Why Most CX Change Initiatives Fail and How to Avoid Them

Investing in CX change initiatives can significantly increase revenue, as most customers are willing to pay more for a great experience, if it’s done right. 

According to a Walker study, customer experience (CX) will surpass price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of this year.  

However, CX change initiatives have a high failure percentage.  An unsuccessful change initiative does not only hurt the business’s finances but also its brand, morale, and market opportunities. 

Why Do These Initiatives Fail?

One of the main reasons business transformation fails is “change fatigue.” These transformations are characterized by too many change initiatives outlined without prioritization. This leaves individuals or teams feeling indifferent towards the new changes, not to mention that most people are resistant to change in the first place. 

Another reason is that leaders or those on top are the only ones who dictate what should change without providing enough background and reason. In turn, frontliners are left to question the necessity and validity of these changes. 

Communicating your plans and implementing training are not enough to engage your employees in the CX change initiative and transition your company to a new place. 

Change doesn’t happen overnight.  

A CX initiative requires tremendous effort and patience. CX leaders must also understand that they need to involve and unify all departments in the process of improving customers’ lives.

How to Make Sure Your CX Change Initiative Is Successful and Sustainable


When planning your CX experience program, everyone in your company should be involved in some way. Each person should feel that their voice counts. One common strategy is to mix up members of different departments to create teams that collaborate on providing input about the program and asking leadership to acknowledge the importance of each team’s efforts.

One successful CX change initiative story is that of a US airport where they came up with a shared customer experience vision by including everyone. They determined that for a successful initiative…

  • Employees should know how serious the management is about the change.
  • Frontline leaders should be involved in the change.
  • Everyone must see the progress in the metrics and feel like they’re part of it.
  • Mixed teams should work to come up with new ideas.

It is also important to gather feedback from employees before, during and after the implementation of the program for alerts of any potential problems and to ensure everyone’s responsibility is reinforced to build better experiences collectively.

Establish Understanding and Set an Example

Change is difficult even in the most favorable conditions.  As a result, leaders need to help employees understand why the change is needed.  Managers should also motivate people to move from the current to a future state. 

People are always evolving, and employees often need convincing when there’s a proposed change within their organization. 

The leaders, including the CEOs, executive leadership teams and the middle managers, need to start acting in different ways that are visible to the rest of the organization. 

Before managers can ask their team to do things in a certain way, they will need to see those things from the rest of their team’s perspective.

Share Initial Wins 

Nothing motivates people more than a taste of success. 

Create short-term targets and celebrate those victories often. Further, by focusing on these short-term targets early, companies can build morale with their employees that result in alignment with long-term success based on the planned changes for the future. Sharing early wins can help overcome the negative impacts of critics and pessimists that can impact your progress.

Aside from hitting short-term targets, you can share CX success stories. Do not forget to include them in your communications like newsletters, emails and videos. You can also motivate people by rewarding them for meeting targets goals, which will be specific to each company.

Address Issues About Adoption Early On

When you implement any kind of change, expect resistance. This is why you need change management: If there are people in your company resisting the change, understand why they feel that way. 

Don’t let it sit.

Upon determining reasoning behind the resistance, address it right away. Disengaged employees will slow the progress of the program, so re-engage them. Show them how CX is important by helping them understand and adapt through training and education about the changes ahead.

Employee engagement is crucial to any CX initiative. One great example of how a company’s treatment toward its employees made a difference to provide great customer experience is what Southwest Airlines did for its customers by focusing on its employees first.

According to Herb Kelleher, the co-founder of Southwest Airlines, “If the employees come first, then they’re happy. A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy so they keep coming back, which pleases the shareholders.”

Build On Change and Anchor It to Corporate Culture

To ensure the success and sustainability of a CX change initiative, you must build on the change, according to Kotter’s 8-step change model. This model discusses continuing vision communication, goal setting and new idea generation.

Lastly, ensure that the change sticks and becomes part of the core of your organization. The change must be seen in every aspect of your organization. Incorporate it into procedures, operating models and employees’ day-to-day work. 

Bringing customer-centric culture into an organization is more than just changing your process. It goes deeper and requires change in attitude. It needs a unified effort to make customers a core organizational value that guides behaviors and decision-making.

May this serve as a message of hope that being human may very well be the best silver lining to all of our current vicissitudes.

In love and respect,


Founder & CEO, Corna Partners



Hilary Corna

Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Podcast Host, Founder of the Human Way ™...

Hilary’s favorite title is HUMAN.


I am starting a revolution. One business and one person at a time.



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