First, a sincere disclaimer… I did not write this post with anyone in mind. Yes, I did a quick search on LinkedIn for present and past titles with the words “customer experience expert” and got 1,050 results on LinkedIn… I understand that the title is a great way for people to find you and a vehicle for connecting with peers… This post is not about you. It is about defining expertise in a profession that is growing and needs our attention to evolve.
I pick on the word “expert” because “expertise” is a very specialized word. When you use it to describe an “expert” it tells you that this person has a more comprehensive and authoritative knowledge or skill in a particular area than other people. That title cannot be self-attributed (even when you recognize it as something you are great at). The “authoritative” component implies that there is an authority who, through the deepest understanding of the subject, has determined that an individual or organization has comprehensive knowledge of that skill. The word “comprehensive” is even more important in this context. It means
“complete; including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.”
That means that a Customer Experience Expert, by definition, is:
“A specialist who has a complete understanding of all (or nearly all) aspects of customer experience.”
The “specialist” element is important to note as well. You do not see professionals like doctors use the term “expert doctor.” To describe a doctor’s “expertise” we describe it specifically through their specialist designation (internal medicine, pain management, etc.). It means they have specific, deeper, authoritative knowledge of the subject through complete immersion in that specialty.
As we welcome 2018 in a few weeks, there are some important questions we should ask about the customer experience profession:
- Who is the designating authority for customer experience?
- Who determines what “comprehensive” knowledge is in this work?
- How do you certify competence (ability, efficiency, continuing education) as this field grows?
- Is “customer experience” the core competency or is it a specialty component of something else? For example, is Customer Experience a core skill we should all attain, but Cx for Retail is the specialty? Is Customer Management the core competency and Cx the specialty?
- How do we collaborate, globally, to answer these questions?
I can’t wrap up this blog entry without acknowledging that, by these standards, I myself am NOT a customer experience expert. But if Customer Experience is about giving customers what they need, making it easier for them to get it, and connecting with them at a deeper level (so I can ask for trust, and loyalty, and feedback)… then I MUST become a customer experience expert. In fact, it becomes an imperative for us all.
What do you think are the skills required for a Customer Experience Expert?
About the author: JC writes about interpersonal and business relationships and the technology that improves them. His books are available on Amazon and other major retailers.