Are you following CX Oracles or Masqueraders?
Every day, many of us find ourselves slowing to read content presented to us through social platforms like this one. As a global customer experience consultant, my feeds are full of CX, EX, service design, VoC, customer research, business strategy, production and supply, customer service and similar postings. For the past 10 years this has been on an international basis, so my feed of articles and insights reflects this with helpfully translated gems from Poland to Peru, Canada to Croatia and Indonesia to Iceland.
This content can be intoxicating, firing my imagination and evolving my own established methods. I am often inspired by posts, and by those who post them. However, I am also too often engulfed by those who pollute growing minds with ideas and ideals which need a reality check, if they are to be presented at all.
Standing north of 50, I’m grateful for my experience which makes me able to see what’s what quickly. Whereas, as a younger version of myself I would read insights and need to reflect, find validation, furnish my understanding and go again. Both allow me to see through what is posted, but now I can do it in a heartbeat (see Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Blink’).
Hey, maybe it’s obvious to others too? But, I’d suggest not all, as is obvious from the (I assume authentic) comments of encouragement given to some posts.
How to spot a true CX leader
I’ve been considering who I revere and what qualities they hold. I’ve realised there are several ‘CX types’ out there. For fun I’ve categorised them. These CX influencers break through the noise and challenge my assumptions. And CX leaders should always be restless; striving for better outcomes is an endless pursuit after all, so that’s fine with me.
The factors which define the influence are few, and may change for you, but these work for me. Factors such as:
- What they choose to do in CX?
- How much time they have spent properly bathing in the world of CX?
- Where they’ve learned their skills, strength, and stories?
- Whether they are customer-focussed or self-interested (I know its counter to the very concept of CX but it’s very present)?
- And what they choose to do with what they know?
Some of these types positively influence me, others are either scrolled past or viewed from behind the proverbial cushion to see what horror they present. I can look at this in a light-hearted way because I can filter and I have a body of work behind me to prove what good looks like. But I recognise it has a serious side, as others might be blindsided. As ambitious newbies take up the CX cause and commit to their career, they will be less adept at fishing between the reeds for a meaningful catch. They will pick up tin cans and sludge and may assume a ‘catch is a catch.’
The influx of new entrants can have a diluting effect to the confidence of strong practice.
As an example, several years ago, whilst analysing a UK bank’s CX strategy, I was undertaking the root cause analysis of a growing problem for the customer service team; unresolved queries and complaints.
It turned out an influx of untrained, uncommitted agency staff to cover service calls volume growth followed a couple of years of improved experience standards, which helped their reputation for service and attracted many more customers. As the head of CS said, “we needed bums on seats and we crossed that ‘do not cross’ line. We employed anyone rather than the right people, and our customers, our colleagues and our business suffered in exchange for a short-term fix.”
CX is suffering like this too. We are flooded with many new entrants who see CX as a career accelerator rather than a long-term cause. Expressions such as, ‘I love complaints’, ’let’s wow our customers’, or ‘first let’s customer journey map’ are three of many red flags to watch out for (maybe a topic for another blog).
Who inspires you?
So, as you find yourself following CXers (other business types are available) to inspire and influence your own endeavours, be sure to remember there’s no short cut to amassing experience in customer experience. Create your own collection of quality thought leaders and share their messages far and wide, so others who are in the dark or more impressionable can get hooked too.
And of course, please develop your own version this fub. I’d love to see how you picture those who influence you.
Lexden will be collaboratively exploring some of our favourite CX authors of our time, in our rekindled book club. The CX Book Club is open to new members. Our next read will be “From Impressed to Obsessed” by Jon Picoult. Register your interest to join here: https://lexden.mykajabi.com/the-cx-book-club-register-interest
Posted by Christopher Brooks, 20+ years student of CXM