Last week I wrote about three little-discussed, but somewhat frustrating, aspects of CX: Nobody really gets what you do; Everyone thinks they’re a customer experience person, too; and CX can be lonely.
Then I heard from my good friend Lori Laflin, VP of Digital Experience at Compeer. She questioned my out-of-character negativity, saying:
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?
I love productive pushback (both giving and receiving), so I really appreciated the call-out! And Lori’s right – I do typically focus on glass-half-full approaches.
So I’m taking her up on her challenge. (Hope you will, too!) Here’s the sunnier side of each of the “truths” I mentioned:
This can actually be one of the most exciting parts of CX, because you get to define what your program means to the company.
We’re currently working with the CXPA to map the first-year journey of CX leaders. One finding is that different leaders build very different programs. That was also true in our previous interviews, which revealed a broad spectrum of approaches.
While some focus extensively on surveys, for example, others don’t even have a survey capability – that’s housed elsewhere in the organization. And while some focus extensively on change management, others lean more heavily into design thinking.
CX is still a young capability, making it possible to forge your own path.
Lori’s response on this point was dead on. While this truth does lead to unsolicited advice, it also means that there’s a strong pool of partners who want to do right by the customer.
Successful CX leaders tap into this pool to create a team of change makers across the organization.
What’s the silver lining to being a shop of one? As above, it means you have to partner to survive. It’s tough to be your own silo, so the best in CX reach across the organization to succeed.
Years ago, I interviewed Mara Bain (then with Western National Insurance), who told me, “My role is to influence and organize. I pull together teams from across the company to work on key initiatives. While I have no direct reports, you could say I have a team of 500.”
So there you have it. Are there are advantages to those hard truths I stated? I say (emphatically) YES.
Furthermore, there are boatloads of valuable resources available today that didn’t exist when I was a CX practitioner, including the CXPA, and the large, supportive community it fosters.
On that note, if YOU are in your first year (or so) of leading customer experience at your organization (no matter what your previous role), please share your experience with Heart of the Customer, Quadient, and the CXPA by signing up for an interview. Your insights can make an important impact on our community!