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The state of the CX Profession in 2019 – A Recruiters Perspective

As I travel abroad and work across industries, one of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I transition into a CX role? I recently caught up with fellow CXPA member and CX Recruiting specialist Chris Rios, to hear the latest on CX recruiting trends.

Chris reminds us of what it means to be a CX professional: Expertise in Customer Centricity, Operational Excellence and Technology Enablement. The full interview with Chris can be found below.

Anita: How have you seen the CX leader role evolve over the last 12 months?

Chris: More hybrid roles are popping up. Companies are not seeing immediate returns on having a CX Strategist (someone who can create a culture of customer centricity takes a long time to develop) but they know how important CX is. As such, companies are looking at ways to combine roles (CX and HR, etc.) to keep up the appearance that CX IS important to them. Unfortunately, this continues to dilute the validity of CX as a profession and a function.

This past year, the Employee Experience has taken center-stage; as such, the connection between CX and HR is getting stronger. Since HR is already an established business partnership, executives who want to increase their company’s CX presence are tacking on CX as a responsibility to HR as an easier solution than developing a fully blown out CX Practice. The value to CX is multi-levelled: its internal equity continues to increase, the company is far more receptive to CX practices because HR is leading the communication/dissemination of information, employees are far more receptive to change management efforts because of HR, HR is CX’s first major champion as they learn about CX further, employee feel their voices are valued more and they become champions faster, etc.

Anita: What are the most common hiring CX Roles and salary ranges sought after globally today?

Chris: Hi-Level CX Practitioners (not execs) is #1 right now; most companies know they need CX but don’t necessarily want to invest in a CX Strategist/Exec; as such, they hire “lower” level leaders to mitigate against massive disruption; it may take longer but creating a CX culture takes time.

Hybrid CX’ers – whether Ops leaders or HR leaders allows the company to seamlessly transform over time (people don’t realize they are moving toward a CX-centric culture until it happens); Being able to include CX inside another functional role is trending and has been for almost a year now.

Salaries reflect title rather than enterprise impact; Dir level in the US is about $140-$180K, Sr Dir = $180-200K and VP and up command about $200+K annually. This is in line with similar roles across functions.

Anita: What are the key skills and capabilities organisations are looking for?

Chris: Key Skills:

Business Acumen – can you tie CX to bottom line results; being able to tie CX effort with ROI/ROI; this remains the #1 GAP in Key Skills that CX’ers tend to have.

Data/Metrics Orientation – while gathering data still seems to be the benchmark for success, the ability to use the data to support your efforts is critically important; in addition, your ability to “tell the story” of what the data says AND PLAN accordingly are on equal level with gathering data. The practitioner that can do this will be successful in influencing the key business leaders when they decide where to allocate resources.

Org Savviness – being able to build bridges across functions; ability to communicate the plan and get buy-in; develop internal champions that will fly your flag; knowing your audience is more than half the battle; ability to explain what’s in it for them if they are able to transform to a customer centric organization

Your Capability should be “expert” in these three things:

1.Customer Centricity – you must be THE champion of CX; this starts with a strong focus on the customer AND your employees; start with VOC and VOE; begin journey mapping to uncover gaps; fix the gaps, empower the employees to make “in the moment” decisions to help the customer in real time; build relationships up down and across the organization, build seamless change management plans to ensure everyone can see not only the journey your company is on but where they fit in with regards to their contribution and what it ultimately will mean to them and the company.

2.Operational Excellence – being able to execute a well strategized plan that will ultimately TRANSFORM the organization from its current state to a truly intrinsic customer centric company; this includes collaborative engagement across the entire enterprise, every person, function, leader is empowered to be customer-focused; hiring practices – bringing in those individuals who know and understand what it is to be customer-focused; must be able to TIE IT ALL TO FINANCIAL SUCCESS (“…if we do this, then this is what will happen to our bottom line in both the short- and long-term…” MUST BE ABLE TO SHOW THE PROGRESSION!!).

3.Technology Enablement – this is the glue that ties the organization together; so, having platforms that are seamless and easy to use fundamentally empowers the company to be customer centric; any tool/platform/technology that get in the way or makes it harder for employees to do their work ultimately gets in the way of taking care of customers. Fix this immediately. Create a CX Ops function to support these efforts.

Anita: What additional learning would you recommend?


1.Become a CCXP (Certified Customer Experience Professional)

2.Get a business degree – this is essential to understand the ROI and ROE of CX; knowing the language of business leaders is critical in their putting their trust in you to lead them to transformation.

3.Get educated on what other companies are doing to deliver an amazing experience

**A la Diane Magers: become a FUTURIST: looking out to HOW CX is changing is critical to the evolving Practitioner: people are not necessarily pitting one company against another but against their last best experiences; people want to know how you will you continue to innovate; they want to know how does today’s technology and new ways to do the “work of the day (i.e.: Agile, etc.)” play into your CX plan and finally, the war on talent (finding people who have these skills are coming into HIGH DEMAND…how are companies preparing for these new skills.

Anita: What are common ways CX leaders can build their CX networks?


1.Join the CXPA, a global network of experts, practitioners, consultants and soon to be friends

2.Partner with a good CX-focused Recruiter/Search Firm

3.Increase your social presence; create significant content that makes CX more approachable

4.Develop your voice through mini videos, write articles, post on alternate resources (Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc.).

As a Founding Member of Blue Rock Search, Chris has leveraged his 10+ years of recruiting for Fortune 500 Companies in the areas of customer experience, HR, finance and hospitality. His desire and passion to deliver an exceptional and engaging experience for both clients and candidates has led him to his current role as the Chief Customer Experience Officer.

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