After years of customer service consulting, i.e., partnering with clients to help improve their customer experience and internal culture, I have recognized that there are certain qualities one must possess to be a great CX project lead and reap the rewards. On the contrary, if one doesn’t possess these characteristics, there will be struggle resulting in a lack of the wanted or expected results. It’s essential to know the 5 characteristics of a great project lead.
How Do Your Project Management Skills Measure Up?
Success as a project lead evolves from a combination of five essential skills:
- Leading by example:
The project leader should walk the talk and exhibit great customer experience and internal culture. This individual must have excellent communication skills as well as a true passion for service and improving the experience of both internal and external customers.
This may be one of the most important qualities. If a project lead lacks this characteristic, they will not be successful because others will view the project as ungenuine, lacking authenticity. No one should never be forced to take on this responsibility because they will fail if their leadership skills are not high level. That is why a passionate project lead is so critical. They must be losing sleep at night about the experiences for customers that the organization is providing, and the level of customer loyalty is gained.
The project leader must have the ability to work within cross-functional teams and be well-respected by their peers and leaders within the organization.
Bandwidth can become an issue here because meeting with various project teams takes time and planning. However, it is critical for a project manager to create a small CX team made up of different department leaders, a team that meets once a week, that can help create the systems, launch to the employees, and help with accountability and execution. The project lead will be responsible for coordinating and facilitating these discussions which are so vital to customer experience strategy and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.
The project leader must be open to change and be flexible enough to pivot when necessary. They must be able to manage time well, as usually this is not the project lead’s only responsibility, rather it is absorbed into their current roles and responsibilities as just one part of their entire workload. To meet project goals, this person must be a critical thinker and have the confidence to adjust as needed and make decisions, even difficult decisions, on the fly.
The project leader must have the ability to keep everyone on schedule and accountable across a broad range of responsibilities. They must have project management skills and good follow through. It is important that they are self-motivated to both stay on task and keep others on task, with as many frank discussions as are necessary.
To be an effective project manager the project lead needs to create 2-3 key performance indicators, tied to the customer experience and employee experience, which can be tracked to see the project impact over the next 12 months and beyond. Holding the team accountable for progress, recognizing trends, and capitalizing on areas of opportunity that arise are all part of accountability – and a truly effective strategy.
- Good Communication:
The ability to communicate the right material to the right people at the right time. Successful project managers have an ideal combination of abilities, including soft skills. Across entire teams, they can rally the troops and gain a following, while encouraging others to embrace positive change throughout the project lifecycle.
Good communication also includes continuously sharing inspiring content that keeps the entire organization CX obsessed. The project leader needs to be a CX resource. Examples include:
WARNING: Successful Project Managers Must Have Executive Support
Your project lead can rock all five characteristics, but they won’t be successful without Executive Sponsorship. Senior leadership can say they are committed to customer service, but their actions don’t lie. It is a proven fact that any big initiative, project, or the revolution must have the support of the executive team. Otherwise, it will be considered flavor-of-the-month or management-by-bestseller. To create long-lasting change, it is crucial that the senior executive team provide effective communication and the necessary resources.
For a project lead to reach their highest potential and a company to attain the level of customer service leader, both customer service and the initial customer service training must be as important to business leaders as finance, sales, operations, and technology.
The Wrap-up: How to Get and Keep Buy-in for Your CX Project
If you are a CX project lead, summarized here are best practices to ensure you keep your CX project top of mind and a priority with your senior leadership:
- Schedule regular meetings with the executive team to share with them your progress and challenges, new ideas, what you have learned, and your recommended action plan for implementation within the next 90 days
- Create 2-3 key performance indicators tied to your customer experience and employee experience; make them trackable to see the impact you are having over the next 12 months
- Create a small CX team, made up of different department leaders, that meets once a week, can help you workshop the exercises you learned, create the systems, launch to employees, and help with accountability and execution
Create a Customer Service Revolution
Being a CX project lead is exciting and can have a huge impact on your organization. Stay focused, be relentless and remember what a customer service revolution is:
“A radical overthrow of conventional business mentality designed to transform what employees & customers experience. This shift produces a culture that permeates into people’s personal lives, at home, and in the community which in turn provides the business with higher sales, morale, and brand loyalty – Making Price Irrelevant!”
START THE BUSINESS OF YOUR DREAMS AS A CX COACH
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