Over the last few years, many experienced business people all over the world have been working hard to create, nurture and develop a brand new profession. Whilst organisations have always delivered experiences, it is only now that most are starting to recognise the importance of them. However…there is usually one of those…there are still A LOT of people who DO NOT recognise Customer Experience – either as something of significant importance to business strategy OR as a profession at all.
As a practitioner on the inside and a consultant on the outside – I, like my peers have fought very hard to get Customer Experience the recognition it needs….it deserves. In my experience, there are three main behaviours displayed by organisations that almost see Customer Experience more as ‘fiction’ rather than ‘fact’ – those behaviours are:
1. ‘The Know It All’ – this type of company does not think it needs to ‘do’ Customer Experience because ‘we already do it’; or ‘we do not need to do it’. Often, led by business leaders who believe that their organisation is already customer centric’, there is little recognition of the need for any skills or competencies badged as ’Customer Experience’.
2. ‘The Confused’ – increasingly, I am coming across organisations that are just confused by Customer Experience. They often think that CX is a ‘project or an initiative’ that will ‘cost money’ and are likely to have a lack of ownership or governance from the very top. It is possible that different groups of people are all trying to do CX related activities that are not aligned. The more confused they become, the more common it is for CX to be passed over for ‘the next big thing’.
3. ‘The Incompetent’ – whilst ‘incompetent’ is a very strong word, consider this more from the perspective of a business that does ‘not possess the competencies’ to drive an approach to CX. The ‘incompetent’ business is actually one that may well have come to the conclusion that CX is something that is critical to the sustainable future of the organisation, but just does not have the skills – the competencies – to know exactly how to do it.
Whilst I acknowledge that these three behaviour ‘types’ are extremely broad, they roughly represent what I see across the globe. They also demonstrate why it is so important for CX to be recognised as a PROFESSION – for the world to recognise that CX is not some fictional business fad, but a genuine, fact based professional occupation.
Since 2012, the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) has been flying the flag for all those who work in the field of CX. Never before had there been a global body to represent people like me – a group of experienced specialists whose major interest is to continually develop their specialism and educating the business world as to the benefits CX Professionals can bring to the party.
In 2014, the CXPA launched the first ever Professional Qualification in CX – yes…..that is right…..professional qualification. For the very first time, people who possess internationally recognised skills and competencies to tangibly and demonstrably improve customer experience were able to get accreditation to show their authority to the world. The qualification – CCXP (Certified Customer Experience Professional) – is (as one recent CCXP was quoted as saying) reassuringly difficult to achieve. It is because to become a CCXP you MUST possess the knowledge AND experience of utilising and applying a set of core competencies.
The competencies that a CCXP is expected to have experiential knowledge of are as follows:
- Customer Centric Culture
- Customer Experience Strategy
- Voice of Customer, Customer Insight and Understanding
- Metrics, Measurement and ROI
- Organisational Adoption and Accountability
- Experience Design, Improvement and Innovation
These are not fictional ‘text book’ type subject areas – these competencies contain a plethora of tools, techniques and concepts that will enable an experience, callable practitioner to guide an organisation on its ‘never ending’ customer centric journey.
In 2015, I worked with many practitioners aspiring to become a CCXP – they are all finding it challenging – some more than others. There is a growing realisation to some of the practitioners that they have GAPS in their knowledge – and competencies that require development. This only further highlights the need for something like CCXP – an international qualification based on internationally recognised competencies.
In 2016, there are still TOO MANY organisations who are yet to fully COMMIT to Customer Experience – they have a lack of leadership; governance; emotion; and knowledge on how to become more customer centric. To address these significant challenges, they must START talking about Customer Experience as though they really mean it. Yet they must not just TALK about it – they need to start actually DOING it. That is where CX as fiction becomes CX as FACT.
The best way to stop CX from being fiction is to ensure that your business has the skills and competencies it needs to turn CX into FACT. If you have colleagues in the business who do not understand what CX is – you need to EDUCATE them. If you do not have anyone on the business with CX competencies – you need to recruit them or train existing resources.
Not just anyone can be a CCXP – not just anyone can lead an approach to CX. You would not ask someone to audit your books if they were not a qualified accountant…….would you? So is CX fact or fiction – well you knew what my answer to that question was before you started reading the first paragraph – but what do you think?
You can find out more about the CCXP qualification here.
At the end of last year, I wrote about my observations of the state of Customer Experience having worked with multiple industries in 20 countries around the globe – you can read the article I wrote for my column on Customer Think.
One of my learning’s related to COMMITMENT – you will need to read the post to find out what I said – however, the reason for me sending you this email is that the article has inspired me to launch my first and only survey for 2016 – a very short survey investigating organisational commitment to Customer Experience.
I would hugely appreciate it if you could take two minutes to answer three very simple questions – the results of the survey will be published in a future blog post. Please also forward the survey to anyone who you think may find it of interest. Thank you so much for your very valuable time in advance…