The role of the customer experience (CX) professional is rapidly developing. Want proof? Here is a sampling of job titles from recent CX conferences I attended: director of customer advocacy, customer insights leader, customer experience analyst, chief customer officer, vice president of global customer experience, director of customer listening, and senior customer business analyst.
Perhaps what's most interesting is that very few of these titles existed five years ago.
Without a doubt, the role of the CX professional is becoming more common and more influential in today's corporate world.
So what does the future hold?
I was recently involved in a study released by Walker, called "Customers 2020." The study looks at the future of customer experience, and specifically focuses on emerging leadership roles.
Based on insights from more than 250 CX leaders, it's clear that the scope of their work will broaden in coming years. New skills will be sought to manage large amounts of customer information, and more departments will rely on customer intelligence. In smaller organizations, individuals will wear many hats, and in larger ones, individuals will specialize in particular roles and teams will emerge to support an infrastructure for customer-focused success.
Emerging roles for CX professionals—where do you fit?
Here are seven roles or areas likely to have great influence in your organization. Can you see yourself in one?
Chief Customer Champion. Are you an aspiring executive? Companies will seek more executives charged with creating a relentless focus on the customer throughout the organization. Though only 39 percent of respondents in the Customers 2020 study indicated they have a C-level executive in charge of customer experience, more than 80 percent expect to by 2020.
Customer Strategy Team. Maybe you see yourself on a team with other strategists. This team will consist of individuals from key customer experience areas—sales, account management, quality, support, product management, and other areas. You'll launch initiatives in your area to increase retention, improve customer perceptions, and anticipate customer demands.
Customer Intelligence Advocate. Perhaps you're a good communicator. There will be a great need for increased communication to ensure customer initiatives are understood and a unified focus on the customer is present. You could be responsible for creating awareness and promoting the use of customer intelligence in your area.
Information Architect. Do you have technical skills? The management of data will be critical as more customer information surfaces from a wider variety of sources. You may be the right person to align these disparate sources of insights and provide the infrastructure so employees throughout the company can access the right customer intelligence to help them make customer-focused decisions.
Data Scientist. There will be many opportunities for those with good analytical skills. Executives will depend on accurate business forecasts and strive to optimize the way they anticipate customer behaviors. As a data scientist, you will be relied on to turn big data and predictive analytics into practical sources for anticipating customer needs and prescribing customer-focused action.
Top Account Support. More prominent in B2B companies, strategic accounts will be treated as high priority and customer intelligence will be a primary tool for retaining and growing relationships. If you have good marketing and sales skills, you may work closely with strategic account managers and executives to ensure they receive relevant information and know how to use it.
Engagement Creator. Do you like connecting people? You could play an important role. You'll guide strategic initiatives and develop the programs to connect customers for sharing best practices and providing practical support. Ultimately, you will help lower the cost-to-serve and increase the value customers receive.
Every company is different, and every CX team will be different too. However, it's clear that the future will be shaped by these emerging roles. If you like the idea of being a CX professional, you have some terrific options ahead of you. It's all about finding the right fit.
Patrick Gibbons is a principal at Walker, a customer intelligence consulting firm. You can read his blog at http://blog.walkerinfo.com/blog/engaging-the-enterprise. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.