Spring is in the air.  It’s a great time to do some cleaning and decluttering of your customer program.  Keep it fresh and functioning well.

A great program helps you measure, manage, and improve the customer experiences your company delivers, leading to more loyal customer relationships and sustainable growth in sales and profits. For more details, see our white paper on The Case for Investing in Customer Experience.

So, where are you now?  Is your program fresh, organized, useful, or do you have a little more work to do?  We recommend stepping back from your scorecards and dashboards once a year to think about the overall health of your program.  What’s working well?  What could be decluttered?

“The What”.  Do you still have the right goals?  Goals that used to make sense may no longer be appropriate.  Your customers and markets may have changed.  Your business and technology may have evolved.  You might have mastered a goal that no longer stretches you as a company.

“The How”.  As well as looking at what your program is trying to accomplish – your goals – it’s good to look at how your program is pursuing them.

Are you asking the right questions of your customers?  In the right way?  At the right time?

Are your employees aligned and engaged with the program?  Do they have incentives to do the right thing, day-in, day-out for your customers?  Do they perceive the program as a source of positive reinforcement and improvement opportunities, not just a “big brother is watching you” situation?

We’ve introduced a lot of ideas here.  To run with our spring-cleaning analogy, just inspecting all the corners and closets in your program may seem overwhelming, let alone doing any real cleaning!  The good news is that spring-cleaning tools for your program already exist.  Like our Customer Experience Self Assessment Tool.  It’s a framework that simplifies the process of assessing the what and how of your program, to help you know where to make changes.

The assessment should leave you with a good overall view of the health of your program and specific opportunities for improvement.  We recommend discussing your findings inside your company, prioritizing specific changes and actions, and getting top-down support for them from management.

Pro tip: With internal employees and management, start by presenting the past year’s program accomplishments and highlights.  Showcase the value it is generating, before you ask for time, money, or effort to make improvements.

Once you’ve decided on concrete actions to take, be sure to communicate program changes to employees and customers, ideally well in advance.  Again, lead by trumpeting your program wins before you discuss what’s changing.  If your team and your customers view the program as valuable and successful, they’ll be more inclined to help you make changes.  People like to back proven winners.

Before you begin to implement the changes, be sure to include them in your program goals and governance.  This will increase the likelihood that the changes will actually happen, and you will be able to look back a year from now and more easily report out on the progress the program has made.

When you’ve got a round of spring cleaning under your belt, make a habit of it.  It’ll be easier next time, and doing it every year helps make sure your program stays relevant and valuable.

We hope these tips are useful.  If you’re a B2B or industrial company and would like help or advice on doing this, please contact us.

Until next spring. [Good luck!]

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