In this article I share CX lessons I learned judging CX Awards this year.
Judging CX Awards is a privilege
When I first began judging CX & Contact Centre Awards way back in 2006, I thought wow – this is so exciting. What a wonderful way to build my CV and experience as a Trainer and Consultant.
But what I quickly learned is that judging Awards is first and foremost a privilege. One that gives you unparalleled insight into what real world CX heros face every day in the real world.
And when it comes to who gets Gold, Silver or whatever hierarchy of Awards is in place, I’d say this.
The very fact that you entered and reached some Finalist level already indicates that you’re part of the ‘tribe who cares’. The distinction between first, second, third and so on is much less important.
The themes I picked up judging CX Awards
The lessons shared here don’t originate from any single Awards entry. To come up with the lessons, I identified themes that appeared across multiple Awards entries.
For example, in Lesson #1 on ‘Who leads Tech programs’, I encountered three different Finalist entries that incorporated or mentioned this topic in their entry.
I think that makes the lessons more meaningful and also protects the confidentiality of individual Awards entrants.
And for those of you out there who also do qualitative research, I’m sure that the detection and reporting of themes will be familiar to you!
Lesson #1 – Who leads Tech programs?
It was quite remarkable to read that when it came time to implement a new Tech program – such as a new Martech stack – it was the Customer Experience Team that led the program. Not the IT Department.
I had to re-read that a few times to make sure I had it right.
Because so often, technology leads the way.
And Customer Experience has to gallop and chase from behind to figure out what the technology is going to ‘do’ to the Customer Experience.
But putting the CX folks firmly in charge of leading Tech programs ensures that the Customer perspective is built in from the ground up. Call me impressed.
A couple of years ago I ran a large number of management workshops on how to successfully implement Live Chat into the channel mix .
And when I asked Participants why they were rolling out Live Chat, most told me that they were told they had to do it by their bosses.
Either because everyone else was doing it, or because that functionality was already in the software package and they wanted to maximize their tech investment.
Lesson #2 – Is CX really everybody’s job?
Across multiple entries I saw the following sentiment expressed.
It might be nice to say that CX is everybody’s job.
But the reality is that the art & science of CX requires experts. And the nuts and bolts of how CX gets done is through expert know-how and experience. Just like any formal business discipline.
I admit I loved this sentiment.
Platitudes – such as ‘CX is everybody’s job’ – don’t take organizations very far in their CX ambitions. And it doesn’t recognize the robust nature of the know-how required to get CX ‘done’.
Why not put CX-related responsibilities into everyone’s job role? That’s a great way to help bring CX to life.
And of course the CX-related responsibilities that I’d put into the jobs of my Finance folks will look different than those I put in for my Warehousing folks. But by taking this step, everyone knows what their role in CX is and how to bring it to life.
In my work with Clients I prefer to say that CX should be in everybody’s job. That strikes me as far more practical and meaningful.
And you can take that further – as many Entrants did – by providing a fundamental level of training in CX – not just Customer Service – to everyone in the Organization.
Lesson #3 – There are different ways to build CX momentum
There’s a lot written about on how to get that CX momentum to start in your organization.
And different Awards entrants had slightly different experiences in how to do this.
One way – that was shared across quite a few entries – involved setting anywhere from a 6 to 12 month campaign to achieve as many small quick wins as possible. The principle being that the aggregated impact of many small wins ends up being significant.
In one memorable example, the focus was on eliminating 99 Customer pain points within a year. And that required a lot of cross-functional collaboration which in turn nurtured organizational excitement around CX.
A second way I noted was to tackle one relatively large project – one fully backed by senior management – and succeed at it.
That project then served as a showcase for other folks in the company. Folks who otherwise hadn’t been interested in CX but wanted to see what all the fuss was about and how such great outcomes were achieved.
Of course the risk here is that of actually succeeding.
And finally – one of my favorite submissions on this topic.
The Awards entrant shared that the very process of sharing broadly and deeply on CX and looking to Employees as a big source of insight on the current state of CX, kick started a completely new and more collaborative way of working with Employees.
And that Employees rewarded that sense of collaboration with even more effort.
CX lessons I learned – in closing
One last observation in closing.
Entrants specifically for CX Leader or Head of the Year Awards shared that they they were making an impact – and not just on Customers.
But on the hundreds and sometimes thousands of people who worked in their organizations.
And that while the first year – or even two – were hard, that eventually they became the go-to resource for CX in their organization – with folks actively seeking them out for advice and input.
It was this level of influence – and the resulting legacy they were creating – that seemed to be a big motivator for these terrific entrants.
Thank you for reading,