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CX And the Budget Process

You can maximize the effectiveness of your Customer Experience (CX) program by linking CX with your organization's annual budget process. The budget process is a place where tradeoffs are considered and decisions made that have a huge impact on the customer experience. Make sure that customer voices have a role in that process and budget decisions are aligned with the results of your Customer Experience surveys. Likewise for both operating and capital budget decisions.

double arrow pointing to the words CX and Budget

One factor to consider is timing. Meet with your organization's budget leadership and go over the budget development calendar. Then build a CX integration proposal that fits into that calendar. Schedule your CX activities, such as development of a comprehensive CX plan, in sync with the budget calendar, and make sure you deliver the CX components on time so it can fold into budget decisions.

Lay out some options for your leadership on how to best tie CX and budget together:

  • What CX data can be used to provide an objective basis for making budget decisions? Have you conducted a comprehensive Customer Experience Survey of riders?

  • Should departments be asked to prepare budget white papers that recommend investments to address top CX pain points? If so, when in the process would this take place?

  • How will budget options be evaluated from a CX perspective, and what support can the CX team provide to that process?

woman looking at generic financial info on her desk

Another factor to consider is where to allocate CX improvement funds. Should the CX funds be allocated to individual departments responsible for delivering CX improvements, or should the CX funds be allocated to the CX Department, which in turn would disburse funds to the other departments based on their cash flow needs. There are a couple of advantages to the latter approach:

  1. If CX improvements run into obstacles and delays, it allows the CX Department to reallocate the funds to other CX improvements that are ready to go. Given the many hurdles that can face CX improvement schedules - technology development, procurements, labor discussions, hiring processes, etc, being able to flexibly reallocate funds can help your agency deliver more CX improvements, faster.

  2. The other advantage to depositing the funds in the CX Department is that it tends to empower CX staff. With budgets in hand, the CX team is able to bring money to the table when collaborating with other departments to find CX solutions to emerging pain points. This tends to lubricate the process and make it go more smoothly.

There are situations, however, where CX funds should be allocated directly to the departments responsible for delivering CX improvements. That could be the better option when there is a high level of confidence the improvements can be delivered on time, and if the funds will be needed on an ongoing basis to support for example labor costs to expand cleaning activities. One potential rule of thumb might be to allocate funds to the CX Department for one-time improvements or pilot programs, while allocating funds directly to the responsible departments for ongoing improvements.

A strong CX/Budget link is essential when there are funds available to invest in CX improvements, but equally important when budgets are tight and cutbacks have to be made that might impact your customers. Make sure any cuts do not impact top customer priorities revealed by surveys, and wherever possible work with others to identify efficiencies to balance the budget rather than doing it on the backs of your customers.

In summary, there is nothing more important to CX success than linking the CX program to your budget processes. Budget gives CX power and impact. Put this near the top of your list when developing a comprehensive CX program for your agency.


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