Customer Experience Management: CX Governance

In this final article in this series on customer experience management, the focus is on governance.  Customer experience management is a powerful strategy that builds upon the delivery of excellent customer service. Utility executives interested in providing valued customer service are rapidly putting comprehensive customer experience management strategies in place.  Success with delivering customer experience management requires the appropriate governance be in place.

A comprehensive customer experience management strategy will include a clear vision of the customer experience along with an investment in designing the customer experience.  This vision and design will be grounded in the voice of the customer.  And, importantly, the strategy will be guided, managed and resourced through a governance structure.  These elements combined enable consistent delivery of the desired customer experience.

So what are the elements of a solid governance structure that will successfully direct the CX strategy?  An executive steering committee is a must have. But supporting this executive steering committee must be resources such as a customer experience team dedicated to understanding and developing insights using customer data analytics.  There must be a discipline built into the governance to regularly review the customer experience, and to understand and direct initiatives underway.  The steering committee and CX team manage the defined CX plan, which will include customer-facing initiatives designed to advance the customer experience.

Executive Steering Committee

The best CX executive steering committees are cross-functional and include executives from different areas of the company.  There are clear roles and responsibilities for the steering committee and its members.  The committee is responsible for the comprehensive CX strategy. As such this steering team is required to plan, guide and prioritize customer experience initiatives.  It  must ensure there are resources dedicated to achieving the plan.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of serving on the CX steering team is addressing the CX strategy priorities in relationship to other enterprise priorities.  Successful utilities not only are driving forward with CX strategies, they are also pushing other important strategies forward such as as infrastructure expansion, business development and regulatory plans.  The executives serving on the CX steering committee will necessarily be faced with challenging decisions as conflicting priorities surface requiring limited resources.  Successful CX steering committees will have the needed frank discussions to prioritize and resource appropriate CX initiatives with other important enterprise initiatives.

Customer Experience Team

The executive steering committee is supported by a customer experience team.  The CX team is responsible for gathering, managing and interpreting the latest voice of the customer insights. The team will develop the CX plan for steering team review and approval.  Additionally, the team will update on CX initiative progress, recommend new initiatives, identify areas of concern and monitor CX metrics.  

The most successful CX teams include some full-time personnel but are often augmented will talent from across the enterprise.  This team serves as the champion for the CX experience design and delivery.

 Members of the CX team become the experts in the important tools of customer experience, including journey mapping and customer personas.  This team will ensure these tools are maintained, updated and leveraged throughout the enterprise.

CX Business Plan

A CX business plan refers to the defined initiatives along with resources that are being executed by a company to continue to move forward with their customer experience strategy.  These CX business plans will define the initiatives, milestones and budget for the upcoming year.  Many companies actually define multi-year plans, in order to plan resources in priority with other enterprise multiyear efforts, such as electric and gas capital plans.

 The CX business plan will include important initiatives to help the customer experience evolve.  These initiatives will support the development of a customer-focused culture, new customer service capabilities, customer data analytics and process improvements.  Employees across the company will be tapped to support these initiatives.  Managing these initiatives, addressing resource conflicts between initiatives and celebrating initiative success are important CX governance responsibilities.  Regular reviews of the initiatives, their progress and the stumbling blocks are critical to ensure successful execution.

It is exciting to see utilities moving beyond customer service to defining and evolving the entire customer experience.  This is a time of transformation.  Our utility industry is transforming, our customers are transforming and our technology is transforming.  This demands a transformation in the delivery of the utility customer experience.  Savvy utilities are investing now in defining their overall CX strategies and putting the governance structures in place to ensure the strategy is successful and integrated with other business priorities.

About the author: Penni McLean-Conner is chief customer officer at Eversource Energy, the largest energy delivery company in New England. She serves on several boards, including the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.


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