The World Needs CX Leaders

Customer experience leadership has never before been more important than it is right now. There are many reasons, but let me mention four that rise above all others—including one that may seem counterintuitive.

1. This is a unique journey

One reason effective leadership is so important—and it’s huge—is that finding the right approach is a unique journey for every organization. If you could simply acquire “the answers” on what Customer Experience Leadercreates a great customer experience, leadership wouldn’t be important. Truth is, generic or cookie-cutter approaches—the kind many seek through case studies or benchmarking efforts—just don’t work.

2. Customer expectations are evolving quickly

Your customers and their evolving needs are, of course, another reason customer experience leadership is so important. When customers see or experience innovation in products or services with any organization, they begin to expect improvements from others. They now know what’s possible. Effective leadership is critical to ensure your organization stays one step ahead.

3. Customer experience has an enormous (existential?) impact on your organization

The costs of bad customer experiences are staggering. Given a choice, customers will do business elsewhere—and many will tell others. The steep costs include damage to your organization’s brand, the negative impact of employee dissatisfaction, and others. Get customer experience right or you might not survive.

The good news is, there’s a powerful upside. Improvements that lead to better customer experiences don’t just benefit customers—they deliver substantial returns to your organization. Better experiences come with more efficient operations, more engaged employees, and innovation in products and services that keep you viable.

4. The benefits of the customer experience movement have become widely acknowledged

Wait, what? Yep, it’s ironic, but one of the biggest barriers to improving customer experience is how widespread and pervasive the customer experience movement has become. Most every organization is talking about customer experience. Most every organization believes they are employing its methods and principles. The movement, if measured by recognition, is wildly successful. But actual results can be a very different matter.

As customer experience ideas took the world by storm, hundreds of consultants and researchers flooded the market with books, training programs, and various methodologies. The space became cluttered, and I saw problems emerge. One is fragmented efforts within some organizations. I once discovered three different customer experience initiatives within the same insurance company—each with different methodologies and objectives. As you can imagine, the results were less than optimal.

Effective leaders cut through the clutter. They make customer experience understandable and ensure all who are part of an organization know their role in it. They coordinate efforts and prevent initiatives from becoming siloed and exclusionary.

Excerpt from Leading the Customer Experience: How to Chart a Course and Deliver Outstanding Results by Brad Cleveland.