Improving the Customer Experience May Require a Board-Level Commitment

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For many organizations, the most important and strategic issues are addressed and overseen by a board-level committee or task force. Such treatment reinforces the importance of the initiative and ensures that management’s attention is focused on it.

That’s been the case recently at the many companies that have created board-level cyber-security subcommittees. The escalation of oversight reflects the increasing cost and impact of a data breach and acknowledges that new statutes and regulations have put the onus on senior management to ensure their organization is protected. The approach has had positive results; organizations that have taken this route report that their cyber-security strategies are now more effective.

For many companies, the justification for creating a cyber-security subcommittee is that it will be able to keep an eye on an issue that has the potential to negatively impact reputation, revenue, and competitive stature.

Interestingly, the same impacts are hitting companies with poor customer experiences (CX). Like a data breach, poorly managed CX may impact data privacy and protection. Unlike a data breach that’s discovered and investigated, poor CX can be insidious, harming the company in multiple ways but not recognized as the reason behind declining revenue and those other woes. And once recognized, poor CX is more difficult to solve and takes far longer to remediate.

If the organization is among the 89% that Gartner expects to compete based on CX, it would appear that having a board-level committee would be justified.

Exposing management to more information about CX, how it can be improved, and ensuring its alignment with overall corporate goals argues for creating the new committee. This type of collaboration and data sharing is essential to a more positive CX. Now that CX is a metric-driven science and less of an “art form,” gaining input from other stakeholders is possible.

Who should participate?

If creating a new board committee seems onerous or like overkill, another option is a board-level task force that has a specific lifecycle and would provide some of the benefits of a full committee. Given the data privacy implications of poor CX, one possible approach would be to associate the task force with the risk and governance subcommittee.

In terms of makeup for either a committee or a task force, there are some obvious candidates. The CMO and the chief revenue officer seem like certainties. Another important role could be the head of customer service or an equivalent position. For many firms, adding a person from product development often provides an important perspective on how the offering can better support CX. Some boards that have acted on this initiative have added outside directors that have strong sales or marketing experience.

Creating a new board-level committee or task force is not a decision to be taken lightly.

CX can either positively or negatively impact financials, corporate reputation, and brand image. For these reasons, it’s worth acting. Board-level emphasis also helps drive internal changes and align all internal stakeholders around delivering a positive customer experience.

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