“Show me the money!” 4-Steps to Achieving Budget for Your CX Initiatives

You’re passionate about improving the customer experience (CX) for your business… And there’s little doubt that your executives, including your CFO, will agree that there is room for CX improvement. They’ll also agree that those improvements will likely deliver impacts such as increased revenue and customer loyalty, and a reduction of overall operational costs. Yet, without a sound business case that quantifies and communicates the projected financial impacts, the budget for your CX initiatives continues to be elusive.

To get your CX initiatives to the top of the budgeting priority list, you need to demonstrate how your proposed CX strategy and associated technology investments align with the company’s goals. And you need to present a compelling financial business case to achieve approvals to move forward.

 

Here are 4 Steps to get you past “go” on budgeting for your CX initiatives:

  1. VISION – Establish a CX Vision that Ties to Company Goals

It’s important to tie your CX initiatives to your company’s short- and long-term goals as stated by your executives. Creating a CX vision will help frame your project objectives and give you clarity as to which business drivers you’re looking to impact. An executive mandate to increase revenue, for example, may lead you down a very different path toward setting CX priorities than a goal to increase profits. And a goal to deliver superior customer service may require still different behaviors along the customer journey.

 

  1. “THE HOW” - Define the CX Business Strategy

It’s one thing to react to a known customer experience issue or gap with a technology or process recommendation. However, to put those recommendations in context with other initiatives, validate your priorities, and ensure CX projects align with your CX vision, you need a clear CX strategy. This is where the heavy lifting comes in as a CX strategy requires cross-organizational support of a multi-step assessment that typically includes:

  • Business, operational and contact center discovery
  • Customer journey mapping (at least at a high-level)
  • Capture and analysis of baseline data, KPIs, and Voice of the Customer
  • Analysis of key findings
  • And, finally, recommendations for process/technology improvements.
     
  1. ALIGNMENT - Map Technology to Business Driver Impacts

Coming out of your CX assessment you’ll have a list of recommendations, many of which can be delivered through contact center or other CX technology investments. You now need to create a technology roadmap to validate and communicate the impacts and priorities for these investments. What level of impact will this technology have on your targeted business drivers? How much of an impact will it have on customer experience? What is your organization’s capability to implement the technology?  What is the anticipated cost savings potential? Revenue impact? And of course your roadmap should reinforce how your technology investments will align with the company’s goals…

 

  1. ECONOMIC SENSE? – Create the Financial Business Case

With a CX strategy and technology roadmap in hand, your last step is to be prepared to respond to your CFO when he says: “Show me the money!” You need to build a financial business case for your CX initiatives that is simple, easy to follow, and fully defendable with your CFO. The approach I recommend is to build it up one business impact at a time. Based on the recommendations in your CX strategy (the outcome of step 2 above) you want to show the expected cash flow impacts for each of your key business drivers (cost control, revenue, retention, etc.) For example, depending on your strategy, your business case may have cash flow models for:

  • Preemption of unnecessary contacts to the business
  • Reduction of agent-assisted contacts with improved self service
  • Reduction of shopping cart abandonment rate
  • Lowering Average Handle Time
  • Increasing First Call Resolution
  • (You get the idea…)

Next, you want to create a cash flow summary and pull your totals into a proven ROI model, along with the proposed investment/recurring expense amounts, to show the Return on Investment and payback period for your CX initiative.

 

Now, You’re Ready to Go!
If you follow these 4 steps, you will have successfully tested your CX strategy against your company’s goals and business drivers, based your recommendations on a thorough business and operational discovery, illustrated your technology recommendations as a prioritized roadmap, and validated the company’s Return on Investment with a compelling ROI model. And NOW you’re ready to present your case to your CFO and other stakeholders and get that CX initiative budgeted!

 

Want to Learn More?
Join us on May 12th for the CXPA webinar: Show us the Money… A Business Case for CX Initiatives, sponsored by Confirmit. In this webinar, Sarah Simon, Director Customer Success, Confirmit will explore the pressures to create a solid business case for CX initiatives, and Kathi Gurin, CX Strategy & Solutions Consultant, Sage Consulting, Inc. will take you through this 4-step process and show you an example of a compelling business case that will knock the socks off of your CFO. See you there!

 

Kathi Gurin
By Kathi Gurin
05/05/2016

Kathi Gurin has enjoyed a 23-year career in the high-tech industry with executive positions in Sales, Marketing and Business Consulting for CX technology companies spanning in size from start-up to $3B Fortune 1000 organizations.  Today, she is excited to bring her industry experience to a variety of clients, including B2B and B2C companies looking to compete based on customer experience, by examining the customer journey and providing a roadmap for improvements that is supported by a strong business case.

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