One of the minor but welcome blessings of 2023 so far is the fact we haven’t had to do a lot of product returns for gifts we gave out at Christmas. There are exceptions, of course, and one of them brought a CX issue to the surface I had never considered before.
A toy we’d bought for my youngest son proved popular, but to the point it got broken within a week of it being opened. We tried to fix it ourselves first, but searching for advice online made it clear there was really nothing to be done. I reached out to the manufacturer via the e-mail that had been listed for customer support, not expecting very much.
Less than a few hours later, I received a reply. The company would be happy to send us a replacement, as long as we provided a photograph and the serial number of the product we purchased.
All of this was very straightforward, when I suddenly noticed the signature at the end of the message. It was the sender’s first name, with the title “Director of CX” underneath it.
My first thought was, “No you’re not.”
It’s possible, of course, that the company’s CX director was trying to keep it real by getting their hands dirty on the front lines. More likely, though, this particular CX director represents the entirety of the company’s CX team – and it’s likely more of a customer service team.
This matters, because CX matters.
If the person who was handling my product return were truly in charge of directing CX, they would be responsible for shaping and helping to execute a strategy. And by “execute,” I mean overseeing, not necessarily answering everyday support e-mails.
They would be building influence across other departments, mapping the customer journey and monitoring and measuring the impact of CX programs.
Giving the person who answered my email a CX director title could be a way of retaining them, if they’re a hard worker and highly competent. It might also be the company’s attempt to communicate to customers it cares about CX (assuming the customers of this toy company know what those letters mean).
A great CX leader should never be above answering customer questions, of course. But if this becomes the bulk of what they do, they’re not really directing CX. They’re managing it. And that’s different.
This is still a young profession, but its titles have to stand for something significant. If they’re given out without really reflecting the true demands of the role, well . . . employers are just toying with you.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.