Don’t be a Promiscuous CX Assessment-Taker!

Author Bio

Author Bio

In my 30 years in the broader realm of marketing, 12 of that in customer experience specifically, I’ve seen a lot of self-rated assessments about the maturity of CX programs. Everyone has them—consulting firms in particular, but also software providers, research firms and individual companies. They range from 10-question surveys at an extremely high level, to nearly 300 questions that go to great depth. The more questions, the more they cost.

Let’s be frank. Their purposes are two-fold. As a customer experience leader at major financial institutions, I took them to rate my progress, on my own program and against others, or to show that without additional staff and budget, I couldn’t make more progress. As a consultant and CX software provider, my clients take them for the same reasons: to help to identify program strengths, secure resources and to make further progress. (This, of course, is in addition to the fact that if you are in or have been anywhere near surveys, you can’t NOT take them—it’s that compulsive itch to contribute, gather data and change the world!)

But there is another reason that we’re all aware of. Those offering assessments want to know how they can further help you. Some clients don’t want to air their plans and programs to too many organizations—this is understandable. Companies in whom you have real interest can only serve you better if you start with some type of assessment of your CX program, but vet your partners thoroughly. Don’t be a promiscuous assessment-taker!

Here’s where the real caution comes in: be sure to vet your partners’ assessments well. Some providers offer very far-ranging assessments that suggest cross-organizational action that many CX professionals cannot impact—though that’s all the more reason to involve the executive team in assessments or assessment results. Other assessments are too superficial, or worse yet, are designed to lead you only to solutions those partners can provide. 

The danger in profligate assessment-taking is confusion—results from one to the next likely won’t agree, as methodologies and question phrasing differ greatly. And if you take too many, how will you know the right advice to act upon? How will you know if those are even the right questions?

I’d put my money (or my time) on an assessment that hits foundational CX program elements, with a broader view to the rest of the organization. I’d gather a sincerely committed team of CX professionals and other stakeholders and rate your program together, with the guiding hand of a trusted professional partner alongside you. Be brutally honest, understand the implications of your maturity status, and be sure actions are planned to address weak spots. Then share it with the executive team, perhaps with outside help to provide objectivity. Most of all, show how your CX plan links directly to business objectives. Don’t be afraid to make a case for the resources! It is hard to improve an organization’s CX maturity with a staff of two and no incremental budget, but you can create engagement and buy-in by pulling in the right people early. 

Full disclaimer: Confirmit offers its clients a CX maturity assessment called Confirmit Compass. While it is a “self-assessment,” our CX consulting team facilitates, analyzes, scores and presents it to provide objectivity and guidance. You can find out more about Confirmit Compass here.