These CX ones to watch deserve a second look (and listen)

By Mr. Shane Schick posted 21 days ago


They’re young. They’re good looking. They represent a diverse mixture of genders and ethnicities. And, according to UserTesting, they offer the kind of hope we all need right now that the future of CX will be a bright one. 

Earlier this week the San Francisco-based provider of customer experience software released what it described as its first annual CX Watchlist, which it said recognizes “the top 100 rising stars in customer experience-focused roles in organizations around the world.”

Reviewing the CX Watchlist, however, was a somewhat odd experience. Though the first names, headshots and company each honouree works for were clearly displayed, they were not clickable. In other words, there was no detail provided on exactly what these people were doing, nor why they deserved to be on this list. 

Scroll to the bottom and you see the honouree’s full names, along with a link to their LinkedIn profiles and a link to their employer’s web site. Otherwise, nothing. No details about how they were chosen, who was part of the selection process or how their accomplishments might inspire others. Nothing. 

To be fair, I have not reached out to UserTesting for more details, but should I really have to? The company said the CX Watchlist was established “to showcase the diverse range of experienced professionals and how they are helping their companies grow by orchestrating programs and experiences that delight and inspire the customer.”

I understand the basic rationale behind these sorts of initiatives, because I’ve been part of them myself at the various media properties I’ve edited. Whether they are “ones to watch” or “30 under 30,” compiling a list of this sort can be a great way of fostering a sense of community. 

They are also a great way to drive traffic. In this case, the CX Watchlist may attract. a lot of people to UserTesting, which by compiling these names has shown a clear interest in the kind of people who could become its customers. 

Rather than dismiss the CX Watchlist as marketing ploy, however, I wondered if it might be a useful way for CX leaders to think about their self-development. There are 100 people here, and they work for the kind of companies (Netflix, Google, etc.) that are often held up as exemplars of fantastic customer experiences. 

Why not connect to each of them on LinkedIn, and perhaps set a goal of having a virtual coffee chat with some of them every month? You could discover more about their goals, their achievements and career aspirations. There’s always a chance these people might be working for you (or vice-versa) someday, and if nothing else you could commiserate over shared challenges. 

Unlike traditional award programs, where all the details about a recipient’s career highlights are cited, the CX Watchlist could be a catalyst for enhancing your professional network by forcing you to be proactive in learning about the next generation about CX talent. Don’t just keep an eye on this watchlist, in other words. Start a conversation with them, and get ready to listen.


1 comment



20 days ago

Thanks Shane for contributing.  It's great to see more recognition and celebration of early-career folks supporting CX - some with direct CX titles, and others from related roles.  Which raises a question – exactly where do future CX leaders come from? That’s a question in which CXPA has great interest! 

Other observations you raise in the post are also notable: there is no detail provided on how the list was compiled or the qualifications for being added to the list; and the post itself focuses as much on the brands that employ the individuals rather than the accomplishments of the individual.  I've heard a lot of similar comments from others about the proliferation of lists and awards promoted in the CX social media space -- many agreeing with your observation that "They are also a great way to drive traffic." 

I have also heard a great deal of concern about marketing initiatives masquerading as award programs.  Whether you are reading a winners list, considering entering an awards program, or are featured in an awards list, it is prudent to consider the rigor, integrity and transparency of the selection process. Ideally, an award process and winners list should be based in clear, community-recognized criteria, involve multiple judges, and share insight into what distinguishes the winners.  Caveat Emptor, especially if this information is not made available.  

CXPA is proud to have a volunteer-driven set of award programs as well as a global partnership to advance CX with Awards International.  We seek to share in-depth information on our awardees, such as in CXPA’s announcement program for CXPA’s first ever Emerging Leader in CX Awards. A special thanks to the many past and current CXPA judges who selected the winners, and congratulations to all current and past CXPA award winners!