What's in a Name?

Have you ever been in a discussion with colleagues when the question is asked, “Who owns the customer in our organization?”.  Or better still, “Who owns the customer experience?”  I know I have been all too frequently.  The noble and perhaps expected answer is “everyone does”. To which I respond, if everyone does, then no one does!  Of course, there is truth in the “everyone does” response - all of us do have a role in delivering an exceptional experience to our customers.  Many functions within an organization don’t believe they have responsibility because they don’t directly touch the customer.  As we know all functions have some role in the end-to-end customer experience. 

There is one function that plays an important role in managing the customer’s journey in organizations, that of the customer experience professional.  I’ll admit that as of late, the title customer experience professional has been bestowed on many different roles within an organization.  The reverse is not true – we aren’t all called salespeople or marketers or financial planners regardless of our role, are we?  

What’s in a Name? The CX professionals have titles like Customer Insights Analysts; Voice of the Customer Program Manager; VPs, Directors, Managers of Customer Experience; Directors of Market Research; Member or Patient Experience Leader; Employee Experience Adviser, CXO and CX Evangelist to name a few.   

As professionals we are passionate about our roles and responsibilities.  We are always in the hunt for new knowledge, fresh perspectives, the latest trends, recent research studies and the latest experiences of our colleagues.  We are committed to the pursuit and ongoing learning of these six CX core competencies*:

  1. Customer-Centric Culture

  2. Voice of the Customer, Customer Insight, and Understanding

  3. Organizational Adoption and Accountability

  4. Customer Experience Strategy

  5. Experience Design, Improvement, and Innovation

  6. Metrics, Measurement, and ROI

Imagine my excitement, while writing this blog, when I received a notice from LinkedIn that 10,347 jobs for Customer Experience professionals were available in the United States! Then, imagine my disappointment when I discovered many were not for the positions I describe above. 

I’m not complaining that these opportunities are focused on the customer experience – quite the opposite – I’m excited that we are seeing this long overdue focus.  However, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that there is a true customer experience professional role just as there is a CMO, CFO or COO role in an organization. This is a role, like many, achieved through education, experience, trial and error, certification (think CCXP!) and hours of commitment and hard work.  These dedicated professionals work together with other functions in an organization (sales, marketing, customer service, operations, manufacturing, finance, human resources) to help create the types of experiences aligned to their customers’ expectations.  Unfortunately, many organizations lack this dedicated CX professional resource or worse yet, have one that operates without the support necessary to be successful. 

What’s in a name? Recognizing this role as an integral part of an organization’s leadership will create laser-like focus on and commitment to both the customer and the employee experience.  Recruiting candidates with the CX competencies mentioned above will advance the profession and affirm its necessity. 

If you’re a CX professional, and haven’t done so already, join over 4000 of your colleagues in the CXPA.  Check out our resources, job boards and member to member sharing.  Educational opportunities abound at universities like Rutgers CEM mini-MBA, online courses and webinars. 

What’s in a name?  One final thought.  Let’s agree that we are ALL CX practitioners whether we work in a company, an organization, a research firm, an independent consultant or for a vendor or supplier to the industry.  Together, we are a community of like-minded professionals seeking to improve the customer experience. 

*as identified by the CXPA

Robert Azman