January 27, 2021 • 12 min read
It’s hard to get where you need to be, if you don’t know where you are. The Digital Customer-First Transformation System maturity model does that just that. It’s a way to figure out where you are on the road to digital transformation, and what to do next.
All right, here we are. It’s another episode of the CXM Experience. And as usual, I am your host, Grad Conn, I’m the CXO or chief experience officer at Sprinklr. And we’re here to talk about customer experience management and where it’s going from a long-term perspective.
So over the last week we took a bit of a break, had a few shows about chicken and butter, some Diet Coke. But previously, we’ve been talking a lot about digital transformation. And this entire concept of digital transformation is extremely difficult for organizations. And there are three reasons why digital transformation is really hard. One, it’s not clear on what the steps that are necessary to create transformation are. There’s not a dictionary, there’s not a guidebook or a blue book, the blueprints don’t exist, right? And so that makes it hard because it’s essentially embarking on a journey without a map. And it’s exciting, but scary, and you really don’t know where you’re gonna end up. That’s number one.
Number two, in order to actually truly do proper digital transformation, you’ve got to bring along the other stakeholders in the organization. And due to part one, lack of a map, it’s really hard to bring other stakeholders along with you, to have them believe in it, to have them aligned, to have the know what we’re doing. And so classically, what happens is the person driving DT gets a lot of arrows in their back, and then ultimately fails. And there’s actually many examples from my own career, and many others, where… it’s amazing how that pioneering spirit is rewarded with burning your farmhouse down, right? It’s hard to do, and people will be more likely to cheer your failure than to encourage your success. So that’s number two.
Number three, and this is potentially the most important one, is that your customers need to be brought along as well. Your customers are the ones that are going to react to the digital transformation that you’re doing. And if you’re successful, they’ll be the ones that will be like, good on you. They’re gonna be the ones that like it and love it. But how do you know what they want? How do you know what they want you to do? So, these three issues, which is lack of a map, lack of internal alignment, and lack of understanding customer expectations, create really significant problems. And so the whole point of the DCFTS, the Digital Customer-First Transformation System that we have at Sprinklr, is to help drive that alignment, create a map and make sure you’re focused on the things that your customers care about.
So that’s the overall objective. And we’ve gone through a few of the models so far. We talked about the values model, which is, what value are you going to provide to the organization by doing this transformation? Then we spent a bit of time on the capabilities model — what are what are the capabilities that you require in order to make it happen? We talked a lot about people, process, and technology. And today, we’re going to talk about the maturity model which is, I think, maybe one of the more powerful components of this. I’ve seen this work many, many times, because classically, in an organization, people will approach the problem of digital transformation from different starting points. So, people will be like, I feel like we’re pretty far along. Or we’ve got a good start or, Oh, my gosh, we’ve done nothing. There’s a fairly wide dichotomy on how people feel they’re doing, and so what this does is it allows people to look at the components on a maturity model curve, and then be able to say, yeah, that’s kind of where we are. And you know, what? It’s okay where you are. The maturity model doesn’t judge you. It’s just like, this is where we are. That’s where we are right now, and that’s okay. And maybe we’re okay, staying there. That could be a possibility. Or maybe we want to go somewhere else. That’s cool too. Few say they want to go backwards, but I guess that could happen. Most want to go forward, but this is where we are. It’s an impassionate statement of status. Right?
So, let me go through a little bit. Again, all of these documents are available for download. Go to the copernicanshift.com, or go to sprinklr.com. And you can find all these documents that I’m talking about right now. We’ll have the links in the podcast notes as well. But let me describe it really quickly because it’s relatively straightforward.
The maturity model is essentially four columns. The left hand column is being least mature, and the far right hand column being most mature. So, the first two columns are labeled. And the second two columns are labeled. But it’s still a bit of a process between the two. And so the first column, not surprisingly, is called basic. And the second column is called functional. And they both fall under this banner of brand centric, which is where most companies are today. And this is kind of social, from the bottom up, right? So classically in basic, we’ve got… actually, it’s so funny. I was actually on a call with a customer today. And they said — and it was so interesting listening to them talk — they’ve got two people managing all of the comments coming at them. This is a massive organization, they’ve got two people assigned to what is essentially a volume of around 20,000 to 30,000 comments a week. I mean, it’s an impossibility with two people. They have not enlisted the organization. So definitely at a basic level, right? A lot of random social feedback, there’s not really an engagement strategy, the people is kind of a millennial bunch of folks doing it, who believe in it. The role for engagement is really just to get in the game, like we got to be there, we got to do something. And there’s no real technology strategy as well.
And so that’s the basic. And ironically, I find basic to be pretty common still. We’re still at a pretty early stage in this, which is a little bit funny for some of us, because I’ve been doing this for a long time. With Sprinklr since about 2012. Nearly a decade. Sprinklr has been doing it for just a little bit longer than that. For some of us who’ve been in this for a decade, it’s shocking, to see people who are still at this… I’m not getting to everyone who wants to talk to me. Really? Customers are literally walking into your place of business and you’re ignoring them. Like that’s really how you’re pulling this off. And I don’t know how senior management allows that to happen. But I guess they’re just out of touch enough not to worry about it. So that’s basic.
