Did you know that 38% of customers expect customer service agents to know who they are and the context of their customer queries? Customers expect a more immediate and personalized service than ever, and your brand needs to figure out how to provide it.
A customer experience (CX) specialist can be an invaluable member of your customer experience team, ensuring that each aspect of your business is geared to a buyer-centric approach.
CX experts point out sticking points for customers across your organization and help fine-tune the customer experience. Their role covers tracking customer journeys, training customer service agents, helping the IT department avoid technical issues with a software test plan, and liaising with web designers and marketers to create a smooth user journey.
Unsurprisingly, the need for these experts is on the rise. Thanks to recent changes to recruitment processes, brands often find themselves competing to take on experienced specialists without a thorough understanding of the role itself.
If you think a customer experience professional is the answer to your brand’s problems, read on. This article will explain what the role entails, and how to reach out to job-seeking CX specialists today.
What is a customer experience specialist?
First and foremost, a CX specialist is a thinker and a communicator. They take pride in their problem-solving skills. They can connect the dots between departments and create a streamlined plan, then communicate that plan back to each team in such a way that information flows freely.
Customer experience experts are also intermediaries between your brand and its customers. Their role requires listening to and analyzing customer feedback and using this valuable information to inform customer service strategies going forward. They will need to work both on a case-by-case basis and also proactively, getting ahead of problems rather than simply solving them.
For example, a CX specialist might see a trend in customer reviews mentioning slow delivery. While agents may ask “what is a fulfillment center?” The CX expert sees logistics as a crucial part of the wider customer experience. They might collaborate with the fulfillment team to offer improved shipping options. They will then track customer responses and report on the improvement.
Key skills of a customer experience specialist
If you’re looking to hire a customer experience specialist, you’ll want to be sure that they’re truly specialized. Their prior experience should equip candidates with a wealth of relevant skills, but keep an eye out for these key areas of competence:
CX experts need to be able to put themselves in your customers’ shoes, exploring your brand experience as if for the first time, and understanding the emotions that might come up at different points.
From excitement to frustration, buying online is an emotional process, and it is only when someone within your organization excels at interpersonal skills that they can create a true dialogue with buyers. Look for candidates with proven listening skills and strong empathy.
Your CX specialist needs to be an experienced project manager with great communication skills, able to work closely with internal stakeholders to ensure that goals are reached.
For example, if a CX expert noticed business costs rising due to customers abandoning their carts at checkout, they would need to work with marketers, finance, and IT to find a solution that brought down marketing costs or drove up conversion rates.
The customer journey is not a static entity. It is liable to change at any point due to the ongoing evolution of your company, your competitors, and your customer base. A system that satisfied 90% of customers a week ago may suddenly fall short.
The CX specialist needs to work fast on their feet, identifying trends and red-flagging customer issues before customers notice them. They need to see each issue that needs fixing as an opportunity to build a positive customer experience going forward.
You need to be looking for someone with a firm grasp on customer data, from qualitative feedback, such as customer queries, to quantitative information, such as conversion rates and average order value.
While your company may have a dedicated team for data management, your CX specialist will be able to glean new and specific takeaways from the same information. Ensure that your candidates have experience working with data teams and delivering data-driven reports on customer behavior.
Writing a customer experience specialist job description
Talented professionals can be won or lost before you even speak to them, based on the quality of your job posting. This should outline roles and responsibilities, allowing candidates to see at a glance whether they would be a good fit.
Typical job descriptions will describe the following customer experience specialist responsibilities:
The successful candidate will need to create a profile for each typical customer type, and map the entire customer journey through the sales funnel. This customer journey mapping will help to identify gaps between audience expectations and the experience they’re delivered.
The customer experience associate will have to report regularly to internal stakeholders with any red flags or opportunities for improvement. They should be expected to compile and present written reports, as well as interact on an ad-hoc basis in person, via email, and via company messaging.
Collaborating across departments
The CX specialist will liaise regularly with teams including sales and marketing, product design and development, finance and billing, and account management, to ensure that goals are aligned and any issues with customer experience are dealt with. From social media debates to taxes on shipping, the specialist needs to be able to discuss issues with the relevant experts.
The successful candidate should also be prepared to collect, track and analyze customer communications via email, social media, and reviews. They will draw out trends and overriding issues, and measure key metrics to help understand whether fixes are working.
The CX specialist’s top-down view will help them align CX strategies with larger business goals and outcomes. They will work with management to understand these targets, as well as with IT and marketing teams to ensure that the company’s mission is carried through to an outstanding experience.
Interviewing a customer experience specialist
Once you have reviewed your applications, you should have a shortlist of CX consultant candidates ready to interview. Remember, the interview is the part of the hiring process where you can pitch your brand and allay common new employee fears.
It pays to ask a few difficult questions to separate the CX executives from the true specialists. Useful interview questions could include the following:
- What customer experience outcomes do you think we can expect within the next year?
- The answer will help you gauge how well the candidate understands your business goals and current positioning, as well as how driven they are to push that boundary forward.
- How have you helped companies embed CX into their cultures?
- This question not only asks for evidence of a background in customer service but also opens a conversation about CX as a core aspect of company culture rather than simply a tool.
- What customer segments should we focus our CX resources on?
- This sort of question gets down to the fine details, exploring a candidate’s understanding of budgeting as well as customer segmentation and KPIs. This is a chance for them to let their problem-solving skills shine in a real-world case study.
- What metrics do you find most informative when formulating a CX strategy?
- This question tests how readily candidates can discuss the data analysis aspect of their role, and crucially how adept they are at extrapolating information from data into an actionable plan.
Finding the right CX expert for your business is a true test of skills-based hiring. You are looking for someone with the right set of skills and experiences to step into a highly complex multi-channel role that encompasses every team in your organization, yet centralizes the customers themselves.
Filling this role may be a challenge, but having the right customer experience specialist will help build a strong and lasting relationship between the business and the customers. Reset the bar for customer care with a strategy that prioritizes buyers from the ground up.