Although I opened my consulting practice this year, I have been working on customer experience for much longer. The first time I celebrated CXDay officially was only two years ago.
Until recently, in fact, the Customer Experience field has been growing at a rather slow pace. This year there is more to celebrate on CXDay than ever before.
The Customer Experience Decade is Upon Us
There is a palpable feeling that we are at the cusp of the Customer Experience Decade. And it’s more than a feeling. This is backed up by data. By 2022, spending on customer experience technology is expected to reach $641bn.
Big brands are making business decisions based on values. Take for example, Patagonia’s decision this year to sell only to companies with charity elements is just one of the examples of the financial tectonic shifts across industries. Never before did a brand make a strategic partnership decision based on culture and values.
Even government agencies like the IRS are innovating in order to improve the taxpayer experience by offering more self service products.
So what is Customer Experience Day?
Customer Experience Day is the one day of the year when all of us passionate CX professionals celebrate the customer experience field. We do this through initiatives that honor the employees who genuinely care for our customers and the customers who grow our businesses.
CXPA (Customer Experience Association) supports all of us in our events and projects and promotes our work around the world. This year, I decided to mark CXDay by sharing my journey and thanking those who guided me through it. Without those before me, I would have never be here writing this article, running a customer experience consulting shop, and working hard to make experiences across the globe better.
How I Fell in Love with Customer Experience
I fell in love with customer experience on my first day in JetBlue. Of course then I did not know what our field is called. On my desk I had a big basket with all kinds of JetBlue branded items: umbrella, notebook, T-shirt, etc. Immediately, I felt welcomed and appreciated.
I started on a Friday, July 1st, so I could have my health benefits for that month. I had zero expectations in terms of colleagues’ attention. My previous two jobs and internship all involved a first week of solitude and phone set up issues. To my surprise, at JetBlue, my Director spent the entire day with me. He took me out for lunch and spoke to me about the culture at JetBlue and how the customer is the focus of everything we do. I could not believe my eyes and ears. I already had my MBA and knew that HR is the furthest place from the customer. If the “People” department felt so close to the customer, I thought, what would it feel like to be in Marketing and Sales? Little did I know that the People department was the corporate culture engine in JetBlue and the backbone of its differentiated customer experience.
Earning CCXP Certification
Fast forward four years later, I saw the abbreviation CCXP for the first time. I already had worked for 2 years in Marketing, spent more time with JetBlue’s customers, and was Head of Customer Experience for JetBlue for 6 months. While at a Forrester conference in Manhattan, I stumbled upon a speaker with the CCXP title. I quickly googled it and found CXPA. A whole world opened in front of me!
By then, I knew that customer experience was a niche practice, but I never knew that there was an accreditation related to it! For that, I can thank Annette Franz, CCXP – the speaker that day that I met on the phone 3 more years later. One of the first books I bought was Chief Customer Officer 2.0 by Jeanne Bliss, CCXP. I still quote this book and listen to Jeanne’s podcast (not as often as I would like with a baby at home). Without her book, I would have never been able to make my business case for disruption management in JetBlue (another way to say delays and cancellations!). This book is a must read for any newcomer in the field of customer experience.
The Time is Ours – 2020 Here We Come!
Although for the past three years, more people are talking about customer experience, few brands actually know how to practice the discipline. Even fewer have been able to prove the value of prioritizing the customer over the investor (even temporarily). All of that is about to change. We are entering the decade of customer experience actions, POCs (proof of concepts), programs, training, and most importantly, compensation based on customer satisfaction.
So celebrate with us today! Mark the decade for CX. Honor your customers, respect your employees, and keep building your brands. And if you do not know where to begin, do not be afraid. The CXPA and its founders have made sure that there are plenty of me out there to help you build those business cases and roadmaps so you too build memorable customer experiences and make your customers happy!