CX Centers of Excellence (CoE) don’t need to be complicated or IT-based or even big to be effective. We like to say if you have either:
…you can benefit from a simple, light-weight CX Center of Excellence (CoE).
A CX Center of Excellence is a concept.
At its core, the main purpose of any CX Center of Excellence is to define, develop and share standards and leading practices in a place employees can easily find.
In the CX field, we design and help deploy CX CoE’s to help firms centralize everything teams need to drive client-centric outcomes. If you are a mid- to larger-sized firm ( have more than 250 employees or have multiple offices), you need to have one, plain and simple.
They support your firm’s unified and standards-based growth by streamlining access to everything employees need to organize around the needs of your clients.
CX CoE’s have a reputation for being very large and complex. For example, IBM, Oracle, SAP and others have well documented CoE’s and thus most people believe they need to be that size to benefit from them. That is wrong.
The most successful CX CoE we’ve ever designed and implemented was created for a 380 person services firm with four offices. They used the CoE to:
Contrary to a lot of published articles about this topic the answer is NO.
CX Pilots borrowed the term, “headless” and applied it to CoE’s. This means, the CoE is simply a simple repository of all the resources your firm needs to provide consistently unified and standardized services regardless of who they are or where they sit in the organization. It doesn’t need to be staffed by full-time employees. In fact it has been years since we developed a Center of Excellence that required FTE’s to keep it operational. You can infer from this that the CoE can actually be a simple knowledge-base. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The point remains, centralizing CX resources is critical no matter what you call it or how you build it.
Information is everywhere. In fact, it’s likely that everything you need to drive your organization’s Customer Experience Management program (CXM or CEM) or customer success initiative already exists across a half dozen or more locations inside of servers you don’t know about. This is the case in most companies. And when you finally put your hands on it, you wonder why it’s so #@*%^~*$ hard to find the data you need—am I right?
The reality is, data, process and technologies are the fuel that run successful CX programs across the globe but they are only one element of a holistic successful CX or customer success effort. Add to that, coordinated (multi-office) process across Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, Corporate Communications and Operations. On top of that, add customer and partner outreach protocols, coordinated Salesforce (or other CRM) data entry guidelines, new client prospecting, new client onboarding, coordinated issue support and resolution, new employee recruiting, onboarding and training. Now, the cherry on top is a unified measurement strategy and governance across offices. All of these play an important role in providing consistent, world-class customer experience management in top companies.
But how do you make sure that everyone has everything they need in a completely coordinated fashion regardless of where they sit—and critically, that everyone can see what everyone else is seeing, thinking and doing? How do you ensure that everyone who plays a role in orchestrating consistently positive customer experiences has unfettered access to everything they need? The shortest answer is a CX Center of Excellence or CX CoE.
CX CoE’s are an indispensable component of every successful customer experience program for mid- to large organizations.
Following is a direct challenge CX Pilots encountered recently with a CX transformation client.
Their CFO wanted to understand more about how the CX, Marketing, Sales and Support functions added to the overall P&L for the 7,800 person technology services company.
Essentially, she was directing the CMO to apply data to future budget/spend. To get there, she wanted to know the difference between costs per touch for her different customer-facing functions. This is the total accumulated internal costs to market to, sell to, manage the experience of, and support the ongoing needs of each customer. Additionally, she wanted to know if there were strategic ways to rebalance costs to have maximal impact on both the customer and the business. Fair enough. But how was this large IT integration services company going to approach this fact-finding mission?
The company had 31 offices across 14 countries on three continents managed by almost 8,000 employees.
Our counsel was to immediately develop a CX Center of Excellence to begin centralizing customer, sales, marketing and aggregating cost data. Within three months, we had helped them develop the appropriate formulas to calculate cost-based effects of their efforts across Marketing, Sales, CX and Support Operations and helped them rewire their attribution models so everyone was in agreement where sales originated.
Once we were done with the initial design of the CX CoE, everyone regardless of their location was able see how they could log into their central portal, quickly orient themselves to the process, and pull down the necessary formulas to begin aggregating their data to pump into a centralized dashboard.
In month four, the CFO could begin to see gaps where data was missing from some offices but importantly, she could also begin to see where a bulk of the spending was dramatically out of line and in need of some calibration. For example, The EMEA offices were overspending on CX and Support Operations but underspending dramatically in Marketing and Sales relative to other offices. The nine offices in North America were the opposite, they were spending 600 percent more on Marketing and Sales and under indexed in CX and Support Operations.
In order for her to fine tune (or recalibrate) the orchestra of customer-facing functions, she needed access to more data from a greater number of geographies—and now she had it or at the very least, was much closer to having it. Her peers in Marketing, Sales Ops, HR and Global Operations now had the numbers to begin planning interventions to balance the cost-per-touch formula that would ultimately have the greatest possible impact on the customer and the business’ bottom line.
However, the question remained, how will corporate be able to ensure that each function in each office had access to the required change formulas, supporting processes and all the information required to support them in making these critical course-correcting changes? The answer was also the CX Center of Excellence.
The CX Center of Excellence (CX CoE) or ‘COVAULT,’ as they called it, was the single point of access for every office to source all the change direction, process change descriptions, internal and external communications strategies and all the templates and instructions/how-to manuals (employee training materials).
With the CX CoE, the corporate team could provide access to change information for each office and also monitor who was accessing the information and provide office-specific support to those geo’s or offices which weren’t moving at the pace of change the centralized strategy called for.
Since 2014, CX Pilots has been collecting data on CX CoE buying and usage in Professional Services firms. The bar graph above is a cumulative reflection of this data (collected by surveys and interviews).
What the data shows us is: