3 Big Themes from the Most Dedicated CX Experts in the World

by Jeannie Walters

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The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) 2018 Insight Exchange offered CX experts and professionals of all kinds, various titles and comfort levels a few days to learn, connect and get inspired.

I was there among them, wearing my CXPA volunteer hat and announcing some exciting things for their 60+ local networks. But per usual, I was learning from and with my peers. It’s one of my favorite events because it’s unique in its approach – everyone is there to learn from each other. We’re all CX experts and we know we can learn from the other CX experts in the room!

So after countless conversations and lots of note-taking, here are a few themes I believe are worth sharing.

1. Leadership is starting to catch up, but their understanding of CX varies greatly!

Organizational leadership is beginning to realize that CX requires investment. Unfortunately, they still aren’t necessarily understanding the return. In several conversations, I’ve heard how CX teams were shrinking, or getting the wrong kind of attention.

My peers in corporate life report to the Chief Marketing Officer, or they fall under the market research branch. They rarely have full visibility into the customer journey. Instead, they end up helping each department or task force understand HOW to map their own journey. While these actions have value, leaders still keep them siloed. They treat them as one-off projects which don’t have a clear link to overall business goals.

CX Leadership

However, some leaders are becoming CX Experts.

They’re building impressive teams of CX pros who can support one another and the rest of the organization. It’s not unusual to hear someone gush about the leaders who do get it. They’re building frameworks to hold leaders accountable for their specific part of the journey. They’re focusing on root cause analysis to ensure the molehills don’t become mountains. And by educating throughout the organization, they’re helping teams collaborate to break down the silos.

It’s inspiring!

2. Cultural transformation is never easy.

Turning a traditional business into a customer-focused culture won’t happen overnight, regardless of how much you wish it would! The long, painful process of turning the idea of customer-centricity into a reality was a consistent drumbeat.

In most organizations, CX cultural transformation includes so many moving parts, there’s no way to speed things up. Consider how much time is dedicated to getting buy-in from the leadership. Consider how training has to be rolled out in many ways and with many layers. Processes and feedback mechanisms must be set up or re-calibrated. Bridges between teams to change things must be built from a history of a lack of trust, in many cases…it goes on and on and on.

So turning the idea of CX into the reality of business outcomes can take months, or more likely, years. This means leaders must have some faith and be willing to invest in a long-term strategy. Not for the faint of heart!

CX Experts
CXPA Executive Director Lesley Lykins was on duty in Afghanistan but still found ways to join us for the Insight Exchange. Now THAT is what I call CX Dedication!

3. Digital transformation and CX go hand in hand.

There’s no part of the journey where tech doesn’t have a dramatic impact, good or bad, for the customer. Ensuring there is a clear strategy around digital transformation is half the battle. The other half is making sure that strategy includes customers.

Those who believe digital transformation is about the company are missing the best part – customers WANT this transformation. They want all the gifts of convenience and trust it will bring to them. Those leading the digital charge must connect to CX leaders who can collaborate with them.

And the conversations continue…

Of course, there were a lot more insights and hallway conversations that made me think differently. But these themes seem to be the ones that came up with both a sense of excitement and anxiety.

So how will you get your leadership to understand? How will you ever really change your culture? And how will you create a winning digital transformation strategy for and on behalf of your customers?

These are the challenges of today that will define customer experience tomorrow. Are you asking the right questions at your organization?

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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