Customer Experience is NOT a fad. It’s here to stay and in fact, CX is a booming profession. I am thrilled because it means people care to create satisfaction for the greater good. Tons of companies are recruiting more than ever to fill CX job functions. More universities are expanding their curriculums to include customer experience as well.
While there’s much demand for talent, how do people get A CX job if they don’t have prior experience?
This is the theme of my conversation with Eric Melcor, who has experienced a rollercoaster ride when shifting his career to CX. Our discussion was fascinating because we come from different backgrounds yet ended up with the same customer experience passion. Eric was kind enough to write about our conversation to provide advice for others who are unsure where to begin their CX journey.
The following summary was originally featured on Elevate My CX.
“Skate To Where The Puck Is Going, Not Where It Has Been”
Eric’s Story: I panicked when I interviewed for my first CX role. Well, it wasn’t the kind of panic like the house was on fire. It was more like the feeling of having the opportunity to speak on stage at the Apollo and addressing a large audience who was there to hear what I had to say.
The worst part was that I had no real CX experience on my resume. No stories I could share of how I was able to improve customer satisfaction rate or how I launched a Voice of the Customer program. And yet, inevitably, going into the interview I had a plan to awe the hiring manager with my desire and motivation for the role which could heavily factor his decision to take a chance on me. Would someone take a chance and hire an individual with no formal CX experience or job titles listed on his resume?
How To Land Your Dream CX Job (With Advice From A customer experience Expert)
Although I had never held a CX position before going into the interview, I did possess a few things that gave me a fighting chance to increase the possibilities of making a stellar impression. For instance, I had internet access. I know, this may not seem like a huge advantage considering just about everyone is online these days. But with Senior Google came the ability to read online customer reviews about the brand and their competitors. Doing this allowed me to have a good understanding of what customers generally were frustrated about, what they liked, and how the company I was interviewing for compared to other companies in terms of customer satisfaction in their industry.
Armed with this information, I could talk about some of the ways the company could improve the customer experience based on actual complaints.I also went the extra mile of showing a table I had put together of the overall online review ratings that the company and its main competitors had on all the major review sites.
In addition to researching the brand’s online reputation, I was able to pretend I was a potential buyer and critique the shopping experience with the brand and a couple of its competitors. By going to the competitor’s websites, I submitted my contact information on their lead form so I could see what the onboarding experience was like. As I went through each process, I recorded what happened along the way and wrote down my thoughts on what each brand did well and what ideas we (the company I was interviewing for) could learn from. During the interview I was able to share my thoughts about the onboarding experience with the brand and two of its main competitors:
- “Competitor A does a real nice job with their automatic email response. The tone, layout, benefits (outlined in bullets), and use of video in their auto email response is first rate. (see below). They also leave an automated (robo) voice mail which helps reduce customer acquisition cost.”
- “Competitor B does a nice job utilizing text. In addition to calling the customer, they follow-up with a text that I think is effective – “Hi Eric this is Joreen with Company B trying to get a hold of you about the form you filled out on our website. Give me a call (877 404-41xx) option 1 ask for Joreen.”
So, with a nice suit, polished shoes and actual examples I could share of the research I had conducted, I set off for my first ever interview for a customer experience role. Would I get it?
Advice From Customer Experience Expert Stacy Sherman On How To Get Your Next Role In CX
Customer Experience is a growing field. Many people like myself “fell into it” years ago when terms like CX and VOC (voice of customer) didn’t exist. Others are now first learning how to deliver customer excellence. CX is a rewarding career path, and I’m so glad you are on the journey. In order to get a CX job or elevate your career, you need to be a knowledgeable thought leader. Here’s a few tips to get you started.
Attend A Certification Course At A Prestigious University
Knowing that Customer Experience is a brand differentiator, various schools are launching educational programs to elevate people’s CX skills. I’ve taken both online and class-room led programs and highly recommend you do the same. You’ll learn all about creating personas, journey maps, measurement, culture, and much more to increase your success in the world of CX. Contact me to learn about my experiences and help you pick the right curriculum that fits your learning needs at schools like University of Irvine in California, George Washington University, and others. Because of my Board positions, I have unadvertised promotion codes that significantly reduce tuition costs. More details here.
