Caring about the customer is not a new idea. Since the beginning, there have been suppliers and customers in human society, and an understanding that happy customers make the suppliers’ job better and more productive must have emerged very early on. But the late 20th and 21st century have seen the importance of customer experience multiply, and hence the formalization of those fundamental supplier concerns into a more structured and documented approach. And that, in turn, means suppliers have appointed staff to take specific customer experience jobs covering roles and responsibilities in the customer experience (CX) area. Setting aside the more extreme job titles (and I’ve met more than one Chief Awesomeness Officer!), let’s look at some of the roles populating today’s customer experience landscape.
Customer Experience Specialist
As the name suggests, a customer experience specialist has a focus on how the customer interacts with the supplier and how happy (or not) they are with those interactions. It usually covers delivering and monitoring the customer experience and coming up with improvement ideas to make it better.
Customer Experience Consultant
While you would expect the CX specialist to be employed by the supplier, you might see the customer experience consultant as someone knowledgeable in CX who gives advice on customer experience and then assists with the implementation of that advice. Again, you would expect the advice to cover delivery, monitoring, and improvement.
Customer Experience Manager
Even in the new flatter organizational structures of the 21st Century, most organizations need a manager to take responsibility for areas of operation, and CX is no exception. The manager would oversee all the aspects of the CX operation. At the time of writing, the average customer experience manager salary sits at around US$60,000. That this is significantly less than – say – a Devops engineer salary (around $100,000) maybe says something about how importantly companies really see their customers!
Other Customer Experience Workers
Naturally, the common role describing terms also turns up in the CX arena. We will find a customer experience associate delivering supporting roles and often working directly with the customers. While the customer experience coordinator may well be focusing on observation, measurement, and reporting on the area. Other job titles are used freely, too; we’ll find CX assistants, officers, and especially in the IT area, we may see CX analysts. Sometimes the titles aren’t too meaningful, but organizations will expect all those working in the CX area to communicate, understand, and interpret customers and their needs.
Senior CX Roles
The real sign that customer experience is being taken seriously in a company is the emergence
of senior roles dedicated to customer experience. For companies where the customer experience is the very core of their business – such as retail, hospitality, and tourism – you may find a Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCXO) sitting on the board and ensuring that corporate strategy takes adequate account of existing and potential customer experiences. Or maybe the head of CX is labeled as the VP customer experience, but again that high grade implies understanding of CX’s significance. And as an example. We see the average director of customer experience salary currently sitting at around $127,000, and that indicates some degree of serious consideration for CX in many companies.
The Customer Side
Establishing and filling customer experience roles within the supplier organization is essential, without dedicated roles, change and progress are less likely to happen. But ultimately, the customer experience also depends on the customer. Encouraging, collecting, and – crucially – acting on customer feedback is the single most powerful tool for progressing good CX. Many organizations will appoint a customer experience representative to closely liaise with the customers and ensure that their views are collected and respected. Perhaps their most important job element is to make the customer truly believe that their views are welcomed and will be listened to.
What’s in a Name
We’ve talked here about some of the customer experience job titles commonly found in the customer experience scene. But, in many of the mostly customer-facing companies, everyone has a role to play. Anyone in a customer contact role – sales, support, account managers, and more – should be trained in what customer experience is, why it matters, and how they can make a difference.