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Customer Experience Skills and Capabilities: Ten Core Competencies for Success

“Who owns the customer?” is a question that commonly arises in discussions about customer experience management at conferences and in online forums. Some say marketing, others say customer service, still others name other departments and functions that traditionally have the most regular direct personal contact with customers.

While any organizational initiative needs to have some degree of executive sponsorship and governance; this “who owns the customer” debate is irrelevant in the context of customer experience. No one person or department “owns” the customer, not even the executives with new customer experience titles. Every single employee contributes in some way to customer experience. A more relevant question is “What do we need to do in order to create positive experiences that change over time as customer expectations change, and that are in keeping with our organization’s vision and goals?”

Asking and answering this latter question means thinking not in terms of which existing department or executive is best suited to lead customer experience, but rather what skills and capabilities are needed to execute on it.

These skills and capabilities, if they already exist in an organization, are unlikely to be within a single department of any business; instead, they will sit in disparate divisions and roles, and the individuals in those roles may have no interaction with each other. This is because customer experience management is a new and complex discipline that doesn’t directly map onto how most organizations are currently structured. Strategy, processes, design, technology, and data are all core to customer experience management, yet traditionally sit in corporate, operations, marketing, and IT without much connection between them.

Introducing the Ten Core Competencies

The practice of customer experience management means that people within those areas need to be incentivized — and in many cases required — to interact and collaborate with each other. At Digital Clarity Group, we recognize that this is easier said than done. To this end, we have pooled knowledge we’ve gathered in interviews and consulting engagements with buyers, software vendors, and service providers over the last few years to understand the skills and capabilities organizations need to execute on a customer experience strategy. We call these the ten core competencies.  

For more information about each of the competencies and why each is key to a customer experience initiative, check our our new report (available for free with registration).

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