Many CX thought leaders have recently discussed how a company needs to transform, when it wants to focus on customer experience. It is very seldom that improving one thing can improve the whole customer experience. The mindset needs to be everywhere in the company and the interdependencies between different organizational units have a huge impact on the outcome. This means that CX needs to be embedded in a holistic way into the way the company works, and all units need to work together towards a common goal.
In my two previous posts I have discussed the collaboration between CX people and Finance & Control and Human Resources. This time I want to focus on the collaboration between CX and Communications.
In any transformation program, communications is crucial for getting everybody onboard. The first task is to get everybody to understand the benefits of the change and know the vision and goals. Working together with the company’s Communications organization helps CX people align their messages with the company’s overall communications and include CX related topics in the company presentations, leaders’ materials, websites etc.
It is astonishing how often employees tell that they are not aware of their company’s CX goals, measurement, and current status – or even know where to find information of customer insights. Information simply doesn’t reach the right people – a major issue that needs to be addressed.
CX and Communications have two kinds of opportunities to improve the situation together. One opportunity is content creation: ensuring that the CX messages are in line with the company’s key messages. In addition to message or content creation, a collaboration area for CX and Communications is integrating CX communications to the communications channels that the company is using – and in some cases setting up new channels for effective CX information flow. Naturally, these efforts vary a lot depending on the size and complexity of the organization.
Today, there is a wide array of possibilities for organizing CX communications. The first task is to understand who the stakeholders are and then answer the questions: Who needs to know what? and What is the best way to deliver the information to this group?
Below I comment some of the most common communications channels:
Face-to-face presentations are important for engaging teams and individuals on an emotional level. This is important especially at the beginning of the CX transformation and well-planned communications in this phase can be crucial for the further success of the initiative. It is not always possible to meet teams face-to-face. Then virtual sessions – phone, web or video conferences – may be a solution.
The Communications organization can also help integrating CX messages into company leaders’ presentations and other internal and external materials.
Channels are also needed for effectively reaching wider audiences across the company.
The company intranet can offer a platform where all employees and leaders can find key CX presentations and stay in touch with what customers are saying about the brand, products and services. At least an up-to-date summary of the CX vision, goals and latest insights and actions should always be available on the company intranet.
Online reporting tools offer a great opportunity to make data available for employees so that they can themselves pull out reports and filter data for their own needs.
Standardized – e.g. periodic – or tailored reports can also be seen as part of the communications activities. Standardized reports are typically delivered to leadership teams for a periodic review of the status and trend, while tailored reports, which dig into specific questions, can fulfill the needs of a technical or marketing team.
Targeted emails are a fast way of pushing information forward. Maintaining distribution lists may, however, be a hard task, unless there is a possibility for people to subscribe to the emails that they want to receive.
As customer experience is such a hot topic in many companies, there might be space for a dedicated bulletin or newsletter that is published regularly. The content can be, for example, the latest insights of customer feedback, achievements in addressing issues that customers have raised, and success stories. Instead of a bulletin, news can be posted to a blog where it serves as input for further discussion.
The communications activities can be divided into two categories: the ones that support the change, and are especially important for taking everybody onboard – and the ones that need to become ‘business as usual’ to continually maintain and support the customer-centric mindset and company culture.
One area, where many companies still need and want to improve their CX communications activities, is closing the loop back to the customers, i.e. telling the customers what the company has done based on their feedback and how they can benefit from the improved experiences.