So, then the second column is functional. And you see more people here, but this leveraging the engagement for crisis detection and content publishing. You’ve got more central leadership, more organization, leaders are leading, there’s some central governance models and local control. And the technology strategy is still function specific. But there’s a strategy in place. Often the way to get to the functional level, the second level, is to get a CXC, or customer experience center, in place. And I found that building a CXC was a great way to centralize the customer feedback, to create a center of excellence around how we’re doing things, and to get other people in the organization aligned by having them visit and see it and be able to touch it and feel it. And it worked really well.
And there’s this chasm. There’s this chasm between this brand centric approach. Completely hodgepodgey and basic, to the you’ve got a CXC and you’re banging it out, doing some leader stuff, but still very much a brand motion. And then how do you get to customer centric, right? And this chasm between brand centric and customer centric to me, is extremely interesting. Like this famous book, Crossing the Chasm, and all that kind of stuff. And I think that the chasm requires a few things, right? It requires a change agent, someone in the organization who really wants to push change. It requires executive sponsorship. So senior management needs to want to move to the next level. There has to be some sort of system of engagement that’s prescribed, people understand what we’re trying to do. Lubomira at L’Oreal is doing a great job of creating a system of engagement where 100% of everybody who talks about L’Oreal, or L’Oreal brands, is going to be engaged with. It’s a very bold vision. It’s very similar to what Marc Pritchard says, at Procter and Gamble, of mass one to one. They’re all talking about it, right? We’re all going there. We’re not there yet. But we’re all going there. We’re all going to mass one on one. We’re all going to a one-on-one engagement strategy. But the only way to do that is to have thousands of people in the organization engaged. Two community managers sitting in the basement, ain’t going to cut it, right?
And so then we want to get to customer-first. So, there’s the two right hand columns would be what we call integrated, and then customer first. And so in integrated, you’re actually able to start using your system to optimize business performance. You’re collaborating cross functionally, and executives are engaged. And this cross functional executive engagement starts to drive this focus on results and outcomes. And basically, you’re starting to look at this as a system of record. And you’re starting to think about the experiences that people are having with you, as being core to their overall brand engagement metrics. So that’s where things really start to change at this integrated level.
For me, one of the things that starkly highlights integrated is when other groups all start to collaborate around it. For example, classically, a lot of this stuff starts in marketing. And I actually think that’s fine. But I actually think the groups that benefit most from this would be the product teams. And they’re one of the last ones often to engage on this. But product teams would find they get tremendous feedback and input from the world’s largest focus group, telling them how they can improve their product and change their product. And so, it’s really important to make sure your product teams, your PR teams, your demand gen teams, your advertising teams, your marketing teams, that everybody needs to be looped into this and working together. All thinking about how the consumer is informing you on what they need to do next.
And then the far-right hand side, and this would be the most mature companies. And this is where we think most companies will be by probably 2025. I think that’s… it’s hard to say. You know, it’s always funny. There’s an old Bill Gates quote, which is: we always overestimate how much change is going to occur in two years, and we always underestimate how much change is going to occur in 10. It’s a great quote. So 2025 makes me nervous, because it’s right in the middle of those two numbers. But let’s say by 2030, for sure, I think most companies will be in this customer-first bucket. So basically using modern channels to create consistent and consistently great customer experiences. Digital transformation is broad scale across the organization. And there’s a unified inspired organization around customer experience itself. You know, how people feel when they’re working with us, and they’re talking to us and stuff like that.
And I think that this idea of customer experience as being a primary output, and customer experience as being a thing we measure our success by, and customer experience being the thing that we believe is the thing that we do every day. And that customer experience is the thing we’re driving towards… if you think about your own job, I mean, we all somewhat pay lip service to customer experience. But tell me what metric in your scorecard is customer experience focused? And if your manager were to say to you, I just want you to drive customer experience, how would you measure that? How would you report on that. And that’s the future we need to drive towards. And the beauty of what we have in modern channels, is we actually are getting feedback from customers in real time on the experience that they’re having. So we can fix that, we can change it, we can amplify it. So that’s something that we’ve got to focus on more. So it’s kind of a fourth stage of maturity.
So, in this Maturity Model, and I’m going to wrap it up now. What’s beautiful is you can sit down as an organization, you can say, where are we on this curve? Where do we want to be? Where do you want to be in two years? Five years, 10 years? How do we feel about this, and get organizational alignment around where you need to be on maturity curve.
And so I will continue on DCFTS. We’re gonna talk about the ROI model and a few other models over the next few days. But for today, I’m going to wrap. And thank you for listening. For the CXM Experience, I’m Grad Conn, and I’ll see you next time.
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