I came across this article on Yahoo Finance a few days ago. It’s from PR Newswire and the title is “How Many Customer Experience Professionals Will Survive 2017?” It opens, somewhat ominously, this way:
Customer Experience (CX) specialist, and TribeCX CEO David Hicks, recently noted that the statistics in an infographic about survival rates in airplane crashes were almost identical to the rate of job retention for CX practitioners.
Probably not the best analogy there, IMHO, but let’s continue. Hicks breaks it down two ways:
Two trends were found to be particularly similar: of the CX practitioners who said their focus was to encourage their companies to make large investments in CX, only 51% had survived in their role beyond year-2. Of those who described their focus as building proof-points to establish the benefits from CX, 72% survived in their role beyond year-2.
Interesting. Let’s discuss briefly.
The landscape of CX hiring
In my work and what I anecdotally observe? No. If anything, most companies (enterprise, mid-size, and SMB) are hiring more customer experience professionals. I almost see the inverse, in reality. But I do think Hicks has one key point here.
What’s the key point?
If you look at that second pull-quote, it’s an interesting philosophical breakdown of what someone should be doing in the early stages of a CX role; we discuss this on my customer experience podcast all the time. This press release we’re linking sets it up as two possibilities:
- Encourage the company to make large commitments around CX
- Build proof-points to show ROI from CX
In situation No. 1, about 1 in 2 people are losing their jobs after Year II. In situation No. 2, only 3 in 10 are losing their jobs. Obviously, then, situation No. 2 is preferable — which makes sense.
Why is that?
Oftentimes, the CCO role (or other CX roles down the hierarchy) aren’t immediately clear to other executives. That’s why I talk about one-company leadership all the time, and I’m also fond of this idea of “earning the right” to do the work. This study we’re discussing here? It looks like it’s based on actions before Year II is over. No one should be entering a CCO role or VP of CX role and trying to get large financial commitments off the bat. I’m not really surprised that only 51% of people who tried that approach are retaining their jobs. You need to proof-point the process first. Everyone needs to know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how it benefits both (a) the company and (b) their silo. Only then will they begin to understand the work being put in, and ONLY THEN can you make a play for bigger fiscal commitment (headcount, etc.)
Anecdotal but potentially true
Here’s another pull quote from this press release:
But this appears to be more than just numbers. In Q4 2016, Hicks says he received an average of two emails a week from people who had been let go from their CX roles and were “now in transition”. What he finds striking is the similarity of reasons for their departure: “the company ran out of patience”, “the NPS numbers were not improving”, “the company had to cut costs and CX was an easy target”.
I have many things to say here, including:
- Two emails a week isn’t that many, all told.
- “The company ran out of patience” is a common refrain I’ve heard from people I know who were laid off, and that’s unfortunate; companies should have more patience around relationship-building aspects like CX. That said, it underscores that you need a 90-day plan focused on quick wins.
- NPS is a great metric but it’s not the be-all and end-all of CX metrics. Consider introducing the organization to new things.
- It’s hard to avoid the cost-cutting axe, but a customer-driven growth engine is far more sustainable over time than more old-school business plays.
So in sum…
I don’t think more CX professionals are getting fired. The career path is safe! But do you have a relatively short runway to prove yourself? That’s potentially true. It’s all about uniting the leadership silos.