To achieve success in your customer experience programs, you need to have a strong executive commitment. And looking at the industry standards, business leaders indeed do value CX.
However, sometimes, it becomes exceedingly difficult to get buy-in from frontline employees in the corporate world.
But if they do not get the buy-in from frontline employees, companies end up expending energy and resources on CX, but eventually, it fails.
When that happens, businesses can lose considerable ground with customers and make their employees feel discouraged.
To avoid this fate, it is important to have solid buy-in from the organization’s frontline employees, including the key influential executives.
How to get CX buy-in from frontline employees?
Here are some of the top ways to get CX buy-in from frontline employees:
1. Create an atmosphere wherein employees understand the value of customer experience
Every employee in the organization, especially the frontline teams, needs to comprehend the value of customer experience. It should be considered the primary CX metric to be measured by the customer success manager (CSMs).
But the question is, what does a good customer experience mean to them? It can be serving customers swiftly. If that is the question, then how quickly? If it provides friendly service, then what does friendly connote in normal business practice?
A good customer experience can mean different things to different people working in an organization. Hence, it becomes essential for a customer success manager (CSM) to start with a vision that leaves no room for ambiguity and every person involved in the initiative.
A vision can be a slogan or a tagline that can motivate everyone to give importance to customer-centricity; it would give fantastic results for the organization.
For example, if you are a healthcare organization, you can have a tagline like “Members first” that can be practiced across the organization, especially in the contact center.
It is imperative to train every company representative to face the customers with their target metric, Net Promoter Score (NPS), and relevance in providing an excellent customer experience.
With the help of a common vision, all employees in the organization, especially the frontline employees, will have a path to follow to achieve the company objective.
It will also give them the motivation to provide the best services to the customers.
This is where it becomes crucial for the customer success managers (CSMs) to develop an aspirational vision that can make the employees feel that they are working towards an objective that is worthwhile persuading.
2. Recognize the value of your key employees
It is the duty of the customer success manager (CSM) to keep the frontline employees motivated.
One way to do that effectively is by creating frequent opportunities that help in appreciating the frontline effort.
You can send an appreciation note, alerts, reader board messages (if we ever get back to the normal offices again!), notes from site leaders when a customer appreciates the frontline employees.
These things can make a lot of difference in instilling a culture where providing an excellent customer experience is considered the top priority.
3. Show do not tell how employees do make a difference
The major difference between a leader and a manager is that leaders set examples for their frontline employees while managers dictate terms from their frontline employees.
The job of a customer success manager (CSM) is to ensure that the frontline employees are motivated to actively solicit feedback and ideas on reducing customer friction directly from the source – the agents.
Once you have a regular one-on-one face interaction with the frontline employees, it gets them to buy into your CX program effortlessly.
4. Foster a connection between executives and customers
The frontline employees face several daily pressures as they need to interact directly with the customers. They also need to make swift decisions.
For some leaders, the intensity of their roles and the accountability to provide financial results can lead them to view customers as mere numbers instead of people.
This is where the role of the customer success manager (CSM) starts. They may need to remind the leaders about the missing human element in the business. In addition to this, they can also show a mirror to the other departmental heads of how the company does touch other people’s lives.
Here are some of the novel ways to assist frontline employees in getting insight into the firsthand experiences of customers:
- Accumulate open-ended feedback from customers after completion of every interaction. Give this insight to the frontline executives on top of the trends and metrics that you use.
- Integrate a review of authentic verbatim customer comments – both positive and negative – and discuss them in leadership meetings.
- Provide executives with the opportunity to listen in on customer dialogs with frontline employees. This can be done by spending valuable time in contact centers listening to the customers’ calls.
- Set up opportunities for executives to reach out to customers and have open-ended dialogues.
- Ask executives to live the customer journey by understanding their perspective while they undergo a typical purchase experience.
Any of these activities can be an eye-opening experience for frontline employees and win their backing for your CX initiative.
5. Understand the signs of executive engagement in CX
There are peculiar characteristics depicted by organizations that have a strong executive engagement in CX.
This can include:
- Regular reviews of CX outcomes
- Strategic objectives and individual performance incentives tied to CX
Here are some of the questions that will help you determine the commitment level of your frontline employees in CX:
- Do the senior executive staff meetings have a recurring agenda about customer experience? (This should not include customer emergencies)?
- Does the internal communication from the CEO/President regularly include discussions about customer experience?
- Does the external communication from the CEO/President regularly include discussions of customer experience?
- Is customer experience explicitly discussed in certain aspects within the company’s strategic plans?
- Does the executive team have a specified clear set of objectives in terms of customer experience?
- Does the compensation of executive team members link with customer experience objectives?
- Does the organization perceive that the CEO/President would trade-off certain short-term financial results for long-term customer experience gains?
The number of questions answered in yes reflect the genuine commitment of CX by the frontline employees.
Always keep this in mind: Organizations with unwavering frontline employee commitment to CX always are willing to forego short-term financial success for long-term CX benefits.
When frontline employees select these options, they recognize the fact that CX is not a one-off project. It is an integral part of conducting business that provides a strategic competitive advantage – even if the results are not reflected instantly.
Certain executives embrace CX quickly, while others need more persuasion. A key role of every CX leader is to grow internal executive support for CX continually.
A CX leader must hire people who comprehend the customers.
They need to consider executives’ different personalities and priorities and align CX with each executive’s role. This can be challenging but especially important for CX’s success.
At the end of the day, when your frontline employees show dedication to the customers, it will positively impact CX.37
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published December 16, 2021, Updated February 28, 2023