Getting CEM Buy-In at Large-Sized Businesses: 3 Tips from those in the Know

By: Clarabridge Team

August 26, 2015

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
customer experience

Getting buy-in for a Customer Experience Management (CEM) program isn’t always easy. For larger-sized companies with thousands of employees worldwide, it can be particularly hard to reach and convince all of the stakeholders who are needed to make the program successful.

In order to build a foundation for a scalable and successful CEM program, you need buy-in from all levels of the organization. With a CEO-backed program, you can help transform your company culture into one with a customer-first mind-set. Front-line employees need to see the value in your initiative as well, as they are the ones who can enact change and personalize the customer relationship.

We looked to three Customer Experience (CX) professionals for tips on how to get buy-in at larger companies: Kim Zieroth, Senior Customer Loyalty Manager at GE Healthcare; Cheryl Cargill, Customer Insights and Text Analytics Leader at GE Power and Water; and Mason Nelder, Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at Verizon. We recently hosted webinars featuring GE and Verizon, with discussions about activating the voice of customer in the business in order to glean insights, including best practices for getting buy-in.

All three CX leaders are very well acquainted with the specific challenges faced by larger companies: GE has over 40,000 employees worldwide putting out hundreds of products each year, while Verizon has over 180K employees across 150 countries and in more than 2700 cities.

We found some common threads among these experts and the following 3 tips emerged:

Deliver smarter reports that answer the “So What?”

Delivering reports that highlight customer insights and feedback is more than just sending out an email attachment. In order to deliver reports that colleagues will actually read, you need to understand how your audience speaks: what kinds of insights are relevant to them, and in what format? For Cargill, it’s important to look for insights that are important to each stakeholder. She says, “Embed yourself in the processes of other teams so that you know what kinds of insights will get them excited to act.”

Nelder points out that when building out dashboards, you need to help your audience understand what the trends and data points mean for their business and how the information impacts them. One way Zieroth accomplishes this with her team is by adding in recommendations alongside the reports that are sent out to the executive team. Putting solutions in front of their execs makes it easier to convince them to act on the insights.

Zieroth shares that relevant reporting allows for more effective and engaged conversations. She was previously limited in her ability to share insights with her Engineering or Product Management teams because she could only talk in terms of what customers liked or didn’t like. Now, with Clarabridge, her team can back up their insights with hard numbers, statistics, and quantifiable metrics. Consequently, the engineers and product managers are much more engaged in the conversation—when she starts talking about data-backed metrics, they understand the value and impact of customer feedback.

Educate and build an internal community

All three CX leaders are quick to highlight the absolute necessity of educating and building awareness around your CX efforts.

At GE Healthcare, the team is constantly leading educational efforts, such as launching an internal website, having lunch and learns, and holding summits to highlight what they are doing and the type of value-add analysis they can produce for other teams.

Nelder shares that his team focuses on education, training, and certification to ensure that experiences are consistent across every touchpoint. This requires building a community and connecting team members internally. According to Nelder, you need to look at tools and platforms that enable you to collaborate, connect, and transfer knowledge across both departments and business units.

Set clear expectations

As you’re starting to build awareness and secure internal champions for your CX efforts, Cargill recommends picking out a few things to focus on. Make sure these are areas where there is a stakeholder to engage with who has the authority to take action.

As you start delivering insights, Cargill says that it’s important to be very clear about how you are going to measure success. Make sure you and the stakeholder both agree up-front on what success looks like, and on your end, make sure you are diligent about tracking and sharing the results.

Regardless of the industry you are in, it is clear from these three leaders that successful CX initiatives are born out of similar best practices. Make sure to keep team members engaged, educated, and excited about what you can offer them; show them how you will add value to their jobs and deliver ROI; and finally, partner with team members who can act on your findings and bring you early wins that prove the value your CX efforts.

To learn more about building a CEM program, read our eBook: Building a Customer Experience-Focused Organization.

If you missed our webinars with GE and Verizon, you can find them here: GE webinar and Verizon webinar.

Serina Aswani is Manager of Content Marketing and EMEA Marketing at Clarabridge. As part of her responsibilities, Serina serves as the voice of Clarabridge’s customers, highlighting customer stories and sharing proven best practices for implementing successful Customer Experience Management programs. Serina also oversees content marketing strategy and PR for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. She is responsible for establishing Clarabridge’s position as an industry thought leader across EMEA. Serina holds a M.S. in Commerce, specializing in Marketing and Management, as well as a B.A in French and Studio Arts, from the University of Virginia. Read more from Serina on Twitter at @SerinaAswani