Make the CFO Your BFF for Improved Customer Experience

By Roy Barnes, Bob Kelleher

Who should you enlist to support your customer experience efforts? Simple. The chief financial officer (CFO). Nobody likes the CFO. After all, the CFO’s very job is to shoot down hare-brained ideas generated by people like you. But they’re not bad people; they just require you to prove the return on investment for any idea you propose.

No one — especially not your CFO — is going to take it “on faith” that improving customer experience will deliver better financial results for your organization. To get your CFO onboard, you must put together a logical, reasoned, coherent, and quantifiable business case for investment in customer experience. Think of your CFO as a venture capitalist. You have to tell her a compelling story, and you must have the numbers to back up your ideas.

As noted by John Kenneth Galbraith, who was an economist, author, Harvard professor, and diplomat, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”

That means convincing the CFO — or anyone else — of the value of customer experience won’t be easy. To help you, the following sections outline some key points you’ll want to make in your business case.

Try to involve your CFO and her team in your plan to improve customer experience as early as possible. To get them invested in the outcome, ask for their input and advice up front. You want to work with them, not against them!