I recently received an automated LinkedIn email advertising a new role at Barclays – Customer Experience Design Director http://www.linkedin.com/jobs?viewJob=&jobId=3159960&trk=fjr_results&goback=%2Ejob .
On receiving and then reading the job description, three thoughts crossed my mind:
1. It is both encouraging and exciting to see that an organisation the size of Barclays has recognised the importance of Customer Experience and the significance of designing products, processes and tools that make customers lives easier
2. Are there a plethora of individuals in the UK that actually possess the skills to do what the job description is asking for?
3. Can you be responsible for Customer Experience Design if your background is purely in designing solutions?
The Barclays job description states the following:
‘You will undertake the ownership of digital design associated with projects and programmes which impact on customer experience. This includes the ideation, design, development and delivery of projects that make the lives of our customers much easier. You will also lead our interaction with digital design agencies. Ideally, you will have proven expertise of Customer Experience having previously worked in a consulting design firm and/or for another global customer-centric corporation. You will have a track record in creating highly creative digital solutions that differentiate provide a unique customer experience and subsequently drive engagement and loyalty; think innovation and collaboration!
A fantastic job description that focusses almost entirely on an individual’s ability to create ‘digital solutions’ to ‘improve the lives of customers’. Barclays want someone who has ideally worked for a ‘consulting design firm’ or ‘another global customer-centric corporation’. The successful candidate will have created ‘creative digital solutions that differentiate and provide a unique customer experience’ – very grand!
I have no doubt that there are some incredibly talented and skillful online/digital experts who have created stupendously sophisticated multi channel solutions that have truly made life easier for customers – the Amazon ‘1-click’ purchase springs to mind. However, are these individuals ‘CX experts’? Are these individuals ‘CX professionals’? Nowhere in the Barclays job description does it state how important it is for the successful candidate to have been involved in the creation and development of customer experience strategy – which combined with customer experience measurement ultimately leads to the understanding of exactly where customers lives need to be made easier.
It may be inferred, but I believe that anyone who is responsible for ‘designing customer experience solutions’ needs to have a deep-rooted understanding of customer experience ‘end to end’ – not just the design of a solution. A customer experience professional understands what it means to create a customer experience strategy; methodologies for understanding what is important to customers; the ability to prioritise what improvements are required and what new solutions are necessary; the understanding of how improving the customer experience will engage with and improve the lives of their own people as well as the customer.
What Barclays are looking for is encouraging and exciting – but are they looking for the ‘right person’?
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Good Blog post Ian.
More worrying for me is the inclusion at the end of the job description “We’ll judge you on your ability and nothing else”!. Now, call me old fashioned, or simply out of touch with the way financial behemoths reward their employees, but surely Barclays new Customer Experience Design Director should be judged on his or her RESULTS! And herein lies what I see as being one of the ongoing issues with organisations creating ‘Customer Experience’ based roles. There still seems to be a nervousness about what CX proffesionals can, or should, acheive and whether they will actually make a difference to the bottom line. In short….will Customer Experience improve profits? Of course, those of us in the know have stacks of evidence that shows how consistently providing a positive Customer Experience leads to customers that spend more, stay for longer and tell others about how wonderful your brand is. But have the C-suite, and HR managers, simply started to add the term ‘Customer Experience’ to job titles because its ‘now’? Call me cycnical Ian, but my gut feeling is that this job has little to do with measuring, understanding and improving the experience of Barclays customers and is actually more about making a technical design role appear more attractive and trendy 🙂 However, saying that, Barclays do have a number of senior people with Customer Experience focused roles (Derek White, Steve Tennant and Shailesh Grover) so maybe they can respond to my bitter assumptions with a clearer picture of what the Customer Experience Design Directors responsibilities actually are….
Barclays will quickly find out that while it’s great to be looking for a CX professional gifted in the digital arts, they also need to be sourcing an individual (or team 😉 with experience coordinating different silos within a complex organization. What Barclays may find they are looking for is a team leader plus several designers.
Ian, Steve and Mike you all make valid points and observations in what makes a true Customer Experience role and or professional. In our experience, the ability to influence and design a complete end to end experience, taking into account all of the customer touch points, is the role that most people think of, or want, when thinking about Customer Experience.
The reality is there are more and more positions which now carry the title of, or, include ‘the Customer Experience’ within the role responsibilities, however, the nature and scope allowed for the individual hired does differ greatly across each organisation dependant on where the role sits and at what level the position is within the wider business. The actual ownership, or, ability to affect change across the entire organisation is unfortunately not always possible or achievable in some of these roles.