The Role Of The Customer Experience Manager Explained


The customer experience manager (CEM) is the main responsible for designing the customers’ experience (CX) with a brand. He plans and organizes the way the CX agents interact with the customers and comes up with strategies to optimize those interactions to guarantee customer satisfaction and benefits for the company. 

A CEM primary role is to guarantee that all the customers of a brand are ultimately satisfied throughout their (customer) lifecycle, to the point where their loyalty for the brand increases, and it translates into positive feedback, referrals, and more profits for the brand.

What Does a Customer Experience Manager Do?

the role of a customer experience manager explained

The CEM’s role is in large part reflected in the tasks that he has to perform. Some of those tasks include: 

Linking the Customer and the Brand

The CEM is responsible for making the connection between the customer and the brand. 

Using what he has learned about the customer, the CEM determines the channels through which means they come in contact with the brand and the conditions of that connection. 

He also shows up to the customers as the brand’s representative on many occasions since that builds trust with them and makes the customers feel special, ultimately benefiting the brand. 

Designing Customer Experiences 

CEMs learn about their customers to then design the perfect experience, one that is tailored to the customers’ preferences and expectations.

They are expected to continuously develop new ways to optimize and improve the experience to guarantee that it’s always seamless and effective yet engaging enough to keep the customers interested even after they have reached their end goal. 

Managing CX Agents and Their Job 

In companies that opt for customer experience management, the CEM elects and trains their CX team. Ultimately, the CX team responds to the CEM, and he is responsible for overlooking their job, their tasks and monitoring them. 

For that reason, one of the main tasks of the CEM is being responsible for the CX team and their performance, as it reflects his management and leadership abilities. 

Read my other articles on how to manage difficult team members in case you happen to have one in your team.   

Creating and Developing a CX Strategy

CX is not just about the bridge between the customers and the brand. It also has a considerable marketing component as it influences customer satisfaction, customer retention, and, therefore, future purchases. 

For that reason, it’s expected that the CEM will develop innovative strategies to keep the customer engaged and connected to the brand in a way that benefits the whole. He does that by observing what works and what doesn’t and adjusting it to their customer profile. 

Building Relationships with the Customers 

Like I’ve said before, the CEM sometimes needs to show up as the brand’s representative, whether as a way to refresh the environment and lead by example or when a problem arises. 

That is what building relationships with the customers is all about: showing up, taking up calls, responding to customers’ feedback (negative or positive) and questions, guiding the customers to resolutions, and personally guiding them to satisfaction. 

Collecting Customer Feedback  

Customer feedback is indispensable for CEMs’ work. It’s based on customers’ opinions about their experience, so it’s through it that CEMs understand what their customers go through when coming in contact with the brand. 

Collecting customers’ feedback keeps the CEM on the right track to designing the perfect customer experience. It gives them insight into their customers’ needs and expectations, and it helps them spot any pain points that must be improved. 

CEMs can collect their customers’ feedback by creating a customer review platform on their website or social media pages, reading customers’ comments on these platforms, or even conducting customer satisfaction surveys for the most old-fashioned. 

Collecting Customer Data 

Just like customer feedback, customer data is also indispensable. While it’s not exactly based on the customers’ opinion, it gives the CEMs accurate (metric-based) insight into the customers’ behavior, which helps decode the CX’s efficiency and the levels of satisfaction and customer retention. 

Data is collected using CX metrics. Three of the most popular and effective metrics being: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): 

Used to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty by considering their likelihood of recommending the brand to other people. To calculate it, you must subtract the percentage of detractors (unhappy customers who are unlikely to use your services again) from the percentage of promoters (happy customers who would likely become loyal and even recommend your brand). 

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): 

Used to measure customer satisfaction with a purchase, service, or support interaction through a survey. It’s calculated by dividing the number of satisfied customers (the ones that rated the service as satisfactory) by the number of customers that responded to the survey. 

  • Customer Effort Score (CES): 

Used to measure how easy customer interactions are and how easily customers find a resolution to their requests and issues. It’s calculated by dividing the number of scores (on a scored survey) by the number of people who responded to the survey. 

Customer Experience Metrics

Assisting Other Departments 

CEMs have to assist other departments (just as they help the CX department) and work with them to achieve the best level of service possible. The marketing and sales departments usually need the data collected by the CEM and his knowledge and ideas to develop customer-centered strategies based on the customer with whom they work. 

Departments like customer service, product research, usability, and user experience rely on the CEM to further teach them about the customer profile, as someone who is used to working directly with them when bridging the brand to the customer (and vice versa). This knowledge is crucial for customer satisfaction and the brand’s growth. 

For those interested in becoming CEMs or even those responsible for hiring one, here’s a list of things that qualify them. 

What Makes a Good Customer Experience Manager? 

Besides executing their tasks effectively, there’s more to what makes a good customer experience manager.

