Many critical elements form the foundation of a successful customer experience strategy. One of these elements is a governance structure. When most people hear "governance structure," they immediately assume that it's referring only to the governing body, including its people and their roles and responsibilities, that informs and lends oversight to the work ahead.
But along with oversight, equally important is the execution, which I refer to as the operating model part of the governance structure. The operating model is the bridge between the strategy and its execution and visualizes how an organization delivers value to its customers or beneficiaries. More specifically, it's how you will operate, how you will execute and how you will fulfill your vision. Ultimately, it's how you will operationalize your strategy.
Before formulating a customer experience strategy, a customer experience vision must be in place The CX strategy outlines how you'll execute that vision, but it must comprise some foundational elements that allow you to execute it.
Within the governance operating model, you need to outline how things will get done to achieve your desired outcomes. The operating model portion of your governance structure includes various components, including the people, measurement framework, processes and tools and technologies.
People are part of the operating model, even though committees, people, roles and responsibilities are defined and outlined in the oversight structure. While the people outlined for the structure provide oversight and are conduits to the rest of the organization, you need to identify the individuals and teams within each cross-functional area who will take ownership of the actual improvement work and projects to be completed.
In this operating model, you need to outline how they'll be supported, the general approach and how to measure success. You also must specify roles, responsibilities and decision rights.
Measure and define customer experience
The measurement framework includes all the ways you measure the customer experience, the employee experience, market research, outcomes and success. That includes your voice of the customer program and how that feedback will be used, persona research and how the personas will be used, journey mapping workshops and how the findings will be used, and other data sources, including what I call "the breadcrumbs of data that customers leave behind as they interact and transact with your brand."
Not only does the measurement framework include the data and various sources, but it also includes where the data is housed, how it will be analyzed, who needs it and how it will be used as well as specific data and insight democratization rules.
Finally, the framework should also outline the key performance indicators and success metrics -- all clearly linked to desired outcomes for the customer, employee and business -- and how they were selected.
Outline the processes and procedures
How will the outcome be achieved? There are a host of processes and workflows that must be outlined as part of your governance operating model:
- Decision-making process. How will decisions, including approvals, priorities, resources, budget and project plans, be made about the work to be done?
- Prioritization process. How will you prioritize the work to be done? What algorithm will you use to prioritize? What are the factors in that algorithm?
- Workflow process. How will people work together to achieve a common goal and deliver on the desired outcome?
- Communication plan. How will you communicate to employees and customers what you're doing, the desired outcomes and how it all affects them?
- Training process. How will you educate and train employees and customers about the new experience?
- What policies must be in place to guide the decisions made and actions taken to achieve the desired outcome?
- Adoption and alignment processes. How will you get the entire organization on board with what you're trying to accomplish?
- Other specific processes. In the measurement framework, I mentioned that you're going to outline how the data will be used, who has access to it, etc. Any other clearly outlined processes necessary to execute the strategy must also be defined as part of the operating model.
When these and other processes and workflows are clearly outlined, there should be no question about who does what and why. And there should be a clear connection as well as a breakdown of silos to ensure the work is executed properly.
At this point, your core values should kick in. No processes, procedures or policies should be designed or implemented without ensuring that they're aligned with and reinforce your core values.
Choose the right tools and technologies
One final and important component of the governance operating model are the tools and technologies. What will your CX tech stack look like? What tools are needed to gather and analyze the data? What technologies are needed to disseminate the data and insights? What technologies will the entire company require to use the shared data and insights? How will you determine which technologies to use and who gets access and needs to use them?
Synergizing all the components
The success of your CX transformation strategy depends on a complex set of decisions and processes. All of which must be clearly outlined as part of your governance structure.
About the author
Annette Franz is the founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. Ms. Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, keynote speaker and author of Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the "Customer" in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business).