How to build your CX business case
A successful Customer Experience business case describes a problem or an opportunity to grow. It shows how your solution will benefit your organisation using KPIs that are important to decision makers. It tells a story to win hearts and minds while illustrating a return on investment.
This page focuses on the business case for a project, but is equally applicable to strategic change and ‘business as usual’ activities.
Why you need a business case
A business case answers the eternal cry – what will I get for my money? In other words, it promises a return on investment
No-matter who you* are, you must show the value in your plans to enhance customer experience.
Elsewhere I speak about the dangers of customer centricity as a goal. The business case shows how you will use Customer Experience Management (CXM) as an enabler or lever for business growth. Afterall, few people will invest in an aspiration.
If you show how better customer experiences lead to better business results. Then your leadership team is more likely to invest in CXM.
The most persuasive business case
Some arguments are more persuasive than others.
⬆️⬆️⬆️ Businesses tend to invest to grow. So, demonstrate the potential for growth to persuade your business to invest in CXM.
⬆️⬆️ Cost savings are not quite as attractive**. See this post for more about Cost Avoidance business cases.
⬆️ Happier customers are the least attractive.
To win support for your investment in Customer Experience Management, show how happier customers lead to more sales and reduced costs. I call this the Path to Value.
The ROI equation
First, assess the impact of customer experience on business performance. This gives revenue and cost reduction benefits. See the section on Path to Value.
Then calculate the cost of change.
The difference between them is the Return on Investment.***
The costs of change
You can’t make a case for change without understanding what you will spend. Plan your project from the design of a new customer experience to realising the benefits and manage risks and issues. Then cost out your plan.
Typical costs of change include:
- Project team costs including people and resources.
- IT purchase costs.
- IT redesign / configuration costs.
- Training and the disruption of introduction.
- The costs associated with benefit realisation. Including revenue generation and cost reduction.
As with the Path to Value you need to tell a story using words and numbers. The narrative style must match your organisation’s way of communicating. Here is an example to go alongside the Path to Value example – see here.
- We will design an ideal customer journey and corresponding operational KPIs.
- Then approach new delivery partners for proposals and work with the incumbent to improve performance.
- We will establish internal changes in practice, so we can maximise delivery performance, realise cost reduction and improve CX.
- The estimated costs of designing and delivering the enhanced delivery journey is £75 over two years.
- Benchmarking shows we can achieve the same delivery prices or a marginal decrease.
Engage your stakeholders
Very few people present a business case and are carried out of the boardroom on the shoulders of the C-Suite. Most of us must win hearts and minds long before presenting our case formally.
Get to know the decision makers and what they care about. Build their KPIs into your Path to Value. And show them how it works.
Learn from feedback and questions, and adapt your story. Tell it again. Learn and adapt, and so on. Be ready to communicate more than you expected to win hearts and minds.
Lean into your governance to ensure the success of your CXM projects and activities and establish a receptive environment.
Updated: 15 November 2023
*Strictly speaking this isn’t true. After years of failing to make a business case for an improvement, a business I worked with was put on high alert when its President experienced the problem.
**While approaching a CFO with a cost reduction case isn’t ideal, I encourage you to step forward when your business needs to save money. It will still be tough, but your contribution and can-do spirit will be noticed.
***When calculating your ROI, ask what your businesses wants. Some will accept a simple return or payback. Others require a Net Present Value (NPV) calculation. NPV helps compare your CXM investment with other investments.