The November edition of the Flourish Executive Roundtable series explored how digital experiences will drive support KPIs and accelerate growth without needing additional resources, as well as the surprising collaboration between the CX and Marketing teams. The main question that swept the discussion was how CX executives can leverage digital experiences to drive growth, how to get buy-in for their strategic initiatives for the year ahead, and more importantly, what digital CX initiatives mean for different enterprises. 

The discussion was led by top CX executives, and moderated by Rod Cherkas, Founder and CEO of HelloCCO. Rod brought with him rich experience as an executive at several of Silicon Valley’s most customer-centric companies, including three that achieved successful >$1 billion IPOs or exits (RingCentral, Marketo, Gainsight). 

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Facing the 2022 budget challenges 

Come the 2022 budget season, many CX executives face challenging questions about their CX initiatives’ impact. Compared to investments in other parts of organizations, like the product teams, sales and even marketing, CX executives can find it challenging to demonstrate their ROI and growth.

Acquiring the appropriate internal resources for the CX units means a better, more efficient and scalable operation. Unfortunately, customer experience professionals continue to have to borrow resources from other teams. Securing their own resources requires winning internal politics and convincing the relevant stakeholders that the CX team needs data analysts, dedicated marketing personnel, digital tools etc. 

Analyzing CX leaders’ challenges, Rod Cherkas, highlighted two main issues that many CX executives are facing:

Changing the organizational perception of CX from a cost center to a growth engine: This will enable CX leaders to secure more budget, and get investments in the digital experiences we need.

Building relationships with key stakeholders in the organization: Cherkas pointed out two key organizational stakeholders in particular: the finance leader, who should understand what the outcomes CX team can provide, in terms of metrics, ROI and efficiency, and the marketing leader, who will be able to leverage their skills, experience, and automation tools to accelerate the customer experience.

Within this process, CX leaders should highlight their organizational purpose, the value of customer success, their units’ desired outcomes and the problem they’re solving, such as solving a cost management problem, retention rate, driving growth by the acquisition of new clients and a variety of post-sale aspects that might be expected in terms of the company’s KPIs. Making their argument to be beyond lower churn and higher net retention and cost optimization can ensure deeper understanding and buy-in from internal stakeholders.

Overall, CX executives should adopt a narrative approach, a kind of collective story that will align their work with their enterprise’s key stakeholders, such as the CEO, CFO, and CMO. In that way, they will bolster their important role within the company, and make their contribution more comprehendible, at the same time. 


CX and marketing: the beginning of a beautiful partnership

The CX and marketing departments are both evangelists of the customer, each in their own unique expertise. The intersection between CX and marketing is emphasized in quantitative KPIs and metrics as well as in qualitative aspects, sharing the right messaging for the pre- and post-sale stages, both designed to drive adoption.

The mutual work between the CX and marketing teams can also result in producing effective content together. These materials give visibility to the customers, and shine light on the impactful work of CX leaders as well. Advocating for the customers’ voice to be heard, both teams can deepen customers’ relationships with your products and brand. Such collaborations include mutual education and training portals, and marketing materials like videos, case studies, customers’ testimonials, newsletters, webinars and demos that can be used by the CX teams and explain the products’ context, allowing the users to gradually learn as they use the product, and ultimately drive sales.

The marketing team can benefit from CX insights on repeatable phases in the customer journey. Especially when the interaction is based on the customers’ stage and is derived by the path of their product adoption, starting the onboarding process and moving on. 


Digitization and CX: more than a buzzword

When discussing digitization, the first step is to understand how your organization defines the concept. An inclusive definition of digitization centers around scaling automated customer experience touches that require little to no human input. 

Yet, on a broader outlook, the digitization process creates the expectation that the customer will always be serviced. Multiple touch points, preserving the connection with the customer, are not necessarily a wanted outcome, in terms of scale and satisfaction.  

Sometimes, in order to get the best CX outcomes financial improvements can bring, digitization can be achieved by hiring a digital team leader, a data analyst, an expert with marketing experience, or investing in the self service resources in your Community or your training portal.The self-service experiences that involve the post-sale teams, is also an important aspect to promote the organizational digitization process. 

Improving your self service options means sending out automated communications that drive your customers to your knowledge base. This may require investing in recruiting the right personnel or establishing a new knowledge base. Investing in customer success tools will allow us to accelerate sending out automated communications too. 

Yet, as always in implementing new programs, the most effective digital programs start with establishing what is the purpose and goal of your digital program. 

This sounds like a great start for our next December Flourish!

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