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GuidesUser experience (UX)Career guide: Customer experience specialist

Career guide: Customer experience specialist

Last updated

22 July 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

Customer experience (CX) specialists are responsible for improving CX throughout a customer's lifecycle with an organization. CX experts collaborate with sales, marketing, HR, engineering, and product design specialists to fine-tune customer experience and contribute to a high customer lifetime value (LTV).

More and more companies are investing in customer experience departments consisting of several CX specialists with various roles, including leaders, analysts, and strategists. Since focusing on customer experience directly impacts a company's bottom line, the demand for CX experts is on the rise.

Let's take a closer look at customer experience specialists, their responsibilities, and their contribution to an organization's success.

What is a customer experience specialist?

A customer experience specialist is a professional who focuses on the quality of customer experience during their journey with a company. This expert communicates with other departments to improve customer experience quality, share valuable feedback, provide insight into product development, and support effective decision-making.

CX specialists take a customer-centric approach to all of their organization's operations. By studying and paying attention to users, they proactively improve customer satisfaction by helping other departments design revenue-generating strategies.

In a survey of business professionals, 46% of respondents rated customer experience as the top priority for their business over the next five years. So it appears that CX teams are becoming an integral part of successful organizations’ workforces.

What does a customer experience specialist do?

A customer experience specialist is responsible for ensuring a smooth customer experience by interacting with customers, gathering feedback, analyzing customer behavior, and sharing insights with other departments. They can do this by:

  • Interacting with customers across different channels and platforms

  • Gathering customer feedback by arranging surveys and questionnaires and sourcing online reviews

  • Analyzing customer reviews, complaints, and feedback to identify opportunities for improvement

  • Creating reports that identify customer complaint trends and measure satisfaction levels over time

  • Providing reports, statistics, and other analytical data to other departments, including product design, engineering, sales, marketing, and HR

  • Monitoring customer satisfaction rates

  • Identifying trends in customer needs, requirements, preferences, and buying habits

  • Providing data that helps executives make effective customer experience decisions

  • Managing customer issues and making sure they’re addressed promptly

Depending on the CX specialist's role in the company, they can have various responsibilities. Sometimes, the CX team can consist of just one person who wears several hats. They collaborate closely with other departments and source assistance from marketing and sales teams.

A large CX team can consist of several customer experience specialists, including:

  • CX leader or manager – a specialist responsible for creating a CX team vision, setting goals, designing the roadmap, organizing projects, tracking metrics, and collaborating with other departments

  • CX associate – a specialist responsible for executing the customer experience plan, gathering feedback, interacting with customers, tracking customer behavior, and providing relevant data to analysts

  • CX analyst – a specialist responsible for analyzing data gathered by the associates and turning raw numbers into valuable insight and predictions

Other members of the CX team can include customer journey managers, digital strategists, customer lifecycle managers, and many more.

Overall, CX specialists monitor each customer's experience from the beginning of their journey with the organization. They use this information to help other departments improve the experience for potential and existing customers.

Customer experience specialist skills

Forrester's research shows that improving CX by just one point can result in more than $1B in revenue. That's why companies are constantly looking for highly qualified CX specialists with relevant skills, such as interpersonal skills, social skills, and emotional intelligence.

These professionals must interact with customers closely to feel and understand their needs. Skills that make an exceptional CX specialist include:

Strategic thinking

While gathering data about customer behavior, needs, and preferences, the CX specialist has to keep their organization's goals, capabilities, and budget in mind. This requires the ability to think strategically.

For example, if the company’s current goal is customer retention, CX specialists should focus on improving existing customer experience, sourcing their feedback, and taking steps to build their loyalty.

Knowing how to align company objectives with clients' needs and develop a CX improvement plan requires strategic thinking.

Analytical skills

CX specialists need to know how to work with data. Analytical thinking is applicable during all stages of the customer experience improvement plan. These professionals must know how to work with surveys, questionnaires, and other quantitative data collection methods.

They should also know how to collect and analyze quantitative data and process it to provide valuable insight to the rest of the team.

The ability to blend quantitative customer data with qualitative feedback and turn it into insight is what makes an excellent CX expert.

Communication skills

CX specialists collaborate with various team members across different departments. They need robust communication skills to share the knowledge they gain from analytics with the rest of the organization.

Communication is key for each customer experience role. For example, CX leaders must communicate their needs and requirements to the CX team and C-level executives. Meanwhile, associates and analysts must constantly interact with internal stakeholders and ensure they have enough information for further operations.

Listening skills

The key soft skills a CX specialist leverages are listening and empathy. The customer experience team’s goal isn't just to prevent customer issues. It’s also to solve these issues if they arise. That's where the customer experience specialist's listening and empathic skills come into play.

Customer-facing CX professionals need to feel what the customer is feeling and help them solve the problem in an empathic manner. They must put themselves in their customers’ shoes and combine what they know about their company and team to see what needs adjusting. During this interaction, CX experts gain valuable knowledge that helps improve future customer experience.

Salaries of customer experience specialists

Customer experience specialist salaries can vary depending on several factors, including location, education, and experience. The average salary in the United States is around $37,000 a year. But a customer experience leader can make around $75,000 annually.

When you start out as a customer experience specialist, you could earn around $32,000 per year. As you advance in your role and gain experience, your salary could go beyond $50,000 per year. And once you become a CX manager or leader, the numbers can reach $80,000.

Customer experience specialists working for government agencies, such as US Post, can count on higher salaries.

How to become a customer experience specialist

To become a customer experience specialist, you don't need higher education. Many customer experience professionals begin their journey with a high school diploma. However, some industries, including finance, healthcare, and the government, will probably require a bachelor's degree in marketing, communications, business management, or a related field.

If you think you have the right skills to become a CX specialist, you may want to consider taking additional courses to improve your education. CX courses are available in many online schools, including LinkedIn Learning. After finishing a course, you can receive a CX certification that will likely help you impress your chosen employer.

While you’re studying, you need to explore CX and CRM technologies, such as:

  • Customer feedback tools

  • Survey tools

  • Customer analytics software

  • Data management platforms

  • Customer service tools

  • Customer communication tools

  • Customer engagement instruments

Once you finish your education, you can search for a junior position that allows you to gain much-needed experience. Well-paying CX specialist jobs usually require a bachelor's degree and at least two years as a customer experience or customer support specialist.

The outlook for customer experience specialists

Today, 95% of marketing leaders believe that CX job roles are important for business growth. That's why customer experience specialists are in high demand across multiple industries.

If you choose to become a CX specialist, you’ll probably find a well-paying job in the industry of your choice. The importance of customer experience for the company's bottom line drives business leaders to search for exceptional CX talent. If you have the right skills, knowledge, and education, you can expect a position with a competitive salary.

The future outlook for CX specialists is positive. The demand is rising, and more than 50% of B2C companies have a CX team. Some companies are already separating front-end customer service specialists and back-end CX analysts. In the future, CX teams will likely expand and include more roles.

FAQs

Is a customer experience specialist a marketing job?

A customer experience specialist works with marketing, sales, HR, design, engineering, and many other departments. Their goal is to improve customer experience across the entire customer journey and through all touchpoints.

What makes a good customer experience specialist?

A good customer experience specialist has excellent soft skills, communicates well with multiple departments, analyzes quantitative and qualitative data, and thinks strategically.

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