Here’s a list of skills that a Good CX Manager should have:

  • Leadership
  • Strong organizational skills
  • Good communication skills 
  • Storytelling skills
  • Relational skills
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Project management skills
  • Metrics and data knowledge 
  • Possessing technical knowledge 
  • Creative and analytical thinking 
  • Interdisciplinary thinking 
  • Good adaptability skills  

1. Leadership 

The main trait that a good CEM must possess is the ability to influence and guide people to a direction defined by them, as both the CX team and the customers need the CEM’s guidance to achieve their goal. 

Although there are many ways this can be done, as there are many forms of leadership, a good leader inspires people to follow them, not through force but rather through positive actions. 

2. Strong Organizational Skills

With so many things to manage and overlook, strong organization skills come in handy for CEMs if excellence is expected. Besides, CEMs must transmit confidence to their team,  of knowing what they are doing.

Since strong organization skills keep things from becoming chaotic, CEMs who possess this skill might get more respect from their teammates and customers and other figures at higher hierarchical positions in the company.

3. Good Communication Skills 

Good CEMs need to be masters in communication to lead their team effectively and by example. They should be capable of listening attentively to their customers’ concerns and what their teammates are trying to communicate. 

They should be able to empathize with their customers and their teammates, and they should be able to remain calm and patient throughout their interactions, as that keeps problems from escalating and allows them to make thoughtful decisions.

4. Storytelling Skills 

Storytelling is one effective way to communicate with customers. It’s engaging and gets the message across without tiring them. 

Good storytelling skills are most valuable in communication between the manager and the stakeholders (where the manager needs to communicate their vision of CX strategies and their effects on the company). They can also serve when training the CX agents. 

5. Relational Skills 

In any area in life, relational skills are critical. With it coming down to knowing how to be on people’s good sides by being trustworthy, reliable, and truthful, it’s no surprise that it would also be a requirement for being considered a good CEM. After all, CX is all about gaining your customers’ trust to gain their loyalty. 

From another perspective, employee loyalty and a bond with the stakeholders can only be achieved by building strong relationships with them, which require an ability to inspire trust from the CEM. 

6. Problem-solving Skills 

When a problem erupts in CX, the one person who everyone will expect to have all the solutions is the CEM. Taking in the role of the CEM won’t come without the responsibility of guiding your team and your customers through problems, and to solutions. 

A good CEM must accept that fact and have a solution-oriented mindset and the extraordinary ability to think of alternatives to most bumps and challenges that their team or customers might encounter. 

7. Project Management Skills 

Project management skills include many of the skills I’ve already mentioned, such as strong leadership, organizational skills, good communication, and problem-solving skills. Yet, much more than that is needed to manage a project effectively. 

A good project manager is a strong leader who possesses both technical and intellectual knowledge to conduct their team to a common goal, with minimum risk and through bases of good communication and the ability to negotiate, all within a set time. 

8. Metrics and Data Knowledge 

Designing the perfect CX often requires that the CEM know how to gather and interpret data through the right metrics, as that gives them an understanding of who their customer is and his preferences. 

Even when the CEM has people in his team who are responsible for data analytics, they need to be in the position of checking their team’s work and teaching them where they are flawed. 

PS. Learn more about the metrics I mentioned previously if you wish to understand more about this topic.

9. Possessing Technical Knowledge 

Quality CX implies technical knowledge, and a CEM can’t lead a team based on knowledge he doesn’t possess. The CEM must be an expert in all things CX to pass the technical expertise that good CX requires to the team, and that’s the only way his position is justified. 

10. Creative and Analytical Thinking 

Creative thinking differentiates someone who follows what’s been set for them from someone who carves their path. Creativity allows the CEM to find new ways to connect to their customers and team and new solutions and ideas to enhance the CX and keep the novelty alive. 

Analytical thinking, on the other hand, makes them more objective in the way they approach problems. That way, a CEM who possesses this trait has a much easier time solving problems since he is prone to identify them and carefully analyze them to the point of collecting key data that will take them to practical solutions. 

11. Interdisciplinary Thinking

A CEM who thinks in an interdisciplinary way is able to consider different perspectives of knowledge in regards to CX, compare and relate them to each other, weigh their strengths and weaknesses and finally, from the perspectives that he analyzed, produce a new one that better suits the type of CX he and his team want to create. 

12. Good Adaptability Skills 

Customers aren’t statical, and their preferences and tastes evolve with time. Consequently, their expectations of their CX are constantly changing too. For these reasons, a CEM should be capable of adjusting and adapting to changes. 

From another perspective, CX is full of surprises. A person who doesn’t deal well with sudden changes and has a hard time adapting wouldn’t fit the role of a CEM who must lead a team positively through the changes. 

Benefits and Challenges of Being a Customer Experience Management 

Betting on managing your customers’ experience as the primary strategy to customer retention has its pros and cons. Equally, being a CEM has its rewards and its challenges.  

Some of the most rewarding aspects of Customer Experience Management include: 

  1. Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty 

A big part of customer experience management is about making the necessary adjustments to guarantee customer satisfaction and motivate them to become loyal to the brand. Therefore, if done effectively, customer experience management can bring this tremendous benefit. 

