What makes a CX job an actual CX Job?


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When I left my last internal, corporate CX gig to go back into consulting, I wasn’t interested in taking on another full-time job. But a series of continuing interactions with recruiters and start-up founders has made me curious about it so from time to time I poke around on job boards and take a look more generally at what’s ‘out there’ on the CX job market.

If you’re looking for CX work, or if like me you just dip into Glassdoor or LinkedIn Jobs every once in a while just to see what’s up, you may have noticed what I did: It’s like the Wild West out there!

I don’t know if it’s because CX is a relatively young field (or at least it’s become more prevalent lately) or if perhaps “Customer Experience” is becoming popular enough as a term or perhaps a catch-phrase in the business world that it’s popping up more often. But one thing’s for certain: There are a lot of jobs listed out there whose titles at least sound like they’re CX. My first thoughts on this took me back to the trend many years ago where organizations were falling all over themselves to create a Quality Department or Office of Operational Excellence or Business Process Improvement Team and I wondered if perhaps this was another trend that companies are chasing after with varying degrees of success and different levels of actual dedication.

But the odd thing was that not all of these jobs are really about Customer Experience as we practitioners may define it. There were a bunch that you’d expect: Contact center jobs, Customer Service and Support jobs, and the like. Many organizations are simply re-branding Customer Care as “Customer Experience.” That’s great in that CS is an important part of CX. But simply replacing a departing Director of Customer Support with an incoming Director of Customer Experience or just changing the title of the person in that position isn’t quite the same as developing an actual role for CX.

Likewise with UX. I saw some postings that were clearly for programmers but labeled as CX. Again, I’m glad to see Customer Experience becoming something that people are interested in…interested in enough to want to champion it in their legacy jobs. But someone narrowly focusing on coding a website—while he or she should be focused on the Customer—is not really working in the broader sense on CX.

But the most amusing juxtapositions between CX and traditional jobs are the job posts I see for what really are account executives. These stick out pretty clearly if you browse through jobs that show up in a search for “Customer Experience.” Now, in fairness, a lot of these positions actually call themselves “Customer Success.” But they’re still billed as something that’s more strategic and wide-ranging than what they really are: “These are your accounts. Go make the Customers happy.” Here’s a way of seeing it: If the position you’re posting entails a specific list of Customers, it’s not really a Customer Experience position. You may segment your Customers or draw differentiation between different lines of business and have several teams working with the different types of Customers. But that’s not usually what’s going on here. These are basically jobs on sales teams titled as something else.

I’ve seen a lot of different titles, some of which are kinda close: Customer Strategy, Customer Loyalty, Customer Implementation, Customer Success Enablement, Customer Solutions…it goes on. Some of these are actually better described as CX, but perhaps these hiring managers are seeing the glut of CX positions and trying to stand out in the crowd.

I recently even saw one position posted for a Director of Client Experience and Delivery. The “Delivery” part set off a bell that this was likely another one of those account management type positions. But when I read the description, I was scratching my head when the second line of the “Responsibilities” section read: “Support the operations team on matters related to training, professional development, and performance.” Wha? There were things in there about payroll, expense reporting, and “maintain competency in the area of international employment.” The “Qualifications” section was littered with requirements for all sorts of HR experience and familiarity with the tools. Mislabeled? I’d say so.

That last example notwithstanding, there are a lot of cool CX opportunities out there (I even toss my hat in every once in a while myself). That can be a blessing or a burden. Obviously, the more job openings out there for you the better. But if you’re really looking for a CX position, you have to wade through an awful lot of not-exactly-CX jobs to get to the ones we have in mind. That can be kind of overwhelming and time consuming. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at quickly skimming and tossing out the sales jobs and the Customer maintenance jobs to see which ones are actually about building and executing a CX strategy for an entire organization. Feel free to share any tips you may have developed for this in the comment section for those who may be looking.

(Originally Published 20200518)

Nicholas Zeisler, CCXP, LSSBB
I’m a Customer Experience executive, certified Process Improvement professional, Agile Scrum Master, dynamic educator, change management strategist, and in-demand business and leadership coach. I've worked from the inside and from the outside; in organizations large and small; public sector and private; from oil and gas to technology to non-profit (with lots in between too). I've seen a lot, but I haven't seen it all.


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