CX Mistake #8: Forgetting To Celebrate Success

In this series of posts, we examine some of the top mistakes companies make in their customer experience management efforts. This post examines mistake #8: Forgetting To Celebrate Success. Customer experience leaders spend so much energy focusing on what needs to be improved that they often forget to appreciate the progress that has already been made.

Customer experience transformation isn’t easy. Leaders of these efforts must push through ongoing resistance over several years to guide their organizations towards being customer-centric. So it’s only natural for them to keep looking ahead, trying to anticipate and avoid the next barrier. This non-stop forward charge can cause some problems because it:

  • Accelerates burn out. Pushing up against barriers and resistance can be very tiring, which is why many customer experience leaders don’t last beyond a few years. Even if they go longer, they are often tired and frustrated.
  • Distresses stakeholders. Executives get tired of hearing that their organizations have problems or that they aren’t changing fast enough. Sooner or later they tune out to the message.
  • Limits organizational change. Identifying problems can drive initial change, but organizations get tired of facing an uphill battle of improvements. People don’t get emotionally engaged until they feel good about their efforts.

Here are some tips for avoiding this mistake:

  • Institutionalize success-seeking. One of the items that should be regularly on your agenda is “signs of success” where you discuss what’s working well. By putting this on the agenda, people will get in the habit of looking for, and thinking about, the progress that they’ve made.
  • Acknowledge your organization’s great work. One of the 6 laws of customer experience is “people do what is measured, incented, and celebrated.” So make sure to celebrate! The wins in the organization don’t happen on accident. Make sure to recognize members of the customer experience team that are making a positive difference.
  • Regularly communicate success. The organization wants to know that it’s succeeding. So make sure to communicate the signs of success. But don’t oversell. People will start ignoring messages that don’t match what they’re seeing.
  • Thank the organization. Don’t just communicate the success, but widely thank people across the organization for their help. This will make employees more anxious to be a part of the effort, in the hopes that they will also get the recognition.
  • Create customer experience awards. If your organization has quarterly or annual awards, then some of those accolades should be channeled towards customer experience champions. The people inside of your company that are making a difference deserve an award!

The bottom line: Focus on the future, but don’t forget to celebrate the past

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 Responses to CX Mistake #8: Forgetting To Celebrate Success

  1. Carolyn Watt says:

    Hi Bruce

    Great post today…Yes, I’m a big believer in celebration and recognition.

    It’s a cultural change really…creating experiences that both staff and customers will enjoy. I do believe that when staff are treated with respect, kindness, and some humour…they will in turn treat customers the same way. It’s the simple theory of reciprocity.

    Carolyn Watt
    The Customer Experience Company

  2. Thank you for reminding me of these elements. It is so much a part of getting the change that will help your customers and your organisation. I will start a more systematic program for this first thing Monday morning🙂

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