Integral Approach in Customer Experience

The Integral Approach is a philosophy originally developed by Ken Wilber that views everything from a holistic point of view — recognizing that there is a visible and an invisible part of any event or entity, as well as individual and collective components that describe that object’s relationship to an external world.
How to create an integral CX strategy in your company

We at Integria have applied the integral approach to Customer Experience and created a tool for CX practitioners called STRATEGIC MAPTM to help companies develop effective customer experience strategies.
You can read more about using integral approach to CX in the book Customer Experience 5 in the chapter written by Olga Guseva, Managing Partner of Integria Consult.
Below you’ll find a sequence of steps you can follow to create your own CX strategy based on integral approach.

Discover your current reality
Step 1. Customer level AS IS
Begin by discovering your existing reality. Look at the customer level and add to what you already know about your customers. Use Focusing Questions to understand the world of your customers — start by discovering what goes on in the customer’s mind, look at their thoughts, feelings, emotions, expectations and needs. Then move to the visible and describe who your customers are, how they behave, and how they interact with you as a company. Customer Journey Map could be a great source of insights for this part of the Strategic Map.

Step 2. Company level AS IS
Go down one line on the Strategic Map and add to what you already know about the company. Start with the company’s culture and the relationships it has developed with its customers — ask yourself if customers value the relationship with the company, think about the unspoken rules of interaction between the company and its customers. Again, use the Focusing Questions as a source of inspiration. Look at the relationship that customers can see and feel, and then look deeper — how do employees relate to customers when no one is listening? How do employees interact and treat each other?

Also look at the visible part and consider what tools, channels, and methods the company uses to interact with customers — the ones a customer can see — such as a website, mobile application, or contact center IVR — and the tools, technologies, and business processes that are hidden from the customer — such as internal scripts or a mobile application back-end. Look at all the processes the company uses to communicate and interact with customers and maintain that system, including KPIs, CX management system, organizational structure, and customer service standards.

Step 3. Employee level AS IS.
Now look at the employee level. Think about how the people in the company are feeling. Are they motivated, engaged and inspired, or tired, bored or disengaged? What are their thoughts, feelings, and emotions? Move on to describing who your people are and how they behave — how do they serve customers, what do they say/do to customers? Focusing Questions will help you here as well.

Envision the future
Step 4. Customer level TO BE
Use the same Focusing Questions to discuss with your team how you’d like your customers to feel and think when your CX strategy is implemented. Move on to describe your customers — who they are, what they do and how they behave?

Step 5. Company level TO BE
Keep dreaming and map out what the relationship with customers and between employees will look like when all your plans are fulfilled. Go on to describe the systems and tools that customers can see, and the tools, metrics, and processes that support them internally.

Step 6. Employee level TO BE
Finally, consider your employees. How do you want them feel and think? How would you like them to behave? What kind of people would you like to see in the team? Complete the TO BE map and look at employees at different levels: top management, middle management, front line employees.

Step 7. Watch the gaps. Look for opportinies and risks
After you have completed your AS IS and TO BE maps, look at the biggest gaps between them and consider what needs to be done to close those gaps. You can also focus on interdependencies or look for the biggest opportunities and biggest risks to identify the areas that need your attention. Make a list and get ready to prioritize.

Step 8. Select the important few and build the roadmap
Chances are you’ve listed a lot of activities — now it’s time to apply prioritization techniques and select the important few directions that will allow 20% of the activities to produce 80% of the results. Make sure you’ve looked at all sections of the Strategic Map and focus on the key activities rather than spreading your resources too thin.

Finally, translate the high-level directions into action plans with clear deadlines, responsibilities, and KPIs.

The power of integral approach is in the confidence that by going through this process we have considered all vital aspects and did not leave a single stone unturned. We’ve set up the foundation to make sure our CX strategy will fall into the happy 30% of CX initiatives that get implemented successfully.

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