This post is the second in a series of three outlining West Monroe’s capabilities and perspective in Customer Experience (CX) transformation using the DEEPEN CX framework. In the first post, Pat McClure and Justin Poggioli provided an overview of the first three stages of the DEEPEN process: Define, Envision, and Empathize. If you haven’t read that post yet, I’d recommend you start there. We’ll continue here with stage 4 of DEEPEN: the Plan.
Upon completing the Define, Envision, and Empathize phases of a CX transformation initiative, there should be a documented vision, or ‘North Star’, outlining the expected outcomes of the transformation program, the guiding principles for how the organization will interact with its customers in the future, and the desired perception or reputation of the organization amongst its customers and industry peers. Additionally, you’ll have a backlog of ideas and initiatives geared towards improving the organization in various capacities including customer engagement, process improvement, technology, and operating model/organization structure. This is where the Plan comes in, and it’s critically important. If the organization’s current state is point A and the ‘North Star’ is point B, the Planning phase is where initiatives are prioritized, sequenced, and funded. Think of this as the roadmap which guides the organization from point A to point B.
It can be difficult to know which projects to enact first. So, it’s important during the planning phase to avoid ‘boiling the ocean’ by tackling all initiatives and projects at once. There needs to be a balance between achieving short-term, incremental improvements and laying the foundation for longer-term initiatives. First, the organization must prioritize the ideas by evaluating each one through four distinct lenses:
- Level of impact to key stakeholders (including both customers and internal team members)
- Amount of effort and time to execute the initiative
- Financial impacts, such as cost and ROI
- Alignment to the overarching vision and strategy
By critically evaluating each idea through these lenses, a prioritized list will emerge to rank all projects against each other on a common scale. Once the projects are prioritized and ranked against each other by the executive team, there are three core steps that a CX focused organization must take to develop a cohesive and achievable plan of action.
- Establish program milestones that are both critical to delivering the overarching North Star vision as well as provide incremental value along the journey
- Identify dependencies between the initiatives necessary to achieve milestone objectives
- Organize your prioritized initiatives into a logical sequence which enables success at each milestone and ends in the realization of the North Star vision
For example, it may make sense to start with a process definition and optimization project to identify current inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement. That project may dovetail nicely into a target operating model initiative to define the ideal structure of internal resources to support the optimized business processes identified in the first project. Next, the time could be right to launch into a technology implementation or enhancement project, ensuring that the organization is equipped with the proper tools to execute new processes within a new operating structure. Another key component to a successful CX Transformation is Organizational Change Management (OCM). The importance of change management cannot be understated and should be planned for from the beginning. It’s important to remember that this plan is not static – it’s a living, breathing entity that needs to adapt with business conditions, shifting priorities, and new information. A good plan needs room for the unknown and a good planner needs to be open to iterations and updates along the way.
In conclusion, the planning phase of the DEEPEN methodology serves as a bridge between the initial stages which are focused on ‘what do we want to be and how do we want to be perceived’ and the last stage, Enact, which is about execution and bringing the North Star vision to life. CX transformations are complex and multi-faceted, with many stakeholders inside and outside the organization and include initiatives that span many areas of an organization from technology, to process, to organizational hierarchy. A successful CX transformation requires a strong, and adaptable, plan of action.