Customer Experience at a Crossroads: What Drives CX Success?

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Chapter 5

Enabling Talent and Technology

This study found differences in capabilities needed to support CX initiatives. By contrast to CX practices which are about behaviors, these capabilities support but don’t directly drive improved performance.

CX Talent Management

Having the right “talent” is a function of the right quantity (employee time devoted to CX activities) and quality (depth of CX skills) of human resources. Nearly all respondents would like to see improvements in both areas, but Winning CX initiatives are in better shape overall.

Where is More Help Needed?

To assess resource levels, respondents were asked to identify where “the company should invest more of their employees’ time in the CX initiative, to improve chances of winning” – in the CX team and throughout the organization. Just 5% of all respondents reported no additional help needed.

Several patterns become apparent (see Figure 16).

First, for Starting CX initiatives, it’s no surprise that resources seem limited in many areas typically associated with CX – CX teams, senior executives, marketing, and service. Developing and Winning CX initiatives show reduced although still substantial needs in these areas. But sales is a bit different, probably an indication that it’s not a major focus at the beginning of most CX initiatives.

Second, about 40% to 50% of Developing CX initiatives are looking for help across the organization, reflecting more of the shift to improving journeys as discussed earlier. Product development gets added to the staffing priorities already mentioned.

Finally, Winning CX initiatives are better staffed in many of the core areas, with the notable exception of IT, which nearly 70% of respondents selected. One possible explanation is that more advanced CX efforts surface more challenging IT needs, and thus require more staff time. Similarly, HR shows an uptick which may reflect a shift toward programs to improve hiring and employee development to support the CX strategy.

More Employee Time Needed

Figure 16 – More Employee Time Needed

CX leaders and sponsoring executives can use these findings as a source of comfort that most everyone would like more help. But more important, it shows that human resource needs will evolve, and in most cases increase, over time. That’s one more reason to have a solid CX business case!

CX Skills Assessment

Having the right amount of help is important. So are the right skills – especially for a CX team serving as a resource to the enterprise.

The CXPA has developed definitions of six core CX competencies, which form the basis of its certification program. Each skill was briefly defined to survey takers, who were then asked to select skills that are “missing or significantly limited” in their company. The results are shown in Figure 17.

The big picture is that driving change and design/innovation are two top skills missing in at least 50% of all CX initiatives. And, there’s a pattern of declining levels of skills required from Starting to Developing to Winning. Nearly one-third of Winning CX initiatives report no significant skills missing.

A couple of pain points stand out. Nearly nine out of 10 CX professionals in Starting initiatives see significant needs in “Organizational Adoption and Accountability,” which the CXPA defines as: Driving change and developing cross-company experience accountability from the C-suite to the front line.”

For Developing CX initiatives, one hot spot is “Metrics, Measurement and ROI,” selected by half of respondents, compared to just 19% of those at a Winning stage. This further emphasizes a point made throughout this report that it’s critical to show the business value of CX improvements.

Finally, Winning CX initiatives enjoy a huge advantage in “Experience Design, Improvement and Innovation,” with a 34-point improvement over those in a Developing stage. The CXPA defines this skill as including “practices and approaches to continuously improve, design and differentiate customer experiences.” This is consistent with shifts in CX strategy over time to emphasize differentiation over fixing problems and streamlining processes.

Customer Experience Competencies

Customer-Centric Culture: Creating and nurturing a culture, through behaviors, practices and standards that encourage all employees to focus on delivering outstanding customer experiences.

Organizational Adoption and Accountability: Driving change and developing cross-company experience accountability from the C-suite to the front line.

Voice of Customer, Customer Insight and Understanding: Building collective insight into customer needs, wants, perceptions, and preferences through the capture and analysis of the voice of the customer.

Experience Design, Improvement and Innovation: Implementing practices and approaches to continuously improve, design and differentiate customer experiences.

Metrics, Measurement and ROI: Creation and reporting of the measures of CX Winning including their use in business cases to illustrate the ROI and business value of customer experience.

Customer Experience Strategy: Development of a strategy that articulates a clear vision of the experience that a company seeks to create in support of the company’s brand values, including its direct linkage to CX activities, resources and investments.

Source: Customer Experience Professionals Association (

CX Skills Needed

Figure 17 – CX Skills Needed

Technology Satisfaction and Effectiveness

When you couple desired CX attributes like “easy” and “consistent” with a strategic focus on process improvement, it’s clear that technology plays a key role in CXM. Broadly speaking, Winning CX initiatives reported higher rates of technology satisfaction and effectiveness than other segments.

For all respondents, 86% said that technology was “extremely” (41%) or “very” (45%) valuable in enabling CX success at their companies. But satisfaction levels with core CX systems varied considerably between the Developing and Winning segments (Starting segment omitted due to insufficient responses). This suggests that the right technology investments are one piece of the puzzle in the quest for CX success.

Technology Satisfaction

Figure 18 – Technology Satisfaction

Survey respondents in the Winning segment also reported higher levels of effectiveness with technologies used for CX-related capabilities. (Note: Responses of “not at all,” “some extent,” and “great extent” were translated into 1, 3, and 5, respectively, to enable comparison with other questions.)

The biggest gap was found in remembering customer information between touchpoints – a critical foundation for the delivery of seamless customer journeys (sometimes called omnichannel CX).

Technology Effectiveness

Figure 19 – Technology Effectiveness

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