Reinvention. It’s everywhere. Over the past year around the country and world, companies have collected a ton of data. Even at the most profitable companies, though, that data have led to some concerns.
Upheavals have led consumers and business-to-business (B2B) buyers to rethink how they purchase, becoming, in the words of one survey from Accenture, “reimagined” consumers. These consumers overwhelmingly expect companies to not just provide a basic service or product, but to anticipate and meet their changing needs. Seventy-seven percent of these consumers expect this kind of understanding from companies. Perhaps even more significantly, more than half would switch brands if their current preferred brand doesn’t provide clear, easy customer service options and clear answers about service levels related to the current era of disruption.
What Does All That Mean?
Among other conclusions, it means that the value of a positive customer experience is more important than ever to business success—and a great CX leader is key to cracking the code and standing out.
The Benefits of CX
It’s tough to overstate the importance of CX at this point in time. Survey after survey, report after report, provides the numbers to reveal the truth: CX is extremely important, but the majority of companies don’t have a high-performing strategy in place.
This isn’t entirely news for many companies. In 2017, Dimension Data revealed that 71% of companies cited CX as a top strategic performance measure, but only 16% rated their CX delivery as 9 out of 10 or better. Thirty-six percent of surveyed companies didn’t even have a CX manager, while 51% didn’t have a solid digital strategy, and 33% admitted to having no way to track the customer journey between channels and/or platforms.
The lack of infrastructure around CX is even more frustrating when one looks at just how big a payoff CX can have. According to recent research by PwC, valuable customer experiences can offer businesses up to a 16% price premium. The same research also reveals that, in the U.S., even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences—and for 17%, it just takes one bad experience for them to walk away for good.
A positive customer experience not only helps to retain customers, but helps to ensure that they will continue to try new offerings and even stick around through tough times. A Temkin Group study revealed just how big that impact can be. According to the research, a positive customer experience results in customers who are:
- 5 percentage points more likely to make additional purchases
- 7 percentage points more likely to trust the company
- 3 percentage points more likely to forgive the company if it makes a mistakes
- 1 percentage point more likely to immediately try a new offering
All of this data points to the fact that a focus on CX is one of the best things an organization can do if it wants to succeed, thrive, and grow. Without excellent and insightful leadership, though, achieving these goals can be difficult.
The CX Team and Typical Titles
Putting together a CX team requires, first and foremost, an understanding of what CX roles and titles are out there today. In any given company, you might have some or all of the following:
Chief Customer Experience Officer (CXO): the head of CX, a C-suite executive whose duties cover all the factors of ensuring a positive customer experience
CX Analyst: a data-focused expert who specializes in collecting and parsing CX-related data to support the crafting and implementation of CX strategy
Voice of Customer (VoC) Managers: the managers who oversee a VoC program, which focuses on different facets of “representing” the customer’s needs and wants when it comes to planning
CX Operations: the team whose job it is to put together the actual customer experience. These are the folks handling the journey design, communications channels, and other systems, both human and automated, that make up the customer experience
Customer Success Manager: the experts who help smooth the way for customers, ensuring that they transition easily from leads to actual (and satisfied!) clients
Communications Manager: A job often shared with marketing, this manager handles the overall communications strategy for the company, including customer-facing public relations (PR) responses
Digital Strategist: With expertise in digital platforms, these strategists work to unify branding and messaging across multiple platforms to create a single, positive experience
In general, a CX team could be as small as a single person or as large as a global team, depending on the size of the organization and the products or services sold. Specific duties will vary with the company’s scale and needs, but in general, responsibilities include:
- Developing and implementing necessary tools and processes to understand customers
- Journey mapping, touchpoints, and experience analysis
- Identifying and tracking metrics linked to business outcomes
- Collecting and analyzing customer feedback and data
- Sharing insights throughout the organization
- Developing the strategy and aligning the organization around the customer and their needs
The CX team will also often partner with HR to educate employees and ensure they are having a great experience themselves, since they are the ones who have to deliver a high-performing customer experience. This is important because, according to the Harvard Business Review, “CX is the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.”
Employee and customer experience go hand in hand. One won’t succeed without the other.
The Right CX Leader
What makes a truly excellent CX leader? It starts with a vision. CX leaders must be visionary and strategic thinkers. But thinking big thoughts isn’t enough: a leader needs to be analytical so they can define where a company is and chart the path to where they want to go.
They’re critical thinkers and data-driven without losing sight of the human beings behind the numbers. They’re collaborative—after all, it’s the overall organization that delivers the customer experience, so leaders need to be able to work with peers and partners to get things done. Along similar lines, the best leaders are empathetic, caring, and transparent. They know what it takes to deliver on promises, both to customers and to co-workers who make the business run. They share success and failures, listen, coach, and ask for honest feedback.
Most of all, they have a genuine willingness to learn about the industry and business. Most businesses are doing more right than wrong—otherwise, they would not stay in business. A transformative leader respects this and takes time to learn before implementing change.
Are you still not entirely convinced why CX is so important? Consider these stats from Deloitte:
- Customers are likely to mention a positive experience to nine people, but a negative one to 16 people
- Customers with a positive experience spend up to 140% more and remain loyal for five years longer
- Positive CX can reduce the cost of serving customers by up to 33%
- It costs six to seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain a current customer
- More than half of Americans changed their mind about a purchase they had planned because of bad service or customer experience
- 33% of Americans would consider switching companies because of just one poor customer experience, and the same number would pay more to receive a better experience
- 65% of customers say that positive customer experiences with a brand have a greater influence on their buying behavior than great advertising
- 79% of high-income households, 45% of women, 51% of B2B companies, and others will avoid a company or brand for over two years after having a bad customer experience
We live in a world where online reviews and social channels make sharing feedback easy. In considering what will be communicated, factor in human instincts. Recognize we are more likely to feel compelled to “warn” people off of a bad experience than to share the joy of a good one. Therefore, you are more likely to get comments focusing on negative experiences than positive ones.
That’s why we’re seeing such growth in the CX field. According to Forbes, global CX technology spending is projected to reach $641 billion in 2022. It’s one of the fastest-growing fields and a top priority for the majority of executives. Although many are playing catch-up, CX is here to stay – make sure your company has a truly great leader to provide the way forward.
About the Author
Christopher Rios is a Founding Member of Blue Rock Search. He has over twenty-five years in Hospitality and Executive Search and leads the Blue Rock CX practice. His desire and passion to deliver an exceptional and engaging Client and Candidate Experience has led him to his current role as Chief Experience Officer. He has over fifteen years of hospitality experience as an executive chef and has been recruiting executive and senior-level talent in Customer Experience, HR, and Hospitality for over a decade.
In his capacity as CXO, Chris oversees the retained CX Executive Search practice, which specializes in the identification, assessment, recruitment, and onboarding of executive-level CX leaders and their teams inclusive of Leaders across all Experience Disciplines (Patient, Digital, User, Employee, etc.), Customer Success, Care & Support, Contact/Call Centers, Professional and Managed Services, VOC/VOE as well as Insights and Analytics.