Sudale Search & Select

Looking to form or grow your Customer Experience team?

In my opinion, there isn’t a business or industry out there that isn’t trying to enhance their customer journey and, more specifically, improve their interactions with customers both traditionally and digitally (with the digital being most sought-after experience in the market). So, if you have people in this area of your business that you think aren’t being approached by these roles, I would stop sitting so comfortably!

The demand for this skillset is at an all time high, and as many social housing organisations, construction businesses and travel companies are starting to make huge investments in this space, the competition for talent is huge, particularly as so many companies are seeking to hire talent specifically out of industry.

E-commerce companies remain up there with the “top talent to poach” so what are these individuals looking for? What level should you be hiring at? How can you ensure you retain the key CX talent in your team?

 

Here are some things to consider:

 

A seat at the table.

If you hire an experienced CX professional at a Management to Director level, they want a seat at the table or empowerment in their role. It is important to drive a top down “customer first” culture ensuring that, when big decisions are made, the business is thinking “how will this affect our customers.” When hiring a CX, digital and communications specialist they will always have this mindset so leave, leave them to deliver their pitches top the board, let them define and implement the strategy.

Timelines

Understand what needs to be looked at across your CX platform/ department, the urgency and realistically when you are ready for the change. There is nothing more frustrating than joining a business where it has been sold as a large programme of change to be done within 12-18 months and finding that the business isn’t ready.

Influence

This individual will touch every department/ leader within your business to make the changes needed. This will often involve other teams changing/ enhancing processes, so have an honest assessment of your business. Are the departmental heads embracing change? You will need a very different approach if the team is resistant and often a different person to spearhead the department/ programme. The key stakeholders for anyone in a specialised digital role in CX will have their main stakeholders within your tech team so consider what styles of working will complement each other. An error in hiring here will wreak havoc across your whole operation.

Diversity

The most successful CX teams I have seen really embrace Diversity and Inclusion, especially within a mass market business. How can you get your messaging right if you only have access to ideas from a group of individuals with shared experience? This is particularly important when considering how you communicate with customers through platforms like your website and Chatbots. Consider the profile of your customers and build a team and a strategy that caters to your full portfolio.

 

Agility

How quickly can you adapt to changes in the marketplace? Customer behaviour is constantly evolving as your business grows and takes on a wider portfolio of customers. Sometimes programmes of work that you test to resolve issues throw up other issues that need prompt resolution. Do you have a long sign off process? Are you restricted in what you can do? Be honest about this. The most common reason I see for people moving, is to move to a business with more agility, typically SME businesses. If your business is not agile – do not sell the fact that it is!

Data

What data do you collect? When do you collect it? How? Every process needs feedback at the beginning middle and end. Why customers work with you in the first place, why they continue to work with you and why they stop working with you. Do they get a survey at the end of each of these processes? What percentage complete these? Have you got the data and you don’t analyse it? Have you got a platform for collating the data? Consider how analytical you need this individual to be to do the job well.

Understanding the value

Why are you investing in your CX strategy? Are you looking for a way to elevate your C-SAT, Trust Pilot and NPS scores? Or do you want to be a business that delivers an exceptional level of service? That has a focus on how the customer feels interacting with your brand? You may need a whole new suite of software to get to where you need to be, or you may have everything you need and just the right individual to maximise this for you. However, you may have to make a larger investment than anticipated to deliver your business aims – talk through this in the process! It may be that you need a more senior hire that can talk you through the true ROI from a commercial perspective, who are confident running these campaigns and have done it several times.

The right package

Salaries have been rising ridiculously in this space, as has the cost of living! Whilst salary isn’t the most important factor, if you need someone to lead on/ project manage strategies they are paid amazingly well (after all, done correctly, the commercial impact on your business is astronomical!)

Reporting lines

This is especially important when forming a new Customer Experience department. What is the long term view? For example, you may initially have the role reporting into a Retail Director, if this is where your CX focus is, but what about when the department has outgrown that reporting line? What is next? COO? Many believe that the role of Chief Customer Officer should be a staple for a more customer centric post moving forwards. So instead of that mission to find a new home for your CX department, you should consider a CCO on your Board of Directors. This is seen as much more attractive for Directors, Heads of and Managers coming into your business.

 

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