This post was originally published on LinkedIn and can be found here.
Recently I attended a middle school assembly at which my daughter was recognized for academic achievement. I was seated with other proud parents at the back of the auditorium while the students were seated up front, celebrating together - at times, a bit too enthusiastically for the faculty leading the program. "Eighth graders", one teacher sternly rebuked, "if you are speaking rather than listening right now, you are doing the wrong thing." I admired the directness and clarity of the message - and jotted it down as a reminder for my own future messaging. Today, the message on my mind is clear:
Customer experience (CX) is the discipline of working to ensure that your customers have a positive perception and experience across all interactions with your organization. Positive customer perceptions drive customer loyalty, higher lifetime value through improved retention and share-of-wallet growth, and organic customer base growth through positive word-of-mouth referrals. Customer retention is typically far more cost-effective than new customer acquisition - and retaining current customers can lead to greater profitability as well. A positive customer experience that is consistently better than your competitors leads to a competitive advantage in customer purchasing decisions that is very hard to copy. CX leaders help your company and employees create that advantage and keep it. Internally, customer experience is a unifying framework that contributes to better decision-making for your organization by including consideration of customer needs and expectations. Additionally, CX professionals serve as catalysts to enhance your organization's results by working across siloed departments to ensure effective collaboration, prioritized experience delivery, and positive customer relationships.
Undoubtedly, the world is facing significant uncertainty: war, political division, natural disasters, supply chain disruption, changing employee and consumer expectations, lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and the threat of economic recession to name a few concerning factors. In times of uncertainty, it is more important than ever that, as CEO, you give clear direction and leadership. Yes, you will likely also need to adjust operations and plans - but if you are to be seen by your customers, employees, and stakeholders as having made good choices, you would be well-served to have those choices informed by understanding your customers' perspectives - insight you can gain from CX professionals on your team. Ensuring that customers have a positive perception of your organization throughout whatever comes next just makes sense.
CX professionals also need to respond to the challenges of these times by revisiting their plans and prioritizing the work that best supports positive customer experiences and other strategic goals of the organization. CX leaders should use their skills and insights to drive positive change informed by data, the voice of the customer, human-centered design, and an unwavering commitment to considering customer perceptions, employee perspectives, and business implications. Perhaps most importantly, CX professionals must remember that the goal is not a certain survey response rate or complaint resolution time - it is the design, delivery, and evolution of easy, effective, and consistently scalable CX solutions.
Fellow CEOs: now is the time to show leadership by maintaining our commitment to positive customer experience, no matter the headwinds. I expect it will help our organizations achieve sustainable results that grow our customer relationships as well as the respect and support of our teams and stakeholders.
Greg Melia, CAE - CEO of the Customer Experience Professionals Association
About The Customer Experience Professionals Association
The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) exists to support CX professionals to share, learn, inspire, and grow throughout their entire careers - including the difficult periods of uncertainty. We believe that empowered CX professionals will inspire exceptional outcomes for customers, colleagues, and organizations. We provide a trusted, affordable, independent learning community dedicated to the professional advancement of customer experience. We publish the CXPA CX Book of Knowledge which provides over 300 pages of clear, practical guidance on terms, processes, and theory essential to understanding customer experience, and grant the Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) certification to designate the individuals with the experience and skills to lead customer experience programs.