Married couples share many interests—gardening, working out, binging the latest Netflix hit—but only Dubai-based CCXPs Milda and Zayne Nair can say they each hold the Certified Customer Experience professional credential. Milda, as the Director of Enterprise Portfolio, Middle East for Meltwater, and Zayne, as a digital consultant, share a passion for CX that goes beyond the workday.
Originally from Lithuania, Milda started her career in the telecommunications industry after earning bachelor's degrees in psychology and sociology, and a Masters in Communications Policy Studies. After stints at Barclays and Thomson Reuters, she's since held a variety of roles at Meltwater in Client Success. Her journey in CX began in earnest after she found herself looking for a methodology that would enable her to scale and transfer her knowledge and experiences. She finally found it when she attended a CX masterclass, which helped her put a name to the disciplined set of practices she'd been working so hard to implement during her career.
Zayne's first exposure to CX came as a regional manager for a clothing brand in South Africa. This experience with merchandising – "the music, the smell, the look of the store,"– piqued his interest in gaining a better understanding of how experience principles could be implemented holistically. Then he moved into the telecom field, where fate brought him to Milda. Over time, he began applying CX competencies to software development and quality assurance.
"The role in quality assurance and software development is to understand the customer's perspective and to test the system as if you are a customer," he says. "I liked bringing empathy to that process." Having the chance to implement design-thinking methodology in the development of digital products enhanced Zayne's love of CX, and he decided to pursue his CCXP certification.
Zayne and Milda noted that their respective CX journeys were coming to a head at the same time. "When Zayne started preparing for the exam, he asked, 'Do you want to do this with me?' And of course I said 'yes,'" Milda recalls.
"We really wanted to pass it, so we were competing a little, and actually, he was a couple of weeks ahead of me," she laughs.
Although their tests were scheduled for the same day, someone needed to stay home with their young children. Zayne took the exam early in the morning, and Milda grabbed a late-afternoon time slot. When Zayne shared the happy news that he passed, Milda found herself fighting nerves for the rest of the day.
She didn't need to worry.
"We both passed," she says. "I don't remember being that happy for a long time, but we both felt this was so good and meaningful."
Shared Discipline, Different Challenges
Since they work in different CX areas, Milda and Zayne have had different experiences that have shaped their careers.
For Milda, working with sales and client relations teams sometimes means a lack of common internal language when talking about customer experience.
"When you're in a managerial role and start being responsible for other people, you quickly realize there's a need for everyone to be aligned and on board with what it actually means to build value," she says. "The very first CX victory for me was when I understood what it means to develop a CX strategy and gave the team space to talk about what experience they wanted to provide clients."
Zayne has experienced different challenges. For instance, he's involved with new product development, and many clients want an app to be developed without understanding the context of customer journeys. "So it's often up to me to ask, 'what do you want to know?' 'who is this for?' 'what's the bigger goal?' and 'what does it mean for the customer?'" he says.
Both Milda and Zayne believe that the rapid growth of CX is a net positive for professionals around the globe.
"I see everything I do in my day-to-day, no matter what task, with a CX lens," says Milda ("we have become very difficult customers," laughs Zayne in agreement). "The reality is that CX is gaining momentum globally. For anyone who's considering a CX journey or is at the beginning stages of one, I would just say, come on board and join us. There's enough work for all of us."