Four Steps for Scaling a Modern CX Organization

Today’s customers don’t just want a great product, they want an elevated experience. That experience must guide them to the outcomes most important to them.

Customer loyalty isn’t guaranteed; it’s earned. To drive sustainable growth, businesses need to deliver experiences that create customers for life. But 57% of B2B customers have switched vendors specifically to get a better experience.

Many companies focus their customer experience (CX) efforts on their enterprise customers, assuming large customers will drive enough expansion and retention opportunities to warrant the attention. However, all customers want the same elevated experience, and companies typically have many more small and mid-sized customers than large ones.

The solution – indeed, the imperative – is to scale CX efforts across the entire customer base. Any other approach puts large sections of a company’s revenue at risk. As a business leader who has been in the CX trenches since the discipline’s early days, I’ve learned some key lessons along the way. Here are four foundational steps for scaling a modern CX organization:

1. Take a digital-first approach

Recognize that all customers are digital, from your smallest to your largest, from those you support with a digital-only strategy to those with dedicated CSM resources. But 75% of customers now prefer digital self-serve interactions over human engagement. This means you must meet customers in the digital channels they use, with the resources they need, when they need them, and proactively share information customers need to accelerate their adoption --- whether they are engaging via company website, email, or on communities. You must make it easy for customers to search, shop, and engage with your company, when and how they choose.

2. Get your CX house in order

To excel at CX, you first need to get your internal house in order. This means aligning the entire company around CX, taking inventory of all your customer-facing assets, and building a digital foundation that supports real-time data and robust automation, orchestration, and artificial intelligence (AI) strategies. Companies need to break down the internal silos that can sabotage CX success and connect the data, people, and processes that drive customer interactions across various departments and channels. 

Companies with more complex distribution models need a plan for plugging partners into their CX strategy to share customer data and digital platforms that will orchestrate personalization and CX touchpoints between multiple companies and products.

The best launching point for any CX strategy is to reimagine your business from the customer’s lens –- an exercise that coalesces an organization around CX to eliminate points of friction across your business and better streamline B2B experiences. Giving customers more self-service options and unifying their experience across all customer-facing assets demonstrates that you care for and empathize with them.

3. Embrace AI

AI is a game-changer for CX with the promise of driving smarter, faster, and more predictive customer experiences – in both digital and human-assisted applications. For example, AI-powered chatbots offer customers a self-service tool for first-line support inquiries and assist live call center agents with providing quicker, more accurate technical support. Using AI, companies can automate repetitive and time-consuming CX tasks while reducing time, costs, and the potential for human error.

Just as AI is being used to make CX more efficient and scalable, it is also driving greater personalization with machine learning, with real-time processing of all customer data to drive more targeted and helpful engagement. Customers today seek immediacy, contextually relevant content, and intelligent, omnichannel experiences. Generative AI and machine learning are being used to power more personalized customer recommendations, anticipate future needs, and help mitigate risk as customers advance through the lifecycle. If your company isn’t using AI to drive a CX strategy, then now is the time!

4. Measure what matters

A relatively newer discipline, CX is still searching for its rightful place within most organizations. Even its earliest adopters remain undecided as how to best measure ROI for CX. There are two schools of thought: one uses a combination of existing business metrics to gauge the macro impact of CX on different lines of business. The other uses one or more CX-specific metrics, like Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to measure customer feedback and behaviors more precisely and tie those achievements to go-to-market strategies, digital revenue streams, or existing customer growth. Ultimately, the most important metric should be “how is the customer’s business thriving?”

Effective CX is like a symbiotic relationship between a company and its customer, creating tangible value for both parties. Like any relationship, however, CX thrives best with a solid foundation in place, when we learn from our mistakes and seek to continually improve, and when we make investments in the future. 

Andrew Carothers, CCXP, is a senior Customer Experience leader, author and speaker. He was a founding member of Cisco's CX function, where he has helped build the company’s digital approach to increasing customer adoption and retention, improving renewal rates, and driving growth. He is a four-time International Customer Experience award winner, as well as judge and two-time winner of the US Customer Experience Awards. Carothers frequently writes and speaks on CX topics, and co-authored The Publicity Handbook (McGraw Hill), a Fortune Book Club selection.