3 Approaches to Customer Experience Change Management

What is change management, why is it important for your business and how can you get started with it today?


In my last article, I wrote about the need for customer experience professionals to not only build the business case for improvements but also to help executives prioritize those improvement opportunities. I shared five tools to use to help make decisions and establish priorities. Now what?

Once priorities have been set and decisions have been made about which changes to make, the next question I am often asked is, “What change management approach or model shall we use? Kotter or ADKAR?” Or, what about the customer experience change management approach I propose? Learn about all three approaches in this article — and then you decide.

What Is Change Management?

Prosci, the company behind ADKAR, defined it as: “the application of a structured process and set of tools for leading the people side of change to achieve a desired outcome. We apply change management by helping individuals impacted by a change make the successful personal transitions that enable them to engage, adopt and use a change.”

Kotter defined change management as the “set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control. The goal is often to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change.”

Related Article: How to Ace Customer Experience Leadership in Year 1

What Is Customer Experience Management?

I’ve often considered customer experience management to be a change management process, in and of itself. What is customer experience management? Gartner defined it as “the discipline of understanding customers and deploying strategic plans that enable cross-functional efforts and customer-centric culture to improve satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.”

Guess what? You can’t deploy those strategic plans without some sort of framework or process to ensure that you’ll bring the entire organization along to achieve the desired outcomes. Might as well just call it customer experience change management.

More on that in a bit. Back to Kotter and ADKAR.

Kotter has started to evolve their language from change management to change leadership, which focuses on “the driving forces, vision, and processes that fuel large-scale transformation.” Their 8-Step Process for Leading Change includes the following steps (including some modified descriptions of what each entails):

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