3 Leadership Buzzwords that Exist for the Best Reasons

by Jeannie Walters

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Thanks to a fun report from CCW, Customer Contact Week, and some clever customer experience pros (and prose – ha ha,) there is a discussion around leadership buzzwords we should have.

According to the report, the list of buzzwords is growing.

And I agree. Leaders toss around terms like “engagement” and “transformation” in ways that make those terms seem less important than they are. We aim for an exceptional “journey” for our customers but are only referring to marketing. We ask ourselves if our “culture” is really living up to a customer-centric experience but we don’t do anything more about it.

My esteemed colleagues in the report declared the three words that matter most to them – to dispel the idea of these words as purely buzz. I loved their answers, and thought I’d throw in a few of my own.

(Don’t forget to read the full report! You can download it here.)

leadership buzzwords

My three words from this list that I feel are most meaningful for an exceptional customer experience don’t include experience. Is that odd? Probably, but I’m doing it anyway!

My 3 buzzwords:

  1. Engagement
  2. Culture
  3. Transformation

Here’s why.


To become a truly customer-centric organization, engagement is not only critical, but it’s costly if it’s not there. Not engaging employees is like not putting fuel in your car and wondering why it’s not working. Leaders must engage employees to deliver a great experience.

Engagement means connecting their daily duties with the bigger vision, every day. It means internalizing what promises were made to customers and then living up to those promises.

Engaging customers means connecting with them emotionally. It means creating a real relationship that improves their loyalty and increases their positive feelings. It means building a customer experience WITH your customers, not just for them.

leadership buzzwords


Culture is so much more than a buzzword! It impacts everything you do, from who you hire to what you create.

If your culture is one of chasing monthly sales goals and rewarding only those top performers in the front of the customer’s journey, it’s impossible to walk the talk of “we care about customers.” If your culture oppresses the truth because employees don’t want to get in trouble for speaking up about issues they see, then your customers will live with increased effort and pain that is never addressed.

A customer-centric culture is where innovation and imagination around the customer experience live.

[Tweet “”…culture is where innovation and imagination around the customer experience live.” @jeanniecw”]


And, yes, perhaps the winning buzzword for 2018, transformation, made it to my top 3, as well.

Why? Because doing business today is unlike doing business in the past. Loyalty is not granted generationally based on what brands our parents used. Instead, loyalty must be earned with each and every interaction.

Every touchpoint, every service response, every communication, must be representative of an amazing experience. Transformation is simply a MUST for most organizations today. They must transform not only how they do business, but WHY. They must transform their experience both inside and out.

leadership buzzwords

Buzzwords can be annoying, yes. But they become leadership buzzwords because a bunch of us realize they’re necessary! These buzzwords have power behind them. You just have to look beyond the buzz to see what they’re really trying to say.

Customer Contact Week

I’m really excited to be a part of Customer Contact Week as they celebrate 20 years in 2019! This January, I’ll be sharing my trademarked approach to creating a Customer Experience Mission as part of an amazing lineup of expert sessions.

Join me and 550+ Customer Contact and Customer Experience executives in Nashville for CCW Nashville 2019. Get the full agenda here!

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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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