XLG: Taking action to move from gut feel to industry leader

How do you become customer-centric? Businesses often talk about keeping customers at the heart of all they do. Having this intention is a great starting point, but it’s  still a long way from reality.

Companies who are serious about Experience-Led Growth (XLG) need to ensure they’re organized in a way that enables them to act on data and insights about what customers think and feel. It’s an essential pillar of XLG maturity and, without it, the full potential of customer feedback data can never be realized.

Why is that? Customer experience influences how customers think and feel about your brand. Their perception drives behavior – both positive and negative. Acting to influence behavior is the key to delivering XLG.

McKinsey reports that successful XLG strategies can deliver significant financial benefits to businesses, including improving customer satisfaction and engagement by 20 to 30 percent. Chattermill’s XLG maturity assessment is designed to drive growth by improving XLG maturity across four pillars.

  • Data and Insights
  • Enabling Action
  • Measuring Outcomes
  • Culture.

Let’s take a closer look at how the Enabling Actions pillar is central to helping you increase growth using an XLG strategy.

Enabling Action: the second pillar of XLG

Whenever  an organization is enabled to act on customer feedback data, XLG can increase profitability.

It happens when the right insights are getting to the right people who can make the right decisions and take the right action. For XLG maturity to occur, those insights need to arrive in a timely manner and they need to be actionable.

Every organization differs in their overall XLG maturity level and how they track against each of the four XLG pillars. It’s common for a business to reach a high degree of capability in one pillar and be at a lower stage in another. As an example, many organizations collect all kinds of data but it provides no value if it’s not used to drive decision making in some way. “Having” data is not the same thing as “acting on” data.

What stage are you at for Enabling Actions?

Finding the gap between where your organization currently sits and the best you can possibly be helps you conquer your XLG strategy. Once these gaps are identified, Chattermill determines what you need to do to move up the Enabling Actions pillar. Priorities for each action are assigned according to how they impact your business goals and your potential for profitability.

The four stages of XLG maturity:

  • Gut feel – Decisions are made on gut feel with no or little consideration of customer feedback data.
  • Developing – XLG is recognized as useful but it’s not a high priority in the organization. Processes for customer-centric decision making and improvement are lacking – nothing is repeatable, standardized or predictable.
  • Influencing – XLG is built into decision making and insight driven action across a number of teams and long-term customer loyalty is valued more than short-term profit.
  • Leading – XLG is part of the culture of the company. Customer-centric decision making is embedded across all business units.  

XLG Maturity: From gut feel to leading the way in Enabling Actions

To capitalize on the insights drawn from your customer feedback data, you need to do two things:

  1. Ensure you have a robust process for sharing / accessing insights across the organization.
  2. Use these insights to determine the actions required to drive growth.

Many organizations can act on customer feedback as a one off exercise. However to achieve XLG, making decisions based on CX Intelligence needs to be a continuous process built into ways of working across the organization. The only way to improve your Enabling Action maturity is to have the systems and processes in place to consistently take action off the back of your customer feedback insights.

What’s involved in the Enabling Action Pillar of XLG maturity?

  • Insight distribution – how meaningful customer feedback insights are shared across the organization and whether they’re delivered to people who are empowered to make decisions based on the information.
  • Insight-driven action – the right people regularly receive insights into how customers are thinking and feeling and are able to react in a way that has a meaningful impact on growth.

Moving from Gut Feel to the Developing stage for Enabling Actions

A business is firmly in the Gut Feel stage of maturity when acting on customer feedback data is perceived as:

  • useless
  • counterproductive to KPIs
  • viewed as a future priority.  

Simply put, robust and actionable insights are not available at the Gut Feel stage of XLG maturity.

To move to the Developing stage, it’s essential to put systems in place to ensure accurate customer insights are available on a timely, consistent basis for the appropriate people.

Transitioning from the Developing to the Influencing stage in Enabling Action

Organizations at the Developing stage have some regular reporting and limited role-specific insights available. Using CX Intelligence to take action is often restricted to teams such as Customer Experience or Customer Support. It’s a start, but one that needs to be built upon. While insights are sometimes used to generate action, it’s likely to be reactive and focused on fixing issues.

Organizations at the Influencing stage have systems and processes in place to ensure a customer-centric decision making process is operational more widely. Multiple teams benefit from insights and rely on CX Intelligence to make decisions. These processes are both repeatable and predictable.

Achieving the Leading stage for the Enabling Action pillar of XLG maturity

In the Influencing stage, role-specific insights are regularly delivered to a number of decision-makers throughout the organization. Although an ‘Insights to Action’ process is operating across multiple areas of the organization, it is not established across all teams.

At the Leading stage, everyone has near real-time access to role-based insights. Decision-makers are proactive in:

  • tracking trends
  • addressing problems before they escalate
  • prioritising which actions to take to deliver XLG.

Leaders in XLG maturity benefit from insights-driven decision-making. Taking action on deep customer insights is built into ways of working throughout the organization.

Dave Ascott

Dave Ascott is the Strategy Lead for Chattermill.

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