, I like to have each attendee vote on their top 3 priorities giving them 3 points for their first priority, 2 for their second, and 1 for their third. Take a short break and tally up the results. This should give the team a good idea of where to start. However you do it, identify the top priorities and start putting some plans into place.
Agenda Topic #4: Operationalize the CXM Plan Forward – The last session of the meeting is focused on installing the process for how the team will manage and work together into the future. This is when the team will customize the CXM process for themselves. There are 3 key elements to the CXM Plan that should be covered one by one:
Measurement/Reporting Plan – Formalize who on the team owns the measurement and reporting of CX performance. What changes (if any) need to be made to the measurement/reporting plan as a result of this meeting?
Communications Plan – Formalize who on the team owns the communications plan to the rest of the organization. How and when will the results of this meeting be communicated?
Meeting Plan – Formalize who on the team owns the CX Leadership Team meetings. How often should this team meet and when is the next meeting?
With these 3 plans in place and a defined owner of each, your new CXM process is installed. Break up the meeting and let everyone get back to work with a brand new, unified perspective.
Managing the Process into the Future
As a founder of your organization’s CX Leadership Team, you have just transformed your organization’s CXM process. To manage it into the future, focus your efforts in three areas:
Managing the CX Leadership Team – Change is inevitable in both the market and consequently your customer experience. Members will leave and you’ll have to replace them. New customer channels will evolve and you’ll need to add people to represent those new channels. Make sure that at all times your team is representative of the team responsible for managing and delivering your CX. The world is changing faster every day and there’s a huge advantage in keeping your CX team as agile as possible.
Keeping the Team Connected, Communicating and Engaged – Encourage connections between team members. A social event or off-site meeting goes a long way to creating connections that enhance working relationships. Try to keep the conversation constant by sharing information – both about external market changes and internal meetings / decisions being made.
Sharing Improvements & Results – Share any information or data that could help team members improve the areas of the experience they are responsible for. This includes the most current customer feedback along with plans for future improvements.
The Outcome is Transformative…
Why It’s Important – Without an established CX Leadership team, the coordination of CX efforts is next to impossible to pull off with any degree of agility. Everyone in an organization impacts the customer experience, and they need leaders that can provide clear direction.
Why It Works – Sharing a vision of your current state and future design plans enables productive collaboration. Otherwise, people are working in silos and drifting apart every day.
How to Make It Happen – Establish the team and keep the vision present in your organization’s daily operation. Help everyone share a view of the current state with an eye on the horizon.