Why is it so difficult to get funding for Customer Experience change?

CX initiative fundedIf you are reading this post you are likely well aware of customer experience’s capacity to improve your company’s performance. You are also likely very frustrated with a lack of actual commitment from your boss. Oh, he is probably saying all the right words at the company meetings, but when it comes to bankrolling the action, the time is never right.

The reality is that while 90% of executives say that customer experience is central to their strategies, and 80% want to use it as a form of differentiation, 86% of these executives do not expect to see a significant uplift in business resulting from it.

The reasons it is so difficult to get funding for customer experience initiatives are:

1. Your boss’s mental framework is focused on cutting costs and/or raising revenue – it is very difficult to find very specific examples (i.e. best practices) that directly connect improvement of customer experience to achieving these goals.

 

2. Fear is a stronger motivation than desire. The desire to provide better customer experience may not be strong enough to inspire the change. Fear of falling behind the competition in how customers perceive their experience of doing business with your company, may facilitate sufficient stimuli. Particularly if that fear is confirmed by trends in customer churn rate or increased product returns, while your competition enjoys healthy market share growth.

 

3. We all like to think of ourselves as the rational decision makers. Behavioral economics research exposes how predictably irrational are our decisions. Your boss, assuming s/he is human, is no exception and likely makes very important business decisions based on beliefs rather than evidence. Challenging these beliefs with “solid” data is a fool’s errand. A much better strategy is to understand which of these beliefs inspired him to hire you into his organization in the first place.

 

It is the time for the disclaimer – I believe that Customer Centricity can only be architected by the top leadership of a company as it requires alliance of corporate culture, customer experience metrics and operational KPIs. It is a long term corporate strategy and not a project or initiative.

However, most of us are not fortunate enough to work for leaders who share our commitment to viewing our company’s business processes and practices through the eyes of its customers. Most of us know how difficult it is to earn credibility and trust while evangelizing the importance of customer experience. Since this is the road less travelled, you are not likely to find a blueprint or a list of waypoints to guide you. However, an understanding of your environment and seasoned advice may help to navigate these uncharted “waters”. The scope for every milestone/waypoint has to be crafted to be uniquely relevant to the specifics of your situation and the landscape of your company. There is not space in this blog post for specific examples, I am happy to offer them, if contacted directly.

Nothing works better for evangelists than miracles delivered on time and within the budget.

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