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What is Customer Experience (CX) and why is it important to businesses?

By Academy Xi

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We’ve compiled this list of frequently asked questions to help you understand what it’s like to start a new and dynamic career in the field of Customer Experience.

  • Customer experience and why it’s important
  • Customer experience essentials
  • Customer experience skills & software
  • Careers in Customer experience
  • Industry demand for Customer experience
  • Training in Customer experience

Already know you’d like to study CX? Get in touch with our Course Advisors to discuss training options, and check out the upcoming intake dates.

Customer experience and why it’s important

What is Customer experience?

Customer Experience refers to how customers interact with your business at every point in the customer journey, from the first moment they become aware of your brand on social media, to the service they receive from your customer support team.

Built around the principles of Human-Centred Design, Customer Experience is not just a set of actions, but also aims to connect with your customers’ feelings and needs. At every customer touchpoint, the business decisions you make will influence your customers’ emotional responses to your brand and whether or not you live up to their expectations.

Customer Experience is all about strategically planning and optimising every single interaction your customers have with your brand, leading to unforgettable experiences and a loyal customer base.

How do businesses use CX?

As well as the features of a product or service itself, customers often differentiate brands based on their all round experiences with a brand. Customers want to feel connected to the brands they use and, more often than not, will only buy from businesses that take the time to truly understand them. 

All this means businesses are implementing customer-centric Customer Experience strategies to deliver personalised, pleasing interactions at every customer touchpoint. These interactions have a cumulative effect on your customers’ overall impression of your brand, making customer experience critical to your ability to attract new customers and grow a profitable business. 

Customer Experience has the potential to positively impact every facet of a business, from a marketing team aiming to understand the customer’s motivations, to a software team tasked with building a user-friendly website. Ultimately, Customer Experience can shine a light on how you should structure and run your entire business. 

What does a CX specialist actually do?

what does a cx specialist actually do academy xi

A role in CX is multifaceted and normally brings a wide range of responsibilities. Although no two roles will ever be the same, some of the day-to-day tasks that go into being a CX specialist include:

  • Performing customer research
  • Planning customer journey maps
  • Creating customer personas
  • Coordinating different teams
  • Assigning and managing tasks
  • Managing stakeholders, both internal and external
  • Determining metrics for success
  • Collecting and analysing customer feedback data

Customer Experience essentials

What is a Customer Experience strategy?

With many businesses now recognising the need to carefully plan how customers will interact with their brand, it’s commonplace for companies to implement a CX strategy. This involves putting actionable plans into place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across all touchpoints. This will include monitoring key metrics and finding purposeful ways to measure the effectiveness of your CX strategy.   

It’s vital to build a strategy that incorporates all departments, and not just the folks working in customer-facing roles. By drawing feedback and insight from the entire business, you’ll find it’s easier to rally your organisation around its ultimate CX goal – improving all the engagements people have with your brand. 

What is Human-Centred Design?

Human-Centred Design (HCD) is an approach to problem-solving that puts the people you’re designing for at the heart of the process. What distinguishes Human-Centred Design from other approaches is its obsessive focus on the person who will eventually use the design. The aim is to establish whether or not the solution that’s been designed is truly meeting the user’s emotional and practical needs. 

In the case of CX, this process begins with empathy for the people who will interact with your brand, product or service. Your goal is to pinpoint the kinds of experiences they find most desirable, the problems they need solving, and any pain points they’re keen to avoid.  

CX specialists favour the Human-Centred Design process because:

  • It generates a wide variety of ideas
  • It can be used to translate ideas into prototypes and service models
  • It’s iterative and aims to improve designs via customer feedback

By continually validating, refining and improving your CX strategy through a lens of Human-Centred Design, you can discover the root causes of your customers’ knottiest problems and arrive at tailored CX solutions.

What is a customer journey map?

Customer journey mapping is the process of creating a visual story of your customers’ interactions with your brand. You’ll need to be able to map out the customer’s experience as they progress through all the touchpoints, from initial contact and purchase to long-term loyalty and brand advocacy. 

