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A solid foundation for any customer experience management effort must include a governance structure. But what does that mean? What is governance? And why do we need it?
Let's start with what it is. According to BusinessDictionary.com, governance is the...
Establishment of policies, and continuous monitoring of their proper implementation, by the members of the governing body of an organization. It includes the mechanisms required to balance the powers of the members (with the associated accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the organization
In the CX world, yes, governance is about a governing body, policies, monitoring, accountability, and enhancing the prosperity of the organization. In a nutshell, governance is about both oversight and execution. This is an important foundation for your customer experience management strategy. You really can't make this stuff up as you go along; there needs to be a formal structure in place.
In terms of oversight, the governance structure outlines people, roles, and responsibilities. Who is going to ensure that there is alignment and accountability across the organization? We often see this piece of the governance structure refer to a core program team, an executive sponsor, and cross-functional champions. Your oversight committee should include the team of people you believe will best carry out the strategy, driven by your corporate and customer experience vision, for your organization.
Next, there must be clearly-defined rules and guidelines for how the customer experience management strategy will be executed. Who will drive the efforts and how? How will we transform to a customer-centric culture? How will organizational buy-in be achieved? How do we continue to motivate employees to focus on the customer? How will we listen to customers? Who will use the data and how? Where does accountability lie? What processes and policies must be in place in order to roll out these efforts? How will change management be handled? How will we measure success? How does it all tie to our desired business outcomes?
According to Forrester's Customer Experience Maturity Model, governance includes the following best practices:
- Define a consistent set of customer experience standards across the organization.
- Review customer experience program status and metrics regularly to monitor progress toward meeting business goals, adjusting tactics or resource allocations if needed.
- Maintain a dedicated queue of customer experience improvement projects.
- Facilitate the necessary coordination across groups that share responsibility for a given experience.
- Include impact to customer experience as a criterion for business decisions about policies, processes, technology, and communications.
- Include alignment with the customer experience strategy as a criterion for evaluating project funding and prioritization decisions.
- Assign role-specific customer experience management tasks to employees as a requirement of their positions.
- Evaluate employee performance against role-specific customer experience metrics.
In putting together your standards, remember that it is essential to involve your entire team. Standards are not rules issued by the boss; they are a collective identity. Remember, standards are the things that you do all the time and the things for which you hold one another accountable. -Mike Krzyzewski, USA Men’s Basketball Coach