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What Kind of Customer Experience Leader Do You Need to Be?

The job descriptions for a customer experience leader vary between tactical analyst and strategic overlord.

Defining just what a customer experience leader does can be tricky. But what’s even trickier is when you may not have customer experience or customer insights in your title. Maybe you’re a survey pro or a journey mapping guide, but only when your regular duties allow.

Being a customer-focused leader is a tall order.

…with or without the fancy title and proper job duties. So how can you lead by example to make the experience better for your customers, regardless of where you are on the org chart?

Decide what type of leader you want to be!

1. The “Lead by Example” Customer Experience Leader

This role fits if you feel you’re on your own, trying to educate the masses about the gaps in your customer experience and how to fill them. You must get others on board by showing them the way.

Lead with data on why customer experience is important. Lead by sharing feedback from customers any way you can, and reinforce the importance of that feedback in every meeting. When you are asked about a design or an idea, ask the presenter what customers will think. Did we find out? What will we do to make sure they really like it?

customer experience leader

Leading by example means extra preparation and never taking comfort in the status quo. It can be uncomfortable but also incredibly effective in changing a culture from the inside-out.

If you are this kind of customer experience leader, then you need to get comfortable being repetitive and patient. You need diligence and persistence in this type of leadership.

2. The “Big Idea” CX Leader

There is something powerful and magical about getting a group on board with the BIG idea. It can be a Herculean feat in some organizations, who are so focused on the daily dashboards and monthly reporting their eyes are never beyond the details.

The Big Idea Leader takes those small moments of reviewing a dashboard and asks big questions. What do you think would happen if we offered an unlimited product offering? Would our Customer Lifetime Value go up? Then how can we test it and find out?

customer experience leader

Leaders who feel like the only movement is small may want to try on the Big Idea leader practices for a while. Once you start seeing OTHERS think big and act on those big ideas, you know you’re making a difference.

3. The “Data-Centric” CX Leader

These leaders seem to be in high demand, based on the job descriptions I’m seeing. But the irony, of course, is that the very places that want these types of leaders often already live in a data-centric culture.

The need is there in organizations who can’t quite put a finger on why customer experience matters. The nay-sayers asking “is it worth it?” don’t see any evidence that it actually benefits the organization.

customer experience leader

This leader is necessary to share the real results of customer experience efforts. Data can help tell the story in real results for your business. Don’t focus on just data, but it’s important to understand and share its value.

The best CX leaders are ready to lead in each of these ways.

Based on what’s needed, what changes are on the horizon and who needs convincing, the best leaders use these skills and traits to share the stories that matter.

Are you ready to lead in a multi-faceted way? Whether or not your title reflects it, your customers need you to be a leader!

This post was written for, and a version originally appeared on the Clicktools blog.

About Jeannie Walters, CCXP, CSP

Jeannie Walters CCXP CSP small square photoJeannie is an award-winning customer experience expert, international keynote speaker, and sought-after business coach who is trailblazing the movement from “Reactive Customer Service” to “Proactive Customer and Employee Experience.” More than 500,000 people have learned from her CX courses on LinkedIn Learning, and her insights have been featured in Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and NPR

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