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Is CX the Loneliest Profession?

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 02/28/2023
Is CX the Loneliest Profession?

My friend Dave Seaton’s recent CXPresso newsletter (highly recommended: you can get it at included the lead-in, “CX Is the Loneliest Profession.” I’ve written similar posts in the past. Through our interviews with hundreds of CX leaders, we heard that same theme: being in a small team, the job can get lonely. You don’t have dozens of peers as you do in marketing or operations; it always feels like you’re on your own. I previously saw Dave post a similar concept on LinkedIn.

Two weeks ago, we held a CX Fellowship offsite with six advanced CX leaders. After seeing Dave’s LinkedIn post, I asked them about being lonely. To my surprise, they all said they didn’t feel lonely at all. And that caught me by surprise. Why not?

As I talked with them, the reasoning hit me. It involves linking the two findings from our research.

  1. Most CX leaders are Hopefuls. Meaning, they may be doing good work, but they can’t show that their work creates an outcome where customers want to spend more, stay longer, and interact in ways less expensive to serve. As a result, they end up in a silo of their own, disconnected from the rest of the business.
  2. Many CX leaders are lonely.

Contrast that with the members of our CX Fellowship:

  1. These are some of the best of the best – people I personally picked to be part of this Fellowship because I knew I could learn from them. They link their work to financial outcomes and regularly meet with their peers to help build a customer-focused strategy.
  2. None of them are lonely. In fact, they were surprised at the question!

I see a pretty straightforward story here!

Another story can illustrate this well. I spoke with a VP recently, and we discussed conducting stakeholder interviews. I told him one goal of the interviews was to see whether they considered this VP and his work an essential input to their decision-making. He interrupted me, “There’s no need to do that. I can tell you they aren’t.”

I didn’t ask him if he was lonely (that wouldn’t have gone well!), but I suspect he is.

The arrow of causation is pretty straightforward. The first step to creating impact is forming relationships with your business peers. Take them out for coffee. Pick their brain to learn their challenges. This will help you understand their needs, so you can craft your work to help them solve their problems. And at the same time, it can create a friend you can partner with.

That’s a pretty good return on a cup of coffee!

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