Getting funding for your customer experience (CX) initiative isn’t always easy. You might have a clear vision for how to make strategic improvements, but there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make your idea a reality.
To get started, you’ll often need to build a customer experience business case. When it’s done right, the CX business case can help you get C-suite buy-in, set expectations upfront, and ultimately ensure that your initiative is successful.
But even the most seasoned CX professionals can struggle when it comes time to put pen to paper. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about creating a solid CX business case that’s sure to get the green light.
The value of customer experience
Customer experience is quickly becoming a primary driver of business growth. Companies are no longer competing on the basis of price or product. Instead, they’re being judged by the experiences they provide.
The past two years have only made this more clear. During the pandemic, more than 70% of companies with top-tier customer experience functions outpaced their sectors. They were three times more likely to have ‘significantly outpaced’ their sectors than the rest of the sample.
Pandemic or no pandemic, the impact that CX has on revenue is well-documented. Companies with strong customer experience strategies grow revenue faster than CX laggards; they cut costs, reduce risk, and can charge more for their products.
On average, Forrester estimates that improving customer experience by just one point can drive more than a billion dollars in revenue. Making even the smallest improvements in the customer journey can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
Evidence like this gives C-level executives a glimmer of excitement and often helps you justify the creation of a business case in the first place. But most CX professionals still face challenges when it comes time to pitch their initiatives.
Chances are, you’ll need more than just general statistics--you’ll need to demonstrate the specific and measurable ways your project will impact your company’s bottom line.
Quantifying the value of customer experience for your company
Industry benchmarks and case studies are sometimes enough to get C-level management to greenlight a CX initiative. But more often than not, they’ll want to understand the relationship between CX and revenue inside of their own company.
Often to get the initial buy-in, you’ll need to prove the relationship between CX and revenue. For example, you might look at your main customer segment and figure out how much money “very happy” customers spend with you, versus how much “very unhappy” customers spend.
If you change the ratio from “very unhappy” to “very happy,” spending will almost always increase. The relationship between customer satisfaction and spend becomes clear pretty quickly and can be extrapolated.
But even an exercise like this can take a significant amount of time--and we haven’t even gotten to your initiative yet. However, establishing this relationship is an important step that will help get your current project (and future projects) approved.
Once you’ve proven this relationship at a high level, you can begin to build more granular customer experience business cases. This is the type of specific and measurable business case that we’ll be building today.
10 Steps to create a build a customer experience business case
1. Make sure there is a common definition of success
Getting your customer experience initiative approved will require more than business acumen -- it will also require empathy. As a CX professional, you’re already empathetic to the wants and needs of your customers, but you’ll also need to be empathetic to what other departments are trying to accomplish.
Put yourself in the shoes of your internal stakeholders. Not just the C-Suite executives, but also mid-level management. At the mid-level, stakeholders can be harder to convince because they have firm goals that they need to meet.
Before you dive in head first, make sure that you’re working towards a shared definition of success. Your initiative should impact metrics that other departments also place meaning on -- like revenue, share of wallet, market share, or operational costs.
2. Create your one-sentence business case
Next, you’ll want to explain why the initiative will drive meaningful business and customer value. If you focus on just one of these, you’ll likely miss out on a big opportunity to frame the value proposition in a significant way.
A simple way to do this is to create a one-sentence customer experience business case. Here’s an example.
- We propose to do A
- to improve B (a customer benefit)
- in order to create an economic benefit of C (a business benefit)
- at the cost of D (your request for resources)
This one-sentence business case is the North Star for your CX initiative. Sometimes, it’s enough to justify a CX investment on its own.
Even if one part of your sentence isn’t firmed up yet (like the budget or potential impact) that’s okay. It’s still an important starting point and can be reworked as you continue with the rest of the plan.
3. Describe the problem or opportunity
Here’s a chance to represent the voice of the customer. Try to pinpoint what customers don’t like about their experiences, and what needs improvement. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to make a business case.
For example, let’s say you work for an insurance company and want to improve your company’s onboarding journey. You want more people to get through the process more seamlessly, so they don’t have to call with questions.
Describe the issue objectively. How many times per day are people calling with onboarding questions? What are the effects on the customer service team? Which customer segment is the most affected? How is the competition outperforming your company?
It’s also a good idea to include specific examples of poor customer experiences, as they might be more memorable than top-line metrics. Good storytelling can be the defining element in convincing executive leadership to move forward with a new project or investment.
4. Present your preferred action
When you present your initiative, it’s a good idea to have a few different action plans. Giving the C-Suite options will help prevent your initiative from getting dismissed altogether.
