The Challenge in Mapping CX Careers

Author Bio

Author Bio

Customer Experience (CX) careers are a hot topic, in part because they are difficult to map. The first and second blogs in this series have produced many great questions from those wanting to enter the field from other professions, or even related fields. For entry-level positions, which may be mid-level in CX, nothing replaces doing the work. Educate yourself, yes, but also get your hands on something—create a CX program, using whatever tools you have—on a pro bono basis for a charity or small business. Nothing beats direct consulting experience if you have skill and will. I have an entire CX program mapped (in my head) for my salon—now if only I had time to deliver it!

When it comes to more strategic, management-level positions (vs. front-line delivery of great experiences), all the same advice for finding any mid-level or higher career role applies, with a good dose of story-telling ability.  One must weave together job skills that show the ability to collect insight through multiple methods to identify and change experiences that connect to business goals. Tim McCleary, of The Improvement Practice, advocates “change activation” skills, necessary to ensure that customer experience is a vital practice within any company.

In Customer Experience, however, you need to know your end game going in. As I mentioned in the second post of this series, being successful in CX isn’t about setting up programs. CX isn’t a program or an initiative, and if you settle for that, you may never get out of that box. Challenge any future employer with an executive litmus test: is CX embraced in more than word by the CEO? Is there a CXO/CCO or someone on the leadership team to carry the flag? If not, a few strong leaders in business units can also be advocates that make a difference, as long as they understand that your role as a CX practitioner is to influence and help them to adapt and improve the current experience according to your brand—even if it means “disrupting” Business As Usual.

This may be hard to hear, but a CX job where you don’t feel you’re making a difference isn’t worth sticking with long-term. You must show results, and even if you aren’t producing them yourself, it is your job to make them possible and tell the story. Own that, and find out how to connect your programs to revenue, retention or cost reduction. Do the math, figure out the linkages and you’ll soon deliver impact. 

Shelly Chandler is a 2017 CXPA Impact Award winner, known for contributing, mentoring and helping the profession to grow.