There is a revolution happening and I’m pretty excited about it.
Organizations of all kinds are creating Customer Experience executive positions. They’re realizing investing in the overall experience of your customers generates outstanding business results.
We are barely at the dawn of the customer experience revolution, and yet, many people are becoming experts! That’s great!
Organizations need leaders who care about customers to deliver great experiences. These leaders can certainly be the ones with the fancy titles like CXO or CCO, but they are often people with totally unrelated titles who have a passion for making things great. I’ve seen plenty of Marketing, HR and Technology leaders who have made astounding improvements in the experiences they create for customers.
Customer experience leaders smoke the competition.
According to Watermark Consulting, for a five year return, those companies considered customer experience Leaders outperformed their competitors in general, but a whopping 128% better than those companies identified as customer experience Laggards by Forrester.
There are plenty of reasons to care about your customer’s experience, and even more reasons to want to join the leaders at the forefront of this movement!
To be a leader in the fast-paced and changing world we inhabit, you will need to:
- Understand why it’s vital to join the customer experience leaders in today’s business world.
- Become a part of community discussions that help you excel in your industry.
- View the customer experience through different lenses.
- Tap into the same resources customer experience leaders use to stay current.
- Get recognized as a leader on the forefront of customer experience improvement.
But how can YOU really do it?
As a true champion for customers, you must have resolve and determination, not to mention some education. The passion is a start, but information and knowledge will help you get a lot farther. Here are some ways you can educate and empower yourself and awaken the customer experience champion within you.
1. Read up!
There are now zillions of books (that’s a lot) focusing on customer experience. Some are better than others, but there are several I consider must-reads. Here are just a few to get started.
- The Ultimate Question by Fred Reicheld
- Why We Buy by Paco Underhill
- Creating Customer Evangelists by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell
- All Customers Are Irrational by William Cusick (disclosure: Bill’s my brother, but it’s still a good book!)
Want more? Feel free to ask in the comments!
This seems so obvious, but really start paying attention to the experiences you have as a customer. What made it great or infuriating? What could have worked better?
Start collecting these observations as you see them and really pay attention to how events or situations made you feel as a customer. Then turn the lens around and consider WHY a company might be organized that way. You’ll get tons of ideas if you start considering ways to improve that scenario!
3. Join us!
There are plenty of groups on LinkedIn focused on customer experience, and some of them are great and some of them are not-so-great. The ones I find most interesting are the industry-specific ones.
If you are focusing on customer-centric leadership for a bank, that’s very different from an independent bookstore. Finding your industry will inspire you.
4. Stay current.
I love blogs because they tackle topics in a timely way. Our blog at 360Connext is of course a good place to start, but I also follow blogs focused on retail, metrics, customer service, and more.
5. Get certified.
If you are serious about becoming a customer experience professional, then the Customer Experience Professionals Association is the place for you. This community of CX pros from around the globe provides tons of resources, educational opportunities, conferences, and more.
There is now a special certification for people who know their stuff well enough to test it. The Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) certification process involves a test covering many areas of customer experience and then committing to continuing education. It’s a really great step forward in this evolving world.
I recently took stock of some of the ways I stay current and decided to test my skills by getting my CCXP certification. It’s easy to go through the day-to-day in any role and neglect the learning we all need. We forget what we know and don’t know. Brushing up on my skills using the books and resources here helped me pass my test and inspire me to keep learning more on a regular basis.
Whether or not your title says it, your leadership is vital! Your customers are depending you to care about their experiences and make them great. I’ve seen lots of leaders who know one thing really well, but never take the time to study up on other topics to support the best outcome. Take a minute to dive in and keep learning. What would you add to this list? How do you think leaders can go pro?