Over the last two years, the business world has seen a transformation. A new profession has been born. A new profession has been recognised. Thousands of professional men and women all over the globe who have devoted their working lives to educate organisations to design and deliver end to end experiences that meet and exceed the expectations of customers, are finally getting the recognition they deserve. CX professionals may not be recognised in the same way that an accountant may be, or a lawyer, or a doctor, but we are getting there.

I am immensely proud to be a member of the first global non-profit making organisation to focus its efforts on the development of the profession – the CXPA (Customer Experience Professionals Association) – http://www.cxpa.org/default.asp? Bringing together a global community of like-minded professionals; sharing; mentoring; inspiring; teaching; counselling – the association is fast becoming an essential lynchpin in ensuring that customers worldwide are being thrust into the forefront of organisational strategy.

Members of the board of the CXPA recently gave their perspectives of the industry as we approach the end of 2012:

“In 2012, it has been great to see (and be part of) such increased interest by companies and professionals to enhance the customer experience as a long term, sustainable competitive advantage. It’s also inspiring to see more focus on employee engagement as critical foundational component to moving the needle on great customer experiences. And third, seeing the stronger connection between experience and financial benefits. This is an exciting profession to be part of as it continues to become more important than ever as a way of life.” – Karyn Furstman, Vice President, Manager Customer Experience at Safeco Insurance, a Liberty Mutual Company

“Customer Experience as a recognized industry is maturing quickly, and we should be proud of our growth, impact, and influence we are having on our industry, and each other. As a member of the CXPA Board, I get a unique opportunity to watch, and take part in the evolving maturity of how we measure and manage our customer experience. Exciting times ahead!” – Jim Bampos, Vice President of Customer Quality, EMC

“2012 has been another exceptional year for CX. As the global economic crisis continues to re-shape the business landscape in many nations around the world, increasing the focus on customer experience is now widely recognised as the differentiator that will create a sustainable future. Whilst it would have been preferable for business leaders to recognize this prior to a financial meltdown, CX professionals must seize the opportunity to embed customer experience strategies whilst they can. Being part of the CXPA family at this time is therefore critical to the success of our profession. The ability to share and learn from others across all industries (B2B and B2C) is key to our expertise being recognized as a genuine profession. As the CXPA develops a professional accreditation for our expertise in 2013, the future for CX professionals looks very bright indeed.” – Ian Golding, Managing Consultant, Customer Experience Consultancy Ltd

“The CX profession continues to grow in importance and relevance as companies across industries realize that a critical part of their business strategy relies on the creation and delivery of differentiated customer experiences. I would say that a challenge to the profession would be to continue to illustrate the discrete business benefits associated with focusing on CX.” – Parrish Arturi, Senior Vice President, Customer Experience at Fidelity Investments

“Forrester’s Megan Burns recently said that right now “customer experience is the ‘eat healthy and exercise’ of the business world. There’s more talk than action.” CX as a profession is on the cusp; the interest in CX is clearly there, but we need CX professionals to guide their company leaders on how to make those healthy, customer-centric “lifestyle” changes and stick to them—because, to consider customer experience the latest fad in business is to ignore the growing power of the customer, at your peril.” – Ginger Conlon, Editor in Chief, Direct Marketing News.

2013 is going to be a bright exciting year for customer experience. If 2011 was about the creating the profession, 2012 has been about appreciating what CX professionals actually do. 2013 will see the CX professional move into a world where they can achieve professional recognition for the expertise they have – now that is exciting! I very much look forward to the opportunities that we face as customer experience professionals. If you want to know more about the CXPA and how it could help you or your people, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

I would like to also take this opportunity to wish all the best for the season to readers of my blog. The fact that you are interested in the things I write means more than words can say. I hope to continue providing articles of interest in 2013. Here is to a very happy, prosperous and customer focussed 2013!!