Change management is defined as the methods and manners in which a company describes and implements change across both its internal and external processes.
While it can feel like a relatively simple concept, it can be much harder to execute successfully — especially when thinking about the different stakeholders who might be affected. Employees may need one set of communications, while customers need another.
As CX transformations continue to gain popularity in a customer-first world, CX change management is an increasingly important aspect of the transformation roadmap. Without getting buy-in from your internal stakeholders and implementing a clear communication strategy, change management plans can fall short of expectations. To meet change management goals, creating a concise plan based on best practices is key.
Setting your organization up for change management success
We’ve engaged in hundreds of different CX engagements over the years, and thanks to these transformations, we’ve had countless opportunities to perfect how CX and change management combine for exceptional experiences.
Let’s take a look at a few ways organizations can maximize their CX transformations with these six change management tips.
1. Understand — and empathize with — your customers
Lay the groundwork to get to know your customers so they can be seen, known, and heard. Managing expectations and the impact of those expectations on people are key. New technology and process changes can be startling or frustrating if you don’t empathize with what your customers are experiencing. Take a look at how changes in the way your company does business might affect them and craft your communication plans around proactively listening, explaining, and empathizing.
For example, if a massively different customer interaction strategy is implemented, what does it mean for your customers? How should communication about the new technology go out, and what can you do to assuage fears about interacting with your brand in a new way?
2. Align across departments and get C-suite buy-in
The journey to CX change management should be holistic. Every touch point that a customer has with your brand must reinforce the others. If the people who run your company, manage your website, control your contact centers, and take charge of your field organization are not completely in sync, it means they’re scattered in different directions. The vision won’t come to fruition if everyone isn’t on the same page. At the highest level, leadership should break down silos and align all of your organizational stakeholders behind common objectives.
CX transformations happen across departments, with leadership being no exception. Gain buy-in across the C-suite and set up regular meetings with executives to create a consistent understanding of where you are, where you’re going, and how you’ll talk to everyone as you get there. This can inform your guiding coalition of decision-makers moving forward.
3. Develop the change vision
Before you do anything else, you need to establish the change vision. Translate your brand and its purpose into your customer experience with a clear roadmap. The road map tells your organization how you’ll get to where you’re going. You developed the vision, and now it’s time to put it into action. Roadmaps should incorporate every step along the way — including enhancements to change management, investment, and technology processes, just to name a few.
After creating the roadmap, don’t neglect the communications plan around it. A roadmap is only beneficial if it’s understood, answering the typical “who, what, where, when, why, and how” questions to dive into the heart of the changes for customers and employees alike. Remember, customers and employees will need different things from you as the transformation unfolds.
4. Follow the Golden Rule
We all know the golden rule: Treat others how you would like to be treated. In a CX change management framework, this means treating your employees just as well as you want them to treat your customers. Your employees build in the processes, routines, metrics, and habits for an excellent customer experience. Make it easy for your employees to put the customer first by empowering them to use the right technology and processes that will allow for seamless experiences.
Give them options to get familiar with new technology updates. Can you set up a test environment for them to become more familiar with the new tools before going live? Will you be implementing a pilot program to give other teams a chance to learn from these initial experiences? If your employees know how to talk about the company’s updates because they too understand them, you set everyone up for success and can exceed expectations.