CX leadership

The attributes and traits needed to be a leader in Customer Experience

Customer Experience (CX) is possibly one of the most important aspects to consider in any company, as it has the potential to drive the growth of a company as well as its profit revenue. In a nutshell, CX is the sum-totality of how your customers engage with your company and brand. It is a customer’s experience with a company or brand, at all touchpoints. A touchpoint is any way a customer can interact with your brand, such as when purchasing or using a product or through seeing commercials featuring it.

Why is CX Important in your organisation?

Customers don’t simply purchase a product, they purchase the entire experience and they can perceive the experience to be positive or negative, outlining if they would want to be associated with the company again or not.

Every single company has an idea of how they want their customers to perceive their brand. This perception then guides and defines their strategic plans and goals. Some companies define this perception very early on and have a customer experience vision. It is then assumed that this vision is translated easily by employees and then communicated to the customer. But in all honesty, the kind of experience a brand envisions is not always what the company is able to deliver.

Understanding the need to do more than the minimum for customers, is what can separate the amateurs from the pros of customer experience. They know their level of customer experience needs to far surpass anything their industry peers can provide.

Understanding the basics of CX is only the beginning, real success in CX begins with leadership. Funnily enough though, while CX is one of the more important aspects of business today, it is also often one of the biggest leadership challenges of a business. What’s problematic is that CX leaders rarely receive any specific leadership training. CX leaders are mostly self-taught and learn on the job.

How to become a CX Leader:

To be a successful leader in CX, is not only about understanding the product or service itself but the company as a whole, as well as your own personal leadership qualities. It may sound like a lot but we have broken it down to ensure you find all the information to find out if you have what it takes.

As an Individual

As a leader in CX, it is important to look at yourself and your knowledge and skills and ensure that you have what is needed to get the job done.

We’ve identified 5 of the top qualities we think make someone a great CX leader:

  1. Passion: you need to be enthusiastic about ensuring your customers have great experiences and you need to believe in the power and impact of CX. Passion is contagious and your energy will be easy to imitate and learn from.
  2. Knowledge: you need to know exactly what you’re doing. Leaders need to be goal driven and demonstrate good judgment in developing strategies and tactics to understand customer needs, anticipate emerging demands and design excellent experiences.
  3. Good Communications Skills: what a customer has to say is vital, but the best CX leaders are able to effectively relay the customer’s story in a way that motivates others to take action. They communicate in a way that not only encourages empathy for customers but also for employees as CX is a vital business strategy that benefits them both.
  4. Influential: you need to have the ability to open the minds of colleagues and ensure that change occurs and results are realised. CX leaders often work with a wide range of departments and employees which means they might not have the authority to mandate action. That’s why influence, credibility and respect are important traits you need to combine to become influential.
  5. The ability to actively listen: society today seems to think that we listen to merely respond, to argue our point instead of listening to understand. CX leaders need to be able to properly listen to all viewpoints – both colleagues and customers – to fully understand how to grow and become better.

In the Business

Understanding your personal attributes as a CX leader, then allows you to consider how to lead within the business. In this area, it is important for you to focus on the following:

  1. Starting from the top moving downwards: customer experience may be important to the CEO but it needs to be important to all departments – including sales, operations, HR, IT, marketing, just to mention a few. This is why leaders in CX need to ‘play with the big boys’. They need to learn to connect the wants of the customers with the needs of the C-suite of a company – which may be a little difficult to do. CX leaders must ultimately convince the C-suite that CX drives long-term profitable growth and must be disseminated and practised throughout the entire company.
  2. Getting your people onboard: there are many individuals in an organisation who contribute to CX without even realising it and asking them to go above and beyond their role may be a difficult task. This is why one important leadership skill is storytelling. CX leaders can’t make anything happen if no one is listening. But if they can tell a story that gets people fully engaged, people may be more inclined to listen and motivated to act. Getting people from across the company to move requires lots of hard work and one-on-one negotiations. CX leaders are change leaders. They must be the role models that others want to follow.
  3. Teamwork makes the dream work: gone are the days when CX leaders can know it all. Marketing and customer software are ever changing and constantly open new opportunities to understand a new way of interacting with customers. Instead of chasing every detail, CX leaders must learn to lead integrated teams. Leaders must combine specialists and generalists into a cohesive tribe that strives for a common goal. Instead of controlling everybody’s work, the best CX leaders spend time aligning their teams around common goals. They help the specialists see the bigger picture and they help the generalists go deeper, to create an overall understanding of the importance of CX. To summarise – a leader in CX ensures that the top management staff understand the financial and timely need of CX. A leader ensures all employees of an organisation understand there is a bigger goal they’re trying to achieve. And most importantly, a CX leader creates perfectly equipped teams that work together to achieve a common goal.

These are only some of the most important traits that can make you a CX leader, but there are more. This introduction to a CX leader’s skills and characteristics aims to help you say more confidently that you have what it takes to be a leader in Customer Experience.