Nitty-Gritty CX Truths

You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but those in customer experience can have a rough go of it. 

You’re typically a small group – that is, when it’s not just you by your lonesome! – and you’re tasked with influencing the entire organization. That results in a different type of role, and there are some facets to that reality that you just don’t see talked about very often.  

So let’s go there: 

Hard Truth #1: Nobody really gets what you do  

On a given day you might be analyzing survey feedback, talking with customers, providing training on customer needs, and meeting with executives on how to improve customer loyalty.  

It’s all important, but it can also be – or at least, seem – very scattered.  

Raise your hand if, after you’ve explained your job, you didn’t have somebody ask if you work in a call center! I know my mom didn’t understand what I did until I wrote a book about it.  

(OK, full disclosure: She still doesn’t really understand what I do.)  

Hard Truth #2: Everyone thinks they’re a customer experience person, too 

This is probably true of many other capabilities, but it’s definitely the case in CX.  

People who can’t even spell CX have strong opinions on how to improve our customers’ experiences – typically without spending time talking to those customers to understand their true goals! Everyone also knows how to write a perfect survey and lead an excellent workshop.  

Maybe that’s why only one in four CX programs shows true business impact – because that’s the percentage of people in these roles that take the time to learn not just the best practices, but also the better practices. 

Hard Truth #3: CX can be lonely 

Back when I led CX for a division of a Fortune 100 firm, I read this article on stranded evangelists, and it’s stuck with me.

Back then, I was told I “made a lot of noise” while trying to improve the customer experience. And it often felt like I was all on my own, a David trying to budge a corporate Goliath. (Spoiler alert: I was not as successful as he was.)

But it turns out I wasn’t alone in being alone. Our 2022 survey showed that one-third of CX programs consist of a single individual, and another third have just 2-5 people. That’s some mighty odds for a small team to face.  

That’s just one reason why I love the CXPA so much, and consider it such a valuable resource. It offers a chance to network, collaborate, and commiserate with like-minded people who are facing the same challenges. 

So these are three hard truths I think about in CX. What comes to mind for you? 

2 replies
  1. Lori Laflin
    Lori Laflin says:

    Jim, I agree, but I know you’re normally a glass-half-full thinker. Where’s the “yes, and”?

    No one gets what you do? Yes, and that’s ok. You do what you love and it gives you a chance to explain (and write a book).
    Everyone thinks they’re in CX? Yes, and if everyone is thinking about the customer, that’s excellent!
    I could keep going, but I’ll challenge others, what’s the silver lining in being a shop of 1?


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