  1. Customer Retention or Reduced Customer Churn 

By contributing to customer satisfaction, customer experience management also increases customer retention rates and reduces the percentage of customers that have stopped using your products.

After all, if customers feel seen and heard, and their experience is tailored to their preferences, what reasons would they have to go somewhere else? 

Besides, customer experience management reduces customers’ stress, giving them more reasons to stay loyal to your brand. 

  1. Higher Profits 

A company that invests in customer experience management and therefore has many loyal customers is more likely to generate profits than one that is yet preoccupied with gaining customers. 

As statistics indicate,  the odds of selling to an existing customer often exceed 60%-70%, whereas companies are only 5%-20% likely to sell to a new customer. 

  1. Increased Value 

Another benefit of customer experience management is that your brand and services’ value increases in your customers’ eyes to the degree they are satisfied.

This is also part of what causes customer loyalty. Your customers start to believe that they can only get those services from your company and nowhere else. And once you’ve managed to become this valuable to a customer, there’s not much to worry about. 

  1. Excellent Brand Reputation 

Customer experience management may build up your brand’s reputation for its benefits to the customers. Besides that, good customer experience management doesn’t ignore the value of customer reviews and customer storytelling. 

  1. Good and Cheap Marketing and Publicity 

Your brand won’t have to spend much on marketing and publicity if the customers are satisfied enough to spread the word about your services. 

Another point is that customer experience management also consists of customer data collection. That is valuable for your company and marketing team as they can now use the data collected about your specific customer profile in opposition to research to understand the market. 

On the other hand, there are some challenges that brands can encounter when implementing customer experience management. Amongst them:

  1. Communication 

It’s not by mere chance that good communication skills are one of the prerequisites for CX professionals. Communication is a big part of the customer experience, yet it’s a challenge in customer experience management because it includes many dimensions and immense channels. 

On the one hand, companies need to master internal communication, and their CX team must communicate to create strategies effectively. On the other hand, the CEM and the CX team have to communicate effectively to and with the customers and regulate the brand’s message in the CX through multiple channels. 

All of this can be pretty challenging, keeping in mind how complex CX can be. 

  1. Customer Centricity 

Although most companies nowadays recognize the vital importance of customer-centricity for their business, it is almost impossible to embrace a customer-centric vision without any bias like the tendency to do what’s easier and more beneficial for the brand rather than the customer. 

With that, the CEM and the CX team end up being left to deal with the consequences of the brand’s failure to be 100% customer-centric. Additionally, they have the challenge to format their mindset (as well as their colleagues’) to become as customer-centric as possible. 

  1. Maintaining Service Quality 

Guaranteeing and maintaining service quality at all times and across multiple platforms and means is one of the most challenging aspects of customer experience management. 

With so many things to handle, it might be justified that, at times, CEM’s fail to be on top of their team to make sure they deliver the best service quality. Yet, poor service quality must be avoided at all times, just like oscillations in quality, as customers expect to have seamless and homogeneous experiences ALWAYS, and that’s the CEM’s and the CX team’s responsibility before anybody else’s.

  1. Staying Relevant 

Maintaining a brand’s relevance in the customers’ eyes is one of the biggest challenges that CEMs and their teams may encounter nowadays. 

It’s old news that the digital means and the internet have made it possible for anyone to find multiple options for what they want within seconds. Many brands also benefit from the digital means to optimize and improve their offer. 

For these reasons, staying relevant (in the face of competition) can be tricky, especially while CEMs handle and take care of many other things. Yet, there’s no other way of contouring this issue but to make an effort to stay updated and to keep evolving. 

BENEFITS & CHALLENGES OF CX MANAGEMENT
Benefits Challenges 
Customer satisfaction and loyalty Communication 
Customer retention or reduced customer churnCustomer centricity 
Higher profits Maintaining service quality 
Increased value Staying relevant
Excellent brand reputation
Good and cheap marketing and publicity 

It’s clear that the customer experience manager has an important role in the experience that your customers have with your brand. Perhaps after reading this article and analyzing every detail of that role, as well as weighing the benefits and the challenges of investing in CX Management, you’ll be able to decide if it’s time to look for a CEM for your CX team, or not.  

Further Readings 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CEM AND CRM? – Grooming Thought Leaders 

How to Measure Customer Experience.QUALTRICS

Customer Experience vs. Customer Service (The Ultimate Answer) – Grooming Thought Leaders 

Emidio Amadebai

For the past 2 years, I have been working as the head of Customer Experience, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Finance at an international pay as you go solar home system company working in rural areas in Africa. After my previous 7 years working in B2B, IT&Telecoms industry, as a Service Delivery and Project Manager, having worked with Vodacom, Huawei, and other multinational companies. My job is to make sure we improve the lives of thousands of families, with access to electricity, utilities (radio, TV, lights), doing our very best so that they get the best-in-class customer experience, and succeed in acquiring the products for themselves.

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