Best Qualities of a Customer Experience Leader


Share on LinkedIn

I’ve been so fortunate to work with some really great people. Many of these were clients who were charged with leading customer experience change within large companies. There are so many challenges in these positions. In most cases, it’s new philosophy, limited staff and authority, and typically a culture straining against the wave of change that is required with a successful customer experience strategy. It also takes a bunch of traits that are often not found in one person. But here I go anyway…my thoughts on the traits a great customer experience leader needs to be, well, great.

1. Flexibility

If CX were an Olympic sport, it would be gymnastics. (Go Team USA!) You have to be ready to adapt, stretch and jump. Seriously, one day you’re reviewing communications because the CEO realized they actually go to customers. The next you’re discussing why there was a 20% drop in online conversions.

2. Business Acumen

If you don’t know your P from your L, or how to get smart about measuring not just transactions but overall implications, then someone else better. Numbers matter, but how to change them matters more. This takes hard core review, critical thinking and game-changing action.

3. Instinct

This one is a little more difficult to judge or even describe. Instinct is what serves the leader who makes a call BEFORE the metrics show there’s a problem. Instinct helps you sniff out a problem to investigate.

4. Communication Prowess

Gathering the information is great, but it won’t do any good if it just sits with the Customer Experience team. Whatever information you gather has to be communicated in ways to make change. Not easy, folks. This is where the rubber meets the road. (And, in my experience, where many CX leaders and teams fail.)

5. Empathy

Finally, it doesn’t make sense to have a leader focused on customers who can’t empathize with the center of that universe. Sometimes a leader has to listen carefully to what customers are trying to say – not what they’re reporting in a survey. Empathy helps the leader decide what actions to take.

There you have it. My short list of what it takes to be a successful Customer Experience leader. What would you add?

Photo Credit: oskay via Creative Commons license

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


  1. Great post, Jeannie. I agree with you all the way on the leadership qualities you cited. If could, I would like to add one more: Vision Setting. In fact, we define a leader as one who has the ability to influence and guide a group of people to a defined purpose/vision—and make it compelling enough for them to want it as their own vision too. And as important as this is throughout an organization, it is especially critical when you are trying to build an amazing customer experience through a group of front line employees, whether it be on the phone in a traditional call center, on social media or in person at the retail level.

    The ability of a leader to cast an energized vision of what the customer experience looks like, what it means to everyone involved and the crucial role the employee plays in making that vision come to life can be the difference between having unmotivated and an uncaring employee carry on a lifeless touchpoint with a customer and an active and engaged employee building an unforgettable experience that builds customer loyalty and commitment.

    Dr. John Miller

  2. Hi John –
    Yes, I agree! Setting a vision is absolutely critical. Many times, the act of exploring customer experience within an organization reveals the lack of a true brand promise. The experience has to be based on something – and if there is no brand promise that is truly understood and internalized, the experience only adds up to what it happens to be.
    Great point. Thanks for adding it here!


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here