Participate In CX Discussions & Find A Mentor
There’s many blogs and communities that offer high-value content, networking, and career growth opportunities. The more articles you read on different CX topics, the more exposure you gain to the language and concepts used in the field. After reading for a while, I recommend reviewing your LinkedIn profile and updating your skills and descriptions. Think about how you can write about your experiences incorporating the industry language and related insights. If you need help with telling your story as you likely have done CX work and not realize it, contact me for coaching. I know what companies are looking for as I hire professionals in my corporate job.
Build Your CX Resource Library
I recommend reading CX Books to help you learn from different experts. Also listen to podcasts as they provide a wealth of information in a short amount of time. Some of my favorites include:
- Shep Hyken’s Radio Show. Listen to us talk about the power of wow moments.
- Crack The Customer Code by Adam Toporek & Jeannie Walters. Listen to us discuss How to Effectively Create a Customer-Centric culture.
- Voices of CX by Mary Drummond. Listen to us discuss CX & ways to engage the front line.
- Amplified CX by Janelle Mansfield. Listen and understand how to leverage Voice of Customer insights.
- My Customer. Listen to the episode about journey mapping, best practices and techniques.
Attend CX Conferences And Online Webinars
I cannot stress this enough. There are many to choose from, no matter what industry you work in today. You do not always need to travel. When you sign up for my newsletter, you’ll get instant access to a top 10 list of reputable CX events.
I leave you with this. THINK about the customer in every aspect of your job. Own it regardless of what industry you work in and what role you have. If you are an engineer, for instance, you are preventing bad customer experiences before they ever occur. If you are a marketer, you are communicating experience promises to the customer to drive brand loyalty and growth. Once you start thinking like a CX professional, you will begin talking like one and people will notice. In turn, this will lead to new profitable opportunities.
Back to Eric:
Did I Land The CX Job?
Going into an interview can be one of the most stressful, yet exciting things any of us ever do. When I landed my first interview for a Customer Experience role, at first, I really had no idea what I was going to talk about. So, with a little creativity and willingness to roll up the sleeves, I decided to put myself in the buyer’s shoes and pretend I was shopping for the project. After learning what others had said about the company I was interviewing for and its competitors, and going through the onboarding experience, I was more than ready to demonstrate my enthusiasm and drive for the role. I could give my opinion on what areas the company was weak in and what needed the most attention.
Doing the simple exercise of researching online customer reviews and pretending I was a customer made preparing for the interview for my first Customer Experience position a piece of cake. And did I get the job?
You bet I did. And once I landed the role, I put the same kind of effort and preparation into creating a CX roadmap and strategy template, but that’s another story.
Eric Melchor is an expert CX Mystery shopper and runs an eccentric customer experience site at ElevateMyCX. Like a bank robber casing a bank, he’ll show you where your online customer journey is vulnerable and how small changes can lead to a lot more sales, less churn, and more engagement. Learn the 31 key touchpoints in a customer journey that a CX Mystery should assess when you download free cheat sheet at ElevateMyCX.com.
Stacy Sherman is a Customer Experience Leader, Strategist, Practitioner and Digital Marketer. She’s known for humanizing business and differentiating brands beyond price. Stacy doesn’t just talk about it. She’s DOING it every day as Director of CX and Employee Engagement at Schindler Elevator Corporation, previously at Verizon, Martha Stewart Crafts, AT&T and other brands. When Stacy’s not at work, she’s coaching, blogging, podcasting, writing for Forbes and Advising as CX Founding Board Member at several universities. She’s on a mission to help connect people and inspire great authentic customer experiences (CX) fueled by motivated, happy employees. It’s the reason she started DoingCXRight®, which is a journey based framework that maximizes satisfaction through a practical approach. It entails both heart and science — combining proven methodologies to create real brand affinity, loyalty, and a competitive edge that delivers results. Learn More about Stacy and her CX mission to help people like you.