Customer Experience Careers & Professional Growth

Confirmit Team

Confirmit Team

Author Bio

Confirmit’s dedicated teams work to deliver world-leading customer experience, Voice of the Employee and Market Research solutions. 

Author Bio

As a Customer Experience professional, do you find yourself struggling to show real results and tangible business outcomes? After roughly twenty years as a discrete discipline, Customer Experience (CX) is still a difficult career in which to demonstrate business value. Many in the field are absolutely committed to the profession and to the mission of improving customer and employee experience. But from a career perspective, where has it gotten them?

I’ll explore this question in a series of blog posts as this is a subject close to my heart. As a marketer/product manager turned CX professional 12 years ago, I’ve slogged through the trenches and looked in from the outside as well. It is important to examine this issue openly, as CX programs continue to “run out of runway” in making a difference in their organizations, and thus in CX professionals’ success.

Preparation for a Career in CX

First, how does one prepare to be successful in CX? Are there educational programs and degrees for CX? Are there entry level positions or do you grow into CX roles?

I researched this in my Master’s thesis a few years ago: there were no undergraduate degrees in customer experience at that time (2012), and a quick search shows me that not much has changed in 2017. Drexel, Pace and University of Wisconsin and numerous other brick-and-mortar and online schools offer bachelor’s degrees in customer service management, a component of CX but certainly very different from the field overall. DePaul, Rutgers and several others offer customer service management certificates.

General CX certifications in have been around for several years, usually offered by CX industry providers and most notably the Customer Experience Professionals Association which now boasts hundreds of Certified Customer Experience Professionals.

Stanford offers a course through their corporate innovation certification program on CX design and design thinking, another worthy avenue to CX, but not the whole discipline. Rutgers offers a CX Certificate program through its Center for Innovation Education, featuring CX luminaries including Lior Arussy, Jeanne Bliss, Carol Buehrens (faculty chair) and many other authors, practitioners and providers ( Arizona State University has a similar program.

Many MBA programs offer CX classes and concentrations now—that list has grown significantly in recent years. IE School of Human Sciences & Technology in Madrid offers a Masters in Customer Experience and Innovation.

But try a Google search for customer experience degrees, and you will need to dig to find what I did, demonstrating that the field has not yet matured to the point—or made enough impact upon business outcomes—to lead to higher education investments in CX curriculum.

For students considering careers in CX, the options are still limited for the most part to adjacent degrees such as Marketing, Research and Analysis, Design, Process Improvement, Customer Service or Business. Many CX professionals have grown into CX from those fields, and the combination of working in those areas is what makes for the strongest CX practitioners. Certification programs can provide a great base of knowledge for business professionals who want to switch to or sharpen their CX skills. More on that in my next post. But until then, I’d love to hear from others who may know of undergrad and graduate degrees in CX specifically, as my search was not exhaustive. If the answers are few, we’ve got some work to do in the industry!