sign on the sidewalk "passion led us here"
PHOTO: Ian Schneider

Forrester recently predicted as many as one quarter of CX professionals could lose their jobs in the next year.

“We expect that financial services industries will be hardest hit by CX job elimination, especially in retail banking and investment firms. This dynamic will also be important in B2B firms, where executive teams tend to be even more skeptical about the business impact of CX relative to other factors such as price and contractual lock-in,” wrote Harley Manning, Forrester vice president and research director.

We talked to some experts about how CX pros can help ensure they’re among the 75% who stay in the profession.

Acquire New Skills

“Historically, employees have come to the CX discipline from many areas of the business — marketing, customer service, market research, process improvement, and product management, to name a few,” said Eryc Eyl, senior manager, customer and employee experience research at E Source. “The skills that made them successful included voice of customer gathering and analysis, monitoring and measurement and journey-mapping.”

While those skills are still necessary, to ensure continued employment, Eyl recommended:

  • Speak the language of the C-suite: For years, CX pros have gone on and on about increasing customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score and other CX metrics, but faith in the business value of CX isn’t enough. CX professionals need to start translating changes in those metrics to bottom-line dollars to grab and hold executives’ attention and justify continued investment in CX improvements.
  • Collaborate across the enterprise: CX teams often take on every customer-related challenge in the enterprise, or they preach that “CX is everyone’s job.” Those who will be most successful in the future, though, will use their business acumen and collaboration skills to engage their colleagues across the business in the complex work required to meaningfully transform the customer experience.
  • Understand and work with culture: Professionals attempting to “do CX” to their organizations will face frustration and burnout. Those who persist and succeed will recognize that culture is the human operating system on which the software of their CX strategies must run. They’ll use sophisticated tools to better understand their companies’ cultures and how to work with those cultures to increase the success of their CX improvements.

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Work With Execs on Determining KPIs

The Forrester blog said those who manage to keep their jobs will do so by ensuring their metrics and measurements relate to what matters most: KPIs with a dollar sign in front of them. But deeper examination is needed, said Fancy Mills, ICMI director of training, services and content.

“Are the KPIs simply about the impact to revenue or are these KPIs focused on measuring how changing the culture of an organization long-term impacts empowerment, engagement and customer-centric practices? CX is not just about how your customers feel, it’s also about how your employees feel,” Mills said.

KPIs must be agreed upon across the business, Mills added. While the KPIs must be tied to revenue, there also should be a tie to internal initiatives and goals specifically related to EX. Ultimately CX practitioners must ask and answer simply: How do we (not the industry) measure success for our organization.

Mills recommended that the employees who are CX pros tie CX strategy to business goals with executive buy-in at every level. Buy-in can’t just come from marketing or contact center, it must come from every single level across the business. There has to be a documented plan that details what part everyone plays. So often CX programs fail because they sit in one organization with no buy-in across the board, she concluded.

Related Article: How to Convince Your CFO to Invest in Customer Experience

Use Connected Customer Data to Prove Value

“If you are a CX professional having a hard time demonstrating ROI, using connected customer data to power your systems of interaction can be extremely impactful," said Manish Sood, founder and CEO of Reltio. “While there’s a lot of great strategy work happening to improve customer experience across a variety of industries, often it’s happening in silos. And, there’s usually a huge, gaping hole in that strategy: customer data.”

Sood recommended giving customer-facing teams and digital and mobile channels access to holistic, real-time and actionable insights about your customers including their transactions, interactions and relationships.

Ryan Hollenbeck, Verint senior vice president, added that CX professionals should ensure their companies have quantifiable ROI around CX initiatives that:

  • Capture structured and unstructured Voice of the Customer data.
  • Aggregates ROI allowing organizations to map data from multiple sources, create common KPIs, and drive insights.
  • Mobilizes insights for action such as the identification, sizing and prioritization of CX issues from across all channels to optimize ROI on CX initiatives.

“Many organizations leveraging VoC/speech analytics technology have built out a Center of Excellence where they act as an insight factory to slice and dice data to deliver to specific business units to inform and guide business strategies,” Hollenbeck added. “In this way, they are building a coalition and demonstrating their value to every part of the organization."

Related Article: Where Governance Fits in Your Customer Experience Strategy