Girl with the stickies blog image

Girl With the Stickies: How to Advocate for CX When No One Cares

Anytime you’re forging a path towards the new, it’s a roller coaster. When starting my customer experience (CX) journey over a decade ago, one of my low points came when a senior member of management referred to me as “the girl with the stickies” because of my design research and prototype drawings posted all over my cube. At the time it stung, but I kept going because I believed in the power of the process. 

As someone who has been advocating for CX for a while now, I’m ecstatic to see its progress as a government-wide mandate. Although CX has made significant strides, there are still mixed opinions and approaches floating around. Some organizations are tailoring their customer experience based on data insights, while others are merely meeting the minimum requirements. If your organization doesn’t understand or support CX yet, this post is for you.

Tip 1: Connect CX to Familiar Concepts and Language

When I first started pitching CX more than a decade ago, stakeholders would often ask, “What’s in it for us?” I discussed things like talking to users, identifying pain points, developing creative solutions, and prototyping, but there was little to no interest. The problem was that I labeled it as “CX” right from the start.

Here’s an alternative: link CX to terminology and concepts that people are familiar with to build on their existing knowledge and experience. For example, since everyone is already accustomed to gathering requirements and analyzing root causes, use those terms as a substitute for CX-related research and synthesis activities.

Tip 2: Negotiate How You’ll Implement Solutions Upfront

To avoid wasting your efforts, it’s important to work with stakeholders to negotiate how you’ll implement CX solutions from the beginning. Help them understand how these solutions can solve their problems with tangible results. To build trust and ensure that your ideas are integrated effectively, foster a sense of ownership with your stakeholders by requesting that they assign a few of their team members to work with you on the CX journey and implement solutions. This is vital for both achieving buy-in and successfully executing solutions.

Tip 3: If You Love CX, Give It Away

Advocating for CX can be challenging, especially if you’re the only one doing the work. In two out of the three roles I’ve had, I essentially started as an “army of one.” However, it’s important to slowly build a group of like-minded individuals who you can share ideas with. Give your CX knowledge away generously, freely, and often. This not only brings people together around CX, but it also fosters growth for yourself and your career. The more you share, the more trust you build, and the more people want to bring you in to help facilitate CX for their teams or projects. Remember, no one achieves CX success alone. 

Tip 4: Practice Courage and Persistence

When faced with skepticism and resistance, it’s imperative to practice courage and persistence. Being a pioneer is sometimes difficult, painful, and often lonely. However, CX embraces the idea of finding solutions amid chaos. Success requires the courage to be “weird” and persistence to open bigger doors. Celebrate your wins to stay motivated, especially when you’re working as an “army of one.”

In conclusion, CX has come a long way but still faces challenges in gaining buy-in. However, with the right approach, language, stakeholder buy-in, courage, and persistence, you can build support for CX in any organization. Keep going – the doors will open!