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Building Cross-Organizational, Customer-Centric, Digital-First Processes
$170B technology company’s customer-experience initiative significantly bumps satisfaction scores and the bottom line.
A pilot program reduces time-to-market for new certification exams by nearly a quarter year—and kicks off a new way
of enhancing customer experience company-wide.
Challenge: Allying unlikely groups for a groundbreaking project
A global transformational initiative quietly began to take shape as one of the world’s technical juggernauts looked towards better engaging its customers and partners. Their premise: What if they could ease the way for customers and reach aggressive business objectives by thoughtfully analyzing and improving their customer experience?
And how might they, in the process of one exercise, create a connected customer-experience methodology that could be duplicated and run endlessly across the organization?
For an organization of this size, it was quite the over- arching strategic challenge to use the foundation of digital solutions to more effectively deliver against customer expectations throughout the entire engagement life-cycle. Gaining internal alignment among disparate groups in separate silos was the first significant hurdle to be overcome.
To this end, the company hired McorpCX to help design, document, and socialize this new approach to a connected customer-experience strategy across solutions and departments via a single pilot program.
I’m really amazed. We took seven million customers and boiled them down to three personas...and got it right.” – Business Manager
Approach: Gaining trust through a methodical process, a coalition of voices, and early lightbulb moments
This cultural shift had an unlikely start in the typically low-customer-profile IT department. Traditionally, the company’s IT department had serviced functional areas of the business on a transactional basis. But because IT touched every part of the organization—product development, marketing, sales, fulfillment, operations, customer service and support, to name a few—it was well positioned for this deep CX dive, and to play a bigger CX-improvement role.
IT’s holistic views of business processes enabled them to take the lead in helping to build customer-centric, end-to-end process transformation across the organization. No small feat, and no small challenge, considering the broad mix of participants needed to buy in and contribute to this cross-channel, cross-functional initiative.
To kick the program off, the team vetted potential pilot programs, ultimately choosing the Learning Group, responsible for the company’s certifications.
The Learning Group was selected because it touched multiple technology solutions and supported a wide variety of stakeholders. Every product had its own certification path, so by extension, they supported nearly every business group in the company. It also touched on the partner ecosystem, as partners delivered the training and administered the exams. But most importantly, customers were at the center, because they were the ones becoming certified.
From Learning’s point of view, they were a group comprised of experts in learning. They were capable researchers and they talked to customers, partners, and end users every day. How could IT, frequently perceived as a roadblock to change, speed and progress, help them to be more customer centric?
Eventually, due to executive sponsorship and IT’s observations of a few ad hoc business processes that could be streamlined, the Learning team agreed to the pilot program. While everyone understood the program might benefit from a few process improvements, no one (not even the sponsors) expected the significant transformation that was to come.
To drive this cross-functional change, McorpCX worked closely with the CIO and the General Manager of Customer Experience Solutions Development, which covered the corporate website, the small and medium business (SMB) online solutions, and the customer-facing solutions developed and managed by the IT organization.
Voice of the Business Workshops kicked the initiative off with in-depth stakeholder interviews to better understand perspectives and define the project scope. A series of tailored voice of the business workshops brought in other internal voices and perspectives,and drove persona development for the stakeholders involved in the certification process. Qualitative and quantitative research followed, resulting in a set of journey maps across three dimensions: the customer (seeking certification), the partners (delivering training and examinations), and the product teams (responsible for certification requirements on their technology).
And throughout, McorpCX documented the CX process for other teams and departments to use as a future roadmap.
Findings: While customers were highly valued, there was no clarity on their motivations or experience frustrations
These journey maps—organized by audience, stage and touchpoints—were key to understanding the current experience and designing the future ideal state, which solved for barriers and pain points from dismal exam centers to bad registration site navigation. From unclear employment opportunities with certification, disparate quality of coaching, and erratic certification awards, the findings ran the gamut from simple to complex, obvious to subtle, and distinct in different parts of the world.
While it may have been uncomfortable to have experience flaws laid out so clearly, these crystal clear lists, with stats, root causes, hurdles, responsible parties and dependencies helped the Learning Group embrace the work of fixing journeys and touchpoints with enthusiasm. McorpCX guidance, methodologies, and VoC data also gave them the tools to develop their future-state vision, which defined a tiered strategy to drive a desired customer experience based on newly defined CX guiding principles.
The work that your team is driving with McorpCX will be of great value as we work to improve the end-to-end experience for our certification candidates.” – Senior Director, Certifications
Recommendations: Design ideal state experiences through targeted initiatives and exercises based on the data
In addition to developing typical SWOTs and market context to help the team prioritize their way to a better experience foundation, McorpCX recommended the Learning Group and IT clarify and document stakeholder motivations, ways of thinking, ways of working, tools for working and more—and provided the frameworks, workshop guidance, and materials to do so.
The team voted on the top improvement opportunities based on weighted lists, identifying the stage, effort and pain score. Then they converted data into stories and ecosystems, to gain a clearer view of journey and goal commonalities, and to help them achieve more creative (but clearly prioritized) problem solving.
Results: Next-generation certification program proves the value of digital-first CX
Through this methodical process, which not only collected valuable insights but mapped out a clear way forward, McorpCX and the IT team built credibility and trust, a common language, and a shared enthusiasm for what could be accomplished by seemingly simple steps. The group demonstrated early wins, delivered against promises, and, ultimately carried out a successful CX improvement program that far outstripped the organization’s expectations.
The pilot program opened up a new perspective on what it means to be customer centric for both the Learning Group and the Business units. For the IT team, it gave the architects and developers a greater depth of engagement in the business. It empowered them to think outside of their typical boxed-in roles, taking them beyond being simply a service bureau, to providing strategic guidance and digital-first solutions to CX issues.
As a result of program innovations based on real stake- holder input, customer- and partner-satisfaction scores soared. The pilot also improved operations, reducing the cycle time to bring a new certification to market from 90 days to seven, which saved significant amounts of money, and ultimately drove more revenue.
The Results in Numbers
Faster time-to-market, conclusive jumps in user and partner satisfaction,
and huge savings to the company.
The pilot program opened up a new perspective on what it means to be
customer centric for both the Learning Group and the Business units.
And throughout, McorpCX documented the CX process steps to serve
as a future roadmap across the organization.