Right now, 9 out of 10 companies say they need to transform, and upwards of 60% of companies worldwide are in the midst of digital transformation. Their goal is to disrupt themselves and dramatically improve how their customers experience their brand. But, according to McKinsey, only 1 in 6 companies are implementing bold, at-scale strategies in this direction. Slightly more are still taking ‘baby steps’ and the rest are somewhere in between. So, what’s the hold up? Why the delay when everyone agrees on the necessity?
Several companies I’ve spoken to have told me that finding a way to prioritize CX projects is their biggest challenge. They have many ambitious ideas but are constrained by limited budgets and development resources. And they need to come to agreement on which projects will deliver the most value to the company and their customers in the shortest time. Redesign the web presence? Create new mobile apps or personalization features? Move infrastructure to the cloud to lower costs? Introduce AI into analytics? Build a new revenue stream by providing unique insights to customers based on data collected? All valuable projects. Which comes first? How to decide?
Proven approaches to prioritization
The challenge comes from trying to balance User, Business and Technical Priorities. And those 3 constituencies have their own opinions on which should come first. Proceeding from that premise, there are several ways to remove personal agendas from the decision-making process and prioritize CX projects…
- Overlap user goals and company goals
Start by prioritizing overall company goals. What’s the most important thing the company is trying to accomplish? Then look at user goals. Which of these align best with the company goals? Of your projects, which meet the aligned user goals best? That’s where to start.
- Use a spreadsheet to create a decision tool
List your projects on a spreadsheet, collaboratively ranking them from 1–10 by Cost, User Value, Business Value, Overall Value (Sum of User and Biz Value) and Overall Value / Cost. Looked at this way, priorities become very clear.
- Assemble a customer advisory board
Bring together a group of customer employees who directly use your service, make them part of your development team and allow them to suggest, rank and participate in the execution of your projects.
- Use internal surrogates instead of customers
Who are the people in your company who spend the most time interacting with your customers, not as researchers, but in a day to day business capacity? Sales people? Customer service people? Identify some key ones, train them in UX and set up regular communications between them and the UX team.
- Other process-centric approaches to prioritization
Try some old favorites like ‘Pair comparison‘ and ‘Buy a feature‘ which can be effective.
In all these cases, take the level of difficulty into consideration as well. Try to prioritize simpler and quicker CX projects over more difficult and longer-term ones to get some early wins on the board. This will motivate the team and build momentum and support among executives.
Clearly, this is an ambitious and daunting undertaking for any company and there are many different approaches to achieving each company’s transformational goals. But find a way to get started. Because there’s no question that a successful transformation will yield happier customers who will respond with higher levels of engagement and loyalty.