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What to do on your first CX role

A CX role is unlike any other role in the company. Customer Experience involves almost everything a company does. In that sense, it is probably the first truly cross-functional role!

CX as a domain is also relatively new right now, with barely a few thousand professionals worldwide. So if you're a professional from sales, marketing, design, support, or operations, who is moving into a CX role, here are my recommendations on what to do in your first month.

Understand the business

This is where everything begins. If you're starting out at a new company, this is all the more important. If you're just changing to a CX role within the same company, this is still important. Most people own a specific set of responsibilities in their role and are generally familiar with only the context associated with their role. The business is a heck of a lot more than that. Talk to people from different functions such as sales, account management, support, marketing, operations, legal, finance, human resources, IT, and leadership (wherever that's possible).

Each of them will be able to describe the business from the lens of their own function. Set up informal one-on-one interviews with colleagues across the company. If you do this well, the amount of qualitative information you gather from this exercise will give you a multidimensional view of the business from the inside.

This might sound like something anyone would do, but you'll be surprised by how uncommon it is. How much gross margin there is in the business will indicate to you how much the company can possibly invest in its operations (including CX). You'll be surprised by how many functions think of other functions as cost centers while they consider their own as a revenue center or critical to the company. You might be able to notice a pattern in what kind of companywide projects get approved, and what kind of risk appetite the company has. I can go on and on, but you get the drift. There's a ton of wisdom lying around, waiting for you to scoop it all up.

Understand your colleagues

Once you understand the business, it's time to understand the human beings behind the business. These are the people you'll be working with, so a personal relationship with them will certainly further your cause. Sure, you won't be able to get a budget approved by getting coffee for the CFO. However, you will indeed be able to understand what she considers risky for the business, and avoid those ideas in your proposal.

Getting to know your colleagues is much easier in a physical office setting. If you're working remotely, that might be a bit harder initially, and vastly different later on. Yet, it is the single most useful thing you can do in your career. When you're honest, approachable, and humble, you won't believe the lengths to which some people will go to help you out. Once you speak with each person, you'll be able to get a feel for who they are and how they think. You might relate to some people more easily than others. Spend more time with the people you can relate to. Then spend time with the other people. It's probably beyond the scope of the first month, but you'll greatly benefit from having a support group of your own at your workplace.

Understand the customer

When you've gathered the facts, and gotten to know one set of people you'll be working with, it's time to get to know the other set of people you'll be working with (for?): customers.

By now, you would've heard from your colleagues how important customers are, how valued they are, how your company's offerings are differentiated in the market, and so on. Speaking with customers will help you validate how much of that overlaps with their experience. In a CX role, you'll always have to listen to customers on one ear and your company in your other ear. The more they're saying different things, the more workload you'll have.

Request for meetings with customers across your base. Try and find customers who best represent every segment your company caters to. This exercise is all about getting qualitative information. Your internal IT systems have all the quantitative information you might need. Ask them direct and specific questions. Be careful to avoid leading questions that stem from what your colleagues have told you already. Transcribe every call and meeting. Compile your findings for reference. This will be a treasure trove of context.

If you've accomplished these 3 things reasonably well in your first month, you would've already made a ton of progress in your role. You would've also developed the 3 most fundamental habits that make a CX professional successful, in my opinion.

When you're ready, start with the customer's needs and expectations. And partner with your colleagues to shape the business. I wish you the best!

This post is a response to Jeremy Watkin's #CXQOTD from here.


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