Questions that surface often, especially as the customer experience discipline and profession become more widely “accepted” or established in organizations around the globe are: “What does a customer experience team look like? What roles comprise the team? Where does the customer experience team sit? Who does it report to?” And more…

Last year, Dom Nicastro, a writer for CMSWire, reached out to me with similar questions, and his research yielded this article: What Do Customer Experience Teams Actually Look Like? I shared with him the following (and more).

What are some of the common or typical roles on CX teams?

  • CCO, VP of CX, or similar title
  • CX admin or CX specialist; a coordinator role
  • VoC program manager, analysts; surveys, data, analytics, insights
  • Customer advisory board manager
  • Communications manager (might be shared with marketing)
  • Process change or improvement specialist/lean specialist
  • Experience design/design thinking/journey mapping
  • CX operations; tools, processes, change management, internal communications
  • Strategist

What’s the role of the CX team?

  • Develop and implement tools and processes to understand customers, e.g., surveys, other listening posts, personas, journey mapping
  • Co-create new experiences with customers
  • Centralize and analyze customer feedback and data
  • Identify metrics to track and ensure those metrics are linked to business outcomes
  • Share the insights from the customer understanding tools throughout the organization
  • Educate the rest of the organization about the customer and the customer experience
  • Align and unite the organization around the customer
  • Ensure that the customer and the impact on the customer is embedded in all decisions, designs and conversations
  • Partner with HR to ensure that employees have a great experience, and to ensure that customers have a great experience
  • Partner with the CIO to ensure that the right data is (a) accessible and (b) shareable; able to get to the right people at the right time
  • Develop the strategy to achieve the desired and intended customer experience

Last week, Forrester shared with me their February 2020 report titled, CX Teams in 2019: What They Do, Where They Report, and Their Size and Budget. It summarizes research they conducted during May and June of 2019 among customer experience professionals. There were definitely some interesting findings that will answer some of the aforementioned questions for you, as well.

Team Size: Just 8% of teams have more than 50 members. The biggest chunk (63%) have 10 or fewer people on the team. One Fortune 500 respondent shared that it was her executives’ goal to keep the team small and “enable the rest of the organization to excel.” This makes sense, as the CX team should be training, educating, socializing (data), advocating, and more, i.e., setting up the organization for success. I have always said – and you know it – that the CX team doesn’t make the improvements; instead, the CX team provides the tools and the data to allow each individual department or area of the organization to do the work that needs to be done and help them (various departments) tie it all together.

Team Home: Only 22% of teams reside in marketing, but a large number of teams report to a Chief Customer Officer or Chief Experience Officer. Largest growth in terms of where the team sits, compared to 2017, was Operations and Other, i.e., CEO, Strategy, Chief Digital Officer, or some other C-level executive.

Team Budget: More than half (53%) reported that their budgets had remained the same in the last 12 months, and 51% don’t expect their budgets to change over the next 12 months, but 36% expect it to increase. Twenty-three percent of teams whose primary focus is CX have budgets of $100,000 to $499,999, while 41% have budgets of $500,000 or more.

Team Responsibilities: Most of the respondents said their primary responsibilities are developing the CX strategy (75%), running measurement programs (71%), and developing the CX vision (71%). More than half of the respondents also reported that they are in charge of experience design, transforming to a customer-centric culture, conducting research, running VoC programs, and establishing CX governance.

Team Skills: only 51% reported that they’ll be hiring more staff in the next year, with the key skills to be added focus on customer understanding and designing new solutions. The top three skills on the hiring wish list include: data science, CX measurement, and design thinking. Interestingly enough, though, business case and ROI modeling skills, critical to success from a variety of angles, were at the bottom of the desired skills list.

Team Success Barriers: failure to get alignment and sufficient cooperation across the organization is the top success barrier, while the challenge to drive the transformation to a customer-centric culture – impacted by the lack of support from the top – is the second-largest obstacle. Inconsistency in building business cases for CX round out the top three success barriers.

Definitely interesting findings in this report. One of the key takeaways is that there is no “standard” CX team model. The second is that building a strong business case is necessary; teams will shrink, customer experience professionals will lose their jobs if they can’t put a dollar value on present and future CX achievements. (While I agree, I also have a few thoughts on this topic!) And, finally, data scientists and folks with strong analytical skills will be in high demand going forward. Making better use of the feedback and data – and linking it to value for the customer and for the business – will bode well for CX teams.

How do these findings compare with your CX team?

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. -Andrew Carnegie

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, speaker, and author. She recently published her first book, Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the “Customer” in Customer Experience (and at the Heart of Your Business); it’s available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. Sign up for our newsletter for updates, insights, and other great content that you can use to up your CX game.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.