Assembling the CX team of the future

  • Posted on February 3, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Assembling the CX team of the future

This article was originally written by Avanade alumn Ken Ramoutar.

Virtually every organization these days is giving Customer Experience (CX) some attention, and many are formally building up their CX function. We are certainly on that path here at Avanade. In fact, Forrester predicts that the number of CX executives will grow by 25% in 2020.

As I engage with my fellow CX professionals, we compare notes on our teams and organizational structures. We talk about the role of our CX teams, the make-up of team skills and talents, and the impact our teams are expected to drive. One thing that’s clear: The team make-up depends quite a bit on where you are in your CX journey, yet there are also some common trends. If you are building up your CX capabilities and building out your team, here are a few real-world learnings to consider.

Size your team sensibly
I’ve talked to many CX leaders and one thing is clear – the size of CX teams varies quite a bit. At a recent CX industry event I attended, leaders were lined up by team size. Surprisingly, there are still a lot of one-person teams out there, as well as large-scale teams 10-20 people strong that carry a wide array of skills and remit. The trick on sizing your team really depends on your CX model of operation. Ideally, CX work is not isolated to just the CX team; its goals, metrics and accountability for change is cascaded throughout other functional areas that have an impact on the customer. In this more distributed model, the CX team can be fairly small, tasked with directly managing the CX vision, strategy and strategic programs, and coordinating and leveraging the leadership of other groups such as field or client service, call centers and marketing. A strong governance approach is needed for small teams to have an impact. This also helps make the CX focus a broader cultural shift with much more horsepower than what the CX team alone can bring to bear. 

Analytics fuels the buy-in
Wondering which skills are indispensable? Analytics is one of them. When trying to get your organization to understand how your customers truly feel, understanding where the strengths and gaps of your customer experience lie, and what the impact is of poor CX, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s all about metrics and analytics. In fact, I believe the credibility of the CX team hinges on the quality of your CX analytics. In B2C, and especially digitally heavy businesses, the analytics teams can be quite large and at the center of the CX program. It’s critical to hire and nurture strong analytics talent, people who:
  • can build  up the analytics structures and views your stakeholders need;
  • are curious and continuously seek relationships between the CX data and the business operating data;
  • can help the executive team understand the true impact of CX.

Program management is table stakes; change management is the real job.
Initially in the CX company journey, getting your programs off the ground is a top priority – such as a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program, governance and reporting, and building out your customer journey’s through journey mapping. And… these are tangible CX initiatives that can show that your investments are turning into something measurable and actionable. Strong program and project management skills are essential in the early phases of a CX build. But what becomes evident as the programs get going and the data reveals strengths and gaps, is the need to drive change in the business. 

In fact, my view is that change management becomes the dominant role of the CX team and its biggest implementation challenge. Frankly, if the business doesn’t operate any differently around CX, then it’s just a “check the box” initiative and will have no lasting impact with customers or employees. Change management means employing skills around communications, influence, and facilitation. It means engaging with senior leadership to influence strategy and investments. As your CX program matures, consider how you will beef up the change management skills on your team.

Building out a CX capability in your business means setting up a CX team and structure that will be effective in your specific business operating model. Putting the right skills in place as your CX program matures should be well thought out and intentional.

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