A Wonkish Look at Hiring a CX Leader

I’m pretty sure I’m going to take some flak for my recommendations, but today I want to talk about what it takes to be a successful customer experience leader, and how to hire the right person for the role.

Before I get into our findings, let’s stop by my bookshelf…

There you’ll find Outliers from Malcolm Gladwell, which popularized the 10,000-hour rule. That’s Gladwell’s contention that to be successful in a domain, you need 10,000 hours of dedicated practice. Read more

A Wonkish Look at First-Principles Thinking

I’ve been thinking lately about why we measure things like, for example, Net Promoter Score (NPS).

What are we actually doing?

These thoughts are prompted by Reid Hoffman’s great new book, Masters of Scale. (In addition to writing books and hosting a podcast, Hoffman is the co-founder of LinkedIn and serves on the boards of Microsoft and PayPal, among others.) Read more

CX Is Complicated, Not Complex

The Cynefin framework, developed more than 20 years ago by researcher and management consultant David Snowden, remains a solid context for strategic decision-making.

It helps categorize business issues, enabling you to respond more effectively…and in the process, create a successful, science-based approach to improving customer loyalty.

The framework defines five states:

  • Simple (aka Obvious, Clear) Marked by repeating cause-and-effect patterns and consistent events that represent “known knowns.”
  • Complicated Representing “unknown knowns” and requiring some effort and expertise to reveal cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Complex The “unknown unknowns” marked by flux and unpredictability.
  • Chaotic High turbulence with no clear cause-and-effect connections, requiring urgent action to establish order.
  • Disorder Comprising a domain of shifting, unknowable states with no clarity.

Read more

Execs: It’s Time to Raise Your Expectations!

As I wrote previously, the jostling in the customer experience (CX) technology marketplace over the summer saw Kitewheel purchased by CSG, Usermind purchased by Qualtrics, and Medallia taken private by Thoma Bravo. Then Qualtrics bought Clarabridge, too.

Earlier this month, Genesys acquired Pointillist and Exceed.ai.

And there’s likely more to come.

All that activity might have escaped your notice, but that doesn’t mean you’ll escape the ramifications.

So what do these developments mean for you? Opportunity, if you play your cards right; danger, if you sit out this hand. Read more

10 Questions for B2B2C CX Leaders

This is the third in a three-part series that explores critical questions CX leaders should be asking – and able to answer. There is some overlap between issues and questions for B2C and B2B (covered previously) and B2B2C (covered here), but I’ve chosen to address each audience individually.

B2B2C experiences, such as those offered by insurance companies, are the most complex experiences to manage.

Not only do you need to win the loyalty of your distribution partners (such as agents), you also need to create an outstanding – but distinct – experience for your end customers, whose needs and goals are entirely different. Read more

10 Questions for B2B CX Leaders

This is the second in a three-part series that explores critical questions CX leaders should be asking – and able to answer. There’s some overlap between B2C, B2B, and B2B2C issues, but I want to address each audience individually. Last week, I covered B2C; next week I’ll address B2B2C leaders.

I’ve talked with hundreds of B2B leaders over the years and found, like B2C leaders, they also often seem to have little knowledge about the health of the business, and how executives measure and monitor it.

Below are ten questions (plus one freebie, because we’re always about adding value!) that you need to be able to answer – and reference – for your CX program to create real business impact. Read more

10 Questions for B2C CX Leaders

This is the first in a three-part series that explores critical questions CX leaders should be asking – and able to answer. There will be some overlap between B2C, B2B, and B2B2C issues, but I want to address each audience individually, starting here with B2C. Next week, I address B2B leaders.

One thing I’ve noticed over years of talking with hundreds of CX leaders is that their level of success usually corresponds to their level of knowledge about the health of the business.

Simply put, business leaders speak in business metrics, while CX leaders – the unsuccessful ones, that is – speak in survey scores. When I talk to one of the rare successful CX leaders, I find their vocabulary is much more aligned with other organization leaders, covering issues such as customer loyalty and share of wallet. Read more

Your Next CX Hire…Shouldn’t Be a CX Hire

As we interviewed hundreds of customer experience professionals across scores of organizations for our research initiative last year, we looked for what indicated the ability to drive impact.

We’ve documented the top items a few times in the past: linking everything to business value, understanding the technology and data, measuring and improving emotions, and using change management. Read more

Three Ways to Make Your Case

“We’ve all seen those studies where it says a one-point increase of CSAT equals this revenue, but to a Commercial Officer, a CEO, or a CFO, this doesn’t sound real. So it doesn’t put CX in a credible position. We need to prove this based on our own data: ‘These are the scores for the past year, and this is the revenue or the growth in revenue and the growth and shipments for these exact countries. And this is what it looks like. This is the correlation between the revenue and customer satisfaction and NPS.’” – 2020 interview participant

I bet that like me, you love to read research that shows that CX pays. Luckily for both of us, there’s plenty of industry data on the topic. The most compelling is Watermark Consulting’s tracking of stock prices. Read more

CX Needs Change Management

You probably moved into customer experience (CX) because of a passion for customers. You chose this space because you know that if you can improve customers’ experiences with your company, they will be happier, they’ll stay with you longer, and both the business and your customers will prosper.

But actually improving the experience is hard.

If you’re like most of the CX professionals we interviewed last year, the reality has hit you that it’s incredibly difficult to move your silos enough to substantially improve the customer experience. That’s where change management, the missing element in most CX programs, comes in. Read more