Why CX leaders should integrate change management into all they do
When changes are introduced in an organization, the customer experience (CX) often changes, as well. But CX can be challenging to address when orchestrating change initiatives, for three main reasons.
First, it’s easy for organizations to overlook CX when there is no obvious direct customer impact – when the change is viewed as only affecting employees. Yet as customers, we all can cite an interaction with a company’s employee that has changed our perception of that company – for better or for worse. What affects employees always has the potential to affect customers.
Second, project stakeholder assessments and impacts frequently stop short of the customer, limiting the definition of stakeholders to employees. This leaves it to the customer-facing teams (sales, marketing, and customer service) to figure out what the impacts will be to customers and how to prepare them. And while those groups may be the experts on customers, they aren’t necessarily experienced in managing change.
Third, just as customer-facing teams may have limited change management expertise, many change practitioners have little to no exposure to the discipline of customer experience, its history, principles, and terminology.
So, there’s a gap that needs to be bridged.
The focus on total experience (TX)
In January 2023, the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) Summit focused the entire conference on the the intersection of change management and the customer experience. Speakers there shared how some customer experience leaders are beginning to integrate change management principles into everything they do. And similarly, change leaders are beginning to integrate CX tools into their practice.
But even if customers are included along with employees in stakeholder assessments, impact analysis, and change plans, it’s not as simple as just measuring and addressing the customer experience and the employee experience separately. They’re interdependent because they both influence the overall brand experience.
As executives push for more human-centered designs for all services, its leading forward-thinking teams to explore and embrace this equation:
CX (customer experience) + EX (employee experience) = Total Experience (TX)
What this means for change practitioners
By making connections between internal changes and the customer experience to address the total brand experience, we can further prove the value of change management to business leaders.
As change practitioners, we are well positioned to ensure there is visibility of the CX impacts for every project. We already look across business functions to see interdependencies. So what we need to do for CX isn’t necessarily very different from what we’re already doing – just more deliberately and with more focus on linking both the employee and customer experiences.
Where we already have deep understanding of how change impacts the employee experience, it is our responsibility to expand our definition of stakeholders to include customers and consider how the customer and employee experiences are interdependent.
It’s also important for us to make a concerted effort to reach out to our customer experience colleagues. We need to invite them to partner with us, show them that we’re interested in using their tools and techniques to better understand customers, and offer them our change management expertise at a deeper level.
Related reading: It’s time to take an enterprise approach to change
Customer-centric tools amplify stakeholder insights
Here are a few tools commonly used to address the customer experience. These can easily be applied to any stakeholder to gain a deeper understanding and develop even more effective change plans.
- Design Thinking is used to identify unmet customer needs. It is a methodology for arriving at solutions in a human-centric way through five stages: 1) Empathize to understand needs, desires & pain points; 2) Define the problem; then 3) Ideate, 4) Prototype, & 5) Test solutions.
- Personas are characters designed to represent different user types to better understand their motivations, experiences, and behaviors. They offer a way of understanding groups of stakeholders more clearly and building targeted approaches to help them navigate and sustain change.
- Journey Maps are a visualization of the steps in a process from a user’s point of view. They are particularly helpful to understand different scenarios that a persona will go through so you can determine key touchpoints.
Build bridges to amplify the total experience
As you’re embarking on your next change project, I encourage you to look for opportunities to learn from CX experts and engage in healthy conversations to move both disciplines forward, together.
iTalent Digital’s Enterprise Change Management approach will help you solve for the CX + EX = TX equation by bringing together the right people, data, and insights across your business – working with all stakeholders for more effective outcomes. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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