How To Get Executive Buy-in For Unified Customer Intelligence

2022-03-01

By Arron Westbrook

How to get executive buy-in for unified customer intelligence

Unified Customer Intelligence is the key to getting a genuinely unified, intelligent view of your customers and delivering exceptional customer experiences. We all understand this by now.

But if you’ve spent any time at all in our space, you know how difficult it can be to get buy-in for CX activities. Getting budget for a new technology like Chattermill can be harder, especially if they neither understand Unified Customer Intelligence nor grasp why it matters.

Customer experience is also, in most organisations, not as mature as marketing, sales, or product. And calculating a traditional ROI on CX investments is no easy task.

These reasons (and more) are why it can so often feel like a Sisyphean effort to get backing and budget from your executive team.

Research by Professor John Kotter of Harvard Business School found that 70% of change efforts failed due to insufficient buy-in. So, you’re not alone, at least.

But when it comes to organisational buy-in, there are a few strategies to step up your game to get the resources, tools, and budget you need for Unified Customer Intelligence.

These methods are pretty much universal – it doesn’t matter whether you are the Customer Insight Lead at an eCommerce scaleup, an Head of CX at a fashion brand, or a VOC analyst cutting your teeth at a global bank.

So, whatever your position, whatever company you work for, you’ll find this guide useful. We'll even give some specific examples throughout, too.

Speak your bosses’ language

Through pitching unified customer intelligence we can understand the exact areas they should be working on to achieve these objectives. That's how they need to position it to get buy-in. Not, we do loads of manual tasks I wanna buy this software to help. Oh, and look at all the reasons why we should invest in CX.

We can be sure of this: your CEO doesn’t care or intend to care about CSAT or support analytics. No matter how much we’d like them to.

So, we need to familiarise ourselves with our executives’ goals, values, and how they measure success. Then, we can reshape our ask and messaging to align with these points.

And for most people in the C-suite, what they care about is growth, revenue, and in publicly listed companies, delivering shareholder value.

Accordingly, you need to frame your need for Unified Customer Intelligence around these points. As discussed in the introduction, directly proving ROI on CX activities can be tricky (though we touch on the ROI of Chattermill later in this article, which you will no doubt find useful!).

But what we can do is use data from analyst reports. And pretty much all of the data collected in relation to the revenue and growth impact of CX suggests that it is a significant driver of both.

  • B2B and B2C companies that implement innovative CX strategies are three times more likely to outperform their business goals substantially. (Adobe)
  • 59% of companies with a CEO who is involved in customer experience report higher revenue growth, compared to just 40% of companies without a customer-focused CEO reporting growth. (The Economist)
  • 80% of customers say the experience provided by a company is as important as the products and services. (Salesforce)

It’s advisable to use this data when building your business case for Unified Customer Intelligence, or indeed any other CX activity. It shouldn’t be the only data you use, of course, but it’s a good place to start.

Because if you can show (albeit indirectly) how your ideas can help meet your CEO, CMO, or CPO’s revenue and growth expectations, you’re far more likely to get the budget and resources you need for Chattermill signed off.


Example: Insights Manager at a beauty brand

Let’s say you’re an Insights Manager at a beauty brand and you need Unified Customer Intelligence to automate manual tagging of feedback data. Unfortunately, people at the C-level are unlikely to want to hear that half your day is wasted doing this work – no matter how much this slows you down from meaningful progress.

To get what you need, you need to position your budget request based on connecting business objectives to CX. For example, if your executives care about reducing churn and growing your subscriber base for the next 18 months, you need to tie your budget request for Chattermill to this.

Turn the trivial into the indispensable

What your business prioritises depends entirely on how you sell the idea.

Like Unified Customer Intelligence, every new technology will seem like a novel, interesting, but inconsequential idea to your executives unless you set out how it supports your businesses’ strategic goals – increasing customer retention, for example – or increasing sales conversions.

If you can frame it this way, it will soon enough become business-critical.

  • A positive customer experience leads to a 10-15% boost in sales conversion rates. (McKinsey)
  • 71% of consumers have made a purchase decision based on experience alone. (Salesforce)
  • Fully engaged customers give 23% more share of wallet than the average customer. (Gallup)
  • 75% of customers will spend more to buy from a company that offers a good customer experience. (Zendesk)
  • Customers who have a high-quality experience are 2.7 times more likely to keep doing business with a brand than those with a low-quality experience. (Forrester)

Why? Because your executives will be more likely to see how it fits into the bigger picture. And, as a result, they’re more likely to send budget and resources your way.

You can also further strengthen your case by showing how the impact of the product will reach beyond your department. For example, we know from experience that Chattermill’s Unified Customer Intelligence informs marketing, sales, product development, and operational teams.

Suppose you can get these teams on board, identify the business benefits for other departments, and frame it as an organisational necessity rather than a CX-specific luxury. You’ll be halfway to getting the budget you need.


Example: Executive at a major fashion retailer

For a major fashion retailer, gaining budget for Chattermill’s Unified Customer Intelligence platform involved getting buy-in from three departments so that budget could be split. This is often the case in big businesses, especially. Even when, in this specific case, it was an executive leading the charge to get the budget approved for Chattermill.

Here’s a clear, shareable definition of Unified Customer Intelligence

Be clear about benefits and risks

When seeking investment for new technologies like Chattermill’s Unified Customer Intelligence platform, you need to set out the benefits and risks.

Industry comparisons are useful as a device if you don’t have any hard business data. Here’s some that set out the benefits of investing in improving CX:

  • 70% of enterprise CEOs see CX as a competitive differentiator. (UserZoom)
  • 78.5% of CMOs agree that an amazing customer experience provides a powerful competitive advantage. (Martech Alliance)
  • Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than less customer-focused companies. In turn, companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%. (MarTech Alliance)
  • Customers are four times more likely to switch to a competitor if the problem they're having is customer service-based. (Bain and Co).

Your executives are more likely to allocate budget to Unified Customer Intelligence if they see the industry data above. Likewise, if they also know that Wise uses Chattermill to make product decisions, prioritise CX improvements, and drive customer-centric growth, that’s a plus, too.

Here are another couple of examples that you can use:

The business banking startup Qonto – which recently raised $552 million at a $5 billion valuation – powers its customer-obsessed growth using Chattermill.

‘Chattermill is a key partner in helping us listen to our customer feedback and support conversations at scale. Every employee now has access to actionable intelligence with just a few clicks, and our decisions are more customer-obsessed than ever. This allows us to create the solution all businesses love!’ – Mathieu Le Roux, Voice of the Customer Expert at Qonto

Forrester analyst research found that Chattermill drives a 645% ROI after interviewing our customers – including Uber, HelloFresh, Wise, Spotify, Get Your Guide, and Booking.com.

It’s probably worth noting that our CX experts can also provide you with industry benchmarking data during your trial period. You can then use this to compare your own brand’s customer feedback against your closest industry competitors – because nothing scares executives more than lagging behind competitors.

The takeaways

Getting executive buy-in for new technology can be hard.

But by following the steps we set out in this guide, you’ll be in a much better position to get executive buy-in for Unified Customer Intelligence – or, indeed, any other CX activity.

And, if you still need some help getting buy-in for Chattermill, we’re here for you. Click on the link below and we’ll guide you through getting budget approved for Unified Customer Intelligence!

Speak to our CX experts about Unified Customer Intelligence

Power your CX with Chattermill