A Call for Representation in Customer Experience

By Jeannie Walters,CCXP posted 24 days ago


This post originally appeared at https://experienceinvestigators.com/representation-customer-experience

We Must Ask the Tough Questions.

It’s not business as usual in the United States. It hasn’t been since the May 25th police killing of George Floyd, and the resulting days of protests in America — and increasingly, across the world — from people who demand change.

Prior to these events, it had been shockingly easy to think of ourselves as empathetic to all. As CX Leaders, we had believed that we certainly weren’t helping to perpetuate systematic racism.

We are learning that we have so far to go before that’s true. 

I’ve been reading and listening a lot this past week, and I was inspired to grapple with questions that have floated around for a while:

  • When I’ve noticed evidence of ongoing inequity in CX, why haven’t I spoken up about it?
  • Why haven’t I used my platform to raise important questions around inclusion, diversity, and racism in customer experience leadership?

And one enormous question we should all be asking:

  • How can we deliver for all customers if our leadership teams lack the representation they need?

This should trouble all leaders. Customer experience is ultimately creating how people will spend their time with your brand and product. How will your customers feel about those experiences? Are all customers asked for feedback? Is that feedback heard?Protest to end racism

Without representation, how can CX leaders get all of that right?

There are other big questions here:

  • Are we asking for the right feedback and providing space for customers to share their stories?
  • Are we addressing concerns that don’t fit neatly into our metrics?

If we claim that customer experience is about the customers, then we must accept we have a responsibility here.

We Must Listen & Learn.

Admittedly, as a white person, I am not the most qualified to speak from experience. But I am trying to learn from those who are.

On LinkedIn, I was particularly struck by a set of questions posed in the article Black Lives Matter! Yes, Even in the Workplace by Siji Onabanjo. He asks:

How do your business policies affect racial equality for your employees, customers, suppliers? As a company are you non-racist or actively anti-racist? 

What is the makeup of your leadership teams? Are they diverse and representative?

What are your policies around hiring? Are there unconscious biases in place that disadvantage certain people? How can those biases be removed? 

Do you have an environment where people can feel comfortable enough to report or call-out discrimination without feeling ostracised afterwards?

This article, Covert Acts of Racism Have Been Happening in Grocery Stores and Restaurants Forever by Alexis Morillo, mentions the literal “tip of the iceberg” about how things like product placement in grocery stores and hiring practices in restaurants are still creating a sense of “other” among us. She writes:

Covert racism, or socially “acceptable” forms of racism, are subtle ways that bias and privilege are perpetuated every single day. But things like racial profiling, police brutality, and “All Lives Matter” rhetoric are just the tip of the chart’s proverbial iceberg, and the subtle acts still perpetuate white dominance.

The first step toward change is acknowledging the way that systems of oppression seep into activities that seem as mindless as grocery shopping or going out to eat… At the current moment, the most immediate steps that can be taken are self reflection and education.

Customer experiences are human experiences. We are customers when we shop for our groceries, use the wifi, pay our utility bill, buy those cute shoes…we’re customers in our daily lives. This means the work we do impacts people’s daily lives. We can’t forget this. This is the human experience, and CX professionals have to recognize our role in it.


We Must Use Our Voices.

I want to support all customers and the best way I know how is to give a platform to those customer stories that are underrepresented or marginalized.

If you’re comfortable and willing to share your customer stories, I’d like to hear them and amplify them.

  • Where have you felt a lack of understanding or empathy?
  • What do you see that I and other customer experience and business leaders might not?

Email me with your stories, or send a video or audio message to share@cxrepresentation.com

Let’s use this platform to invite others to hear these stories directly.

It’s not business as usual. But hopefully, we’re heading toward business as it should be.

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.




George Floyd, is one dead what happens with the CX voice before his dead, with the other thousands of black people humiliated, killed by the police and by Americans.  What happen with people such as some in this organization, that use double standard, and play nice and humane in public writing articles such as yours, and often are racist and discriminatory quietly?   Nice fashioned article but we know the reality of the US. The USA history includes all kinds of discrimination and segregation and you know that well I assume. I was in Cincinnati in 2001 riots visiting Convergys HQ , I saw black people being humiliated by your police  during the riots in the city center, in a very violent way. Never saw before something similar except in films, but the US in discrimination leads the world for decades. Not a surprise, the first racist people I meet in my life were  in the Miami airport in the waiting room in 1992 returning to Israel. The person started to tell me then 23 why he hated blacks.  I never saw until that moment such level of ignorance and hatred. But the US leads the world on that, Trump is the proof of it! Hopefully decency will prevail and justices in this country, which lost its way. The USA have all people talking about it now, until the next thing appears, and the next case of violence. Other countries often acts decisively to solve issues such as racism, but this is a process and takes time. If the US population takes it serious this time, maybe only maybe something will change...

24 days ago

Excellent resources, Jeannie! And thank you for opening a platform for others to share their stories and amplify their voices.