Explore how your initiative can be achieved with the lowest amount of effort, and what impact it can yield. Then, explore how successful it will be with more effort or additional resources.
For example, if you have a project that involves sales training, a high effort model might involve flying them out for in-person training sessions. A low-effort model might involve training everyone via Zoom.
5. Explore the alternatives
Can it be done cheaper or faster? If the answer is yes, that’s ok. Presenting the alternatives will help you get ahead of objections. As we all know, just because something can be done cheaper or faster doesn’t mean that it’s the right way to go.
Exploring the alternatives means that you’ve done your homework to make sure your solution is the best one. By trying to poke holes in your own work, you save the C-Suite time and energy from having to do the same.
6. Outline the expected benefits
Outline the expected benefits of your customer experience initiative. Again, make sure to outline how both the customer and business will benefit.
It’s best if these assumptions are conservative and reasonable. The more reasonable your assumptions are, the easier it will be for your key stakeholders to share your vision.
Another trick to getting streamlined approval is to outline the best-case and worst-case scenarios. This helps set expectations and provides a better framework for decision-making.
7. Include timing
Of course, your key stakeholders will want to know how much time your initiative will take, and how long before they’ll see ROI. It’s important to put together a short-term and long-term timeline for your initiative.
In reality, short-term pressures tend to win out in the world of finance. If you can demonstrate how your initiative will impact your organization within the next 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year, you’ll have an easier time getting everyone on board.
8. Define key metrics
You’ll want to have a top-level metric or key focus for your customer experience business case. While most initiatives will include metrics CX metrics like net promoter score (NPS) or some version of customer satisfaction (CSAT), you might also want to consider including the following metrics:
- Customer Churn
- Sales per Interaction
- New Customers Identified
- Length of Sales Cycle
Also, make sure that you start with a baseline or benchmark. Take an average measure of performance for each metric over the last 6-12 months. Then, track how your new CX project drives improvements.
9. Provide a detailed budget
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll need to understand all of the costs associated with your project. Don’t be afraid to shop your initiative around to partners and vendors.
Leaning on a third party can be a good way to get your initiative completed quickly, within a well-defined budget. Consider costs such as the cost of software, training effort, and the cost of human resources.
10. Urge stakeholders to consider the cost of taking no action
Senior executives can be tempted to postpone efforts that lack an element of urgency. Especially when companies are growing quickly, they often have a harder time justifying customer experience investments; It’s harder to make a customer experience business case when the company is already growing 20% every year.
However, it’s important to keep an eye on the competition, be aware of new disruptive trends, and understand the impact of changes. Especially with technology, often taking action earlier costs less in the end.
Examples of customer experience business cases
At Hubtype, we work with companies to build conversational applications. Conversational applications are experiences built on top of popular messaging channels (like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram).
Conversational apps help brands talk to their customers on the channels they prefer. With collaboration tools, automation, and media-rich content solutions, businesses can finally use messaging channels effectively at scale.
Most CX leaders that we work with understand how critical messaging is to the future of customer communication. They understand that conversational commerce is here to stay--and that it has the potential to disrupt business models.
However, without losing sight of this larger vision, they have to start with more granular business cases. They need to start small with provable, incremental results.
By working with Hubtype, our partners can build the customer experience business case for messaging. We help businesses understand how they will save money with automation, improve customer satisfaction metrics, and how much they will need to invest.
Bankia customer experience business case
Bankia (one of Spain’s largest banks) is using WhatsApp as part of a larger digital initiative to support and strengthen the relationship with customers. We recently worked with Bankia on the following use case:
Enhance the customer experience on the mortgage services page for requests coming from mobile web views to increase qualified conversions.
We helped Bankia understand the costs and benefits of using WhatsApp to achieve this so that they could build their customer experience business case. We explored what parts of the customer journey could be automated to save costs, and how the overall experience would be improved, as well as how much it would cost.
Shortly after implementing Hubtype’s solution, they achieved the following results:
- 9.6/10 NPS score
- Reply > 2 minutes
- 3x higher engagement on Whatsapp than other channels
- Increase in qualified leads
Because of the success of this specific business case, Bankia can continue on its journey to offer even more conversational banking solutions.
You don’t have to build your customer experience business case alone. If you’re interested in using messaging to further your CX goals, reach out to us at Hubtype. We’ve worked with the world’s leading banks, ecommerce retailers, and insurers to build conversational apps. We have the insights you need to create a meaningful business case.