Customer journey mapping helps you to see and experience your business from the customer’s perspective, so you can plan interactions that truly satisfy their needs. Customer journey mapping is a crucial component of the research stage when devising your CX strategy.

Customer journey maps can be used throughout an entire organisation, helping the content team determine what information the customer needs most, or informing the marketing team about the kinds of people that make up their target audience. 

What are customer personas?

Before you can give your customers the experience they really want, you first need to have a clearly defined sense of who they are. Customer personas help you better understand the people engaging with your brand. 

The most accurate customer personas are based on market research and insights you gather from your actual customer base (this might come from sales data, surveys, interviews, etc.). Details incorporated into customer personas might include gender, age, professional background and geographical location, as well as broader specifications surrounding their motivations for using your product or service and the problem they are trying to solve.   

With a detailed understanding of the specific needs, behaviours, and concerns of the people who make up your market, you’ll be able to personalise your all round brand experience and provide customers with the most satisfying outcomes possible. 

Customer Experience skills & software

Today’s CX specialists rely on an ever-expanding array of software to help them go about their work more effectively and efficiently. 

Though there are a broad range of tools and platforms on the market designed specifically for people working in CX, we’ve rounded a handful that many CX professionals use from one day to the next. 

  • Zendesk

Zendesk is one of the most popular CX tools available, offering four products in one cloud-based package: support, guide, chat and talk. Between them, you can do everything from building a customer service portal, to giving your employees a self-service bank of customer service advice. It also offers live chat, a sales CRM function, analytics and reporting, and can be integrated with applications like Salesforce and Google Analytics.

  • Salesforce

Salesforce is a suite of software products that helps marketing, sales and IT teams connect with their customers. The Salesforce CRM has the capacity to bring together masses of customer data, enabling businesses to closely track customer activity. Insights drawn from Salesforce can be used to build stronger customer relationships, improve customer service, speed up response times, and personalise communications, all of which can optimise the customer experience.

  • Freshdesk

Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer support platform that provides a help desk dashboard, an in-built customer chat function and support tools for customer service agents. Powered by AI, Freshdesk’s solutions evolve with the demands of your customers. Freshdesk is a popular choice among businesses aiming to increase customer engagement and maintain positive customer interactions as they scale.

What skills does a CX specialist need?

A successful CX specialist will draw on a variety of hard and soft skills when completing their day-to-day work. The most in-demand skills that anybody aspiring to work in CX should aim to develop include:

  • Empathy

Before you can meet your customer’s needs and deliver a satisfying brand experience, first you need to listen to your customers and empathise. Empathy and listening might be the most important skills in CX, determining your ability to really understand your customers wants, needs and potential frustrations. Without this understanding, you’ll never give them a satisfying customer experience. 

  • Analytical skills

CX professionals use qualitative and quantitative data to build sound, well-informed CX strategies that are based on hard insights. You might need to interpret customer feedback, which could entail sifting through masses of data, while you’ll also need to carefully listen to customer interviews and pinpoint any critical underlying insights.

  • Project management

Implementing a CX strategy often involves coordinating ideas and input from multiple teams. It’s not humanly possible to do it all alone. A CX specialist relies on project management skills to facilitate collaboration and ensure team members complete tasks within set timelines.

  • Communication

CX specialists often work cross-functionally, collaborating with anybody from software engineers, to marketers and the customer service team. Strong communication skills will enable you to nurture meaningful work relationships and align teammates with your CX strategy.

  • Strategic thinking 

From identifying a CX opportunity, to implementing a plan and refining it based on customer feedback, CX specialists are all about thinking strategically. People tasked with improving CX rely on their strategic skills to ensure that all teams, infrastructure and resources are focused on a CX vision.

  • Decision-making 

Inevitably, a range of choices have to be made when leading a CX strategy. CX specialists have to be able to weigh-up options, anticipate probable outcomes and make wise decisions that positively impact a brand.

Careers in Customer Experience

There are a variety of reasons to choose a career in CX. First and foremost, it’s a profession that’s in high demand. These days, businesses in every industry understand that placing the customer’s needs first is a surefire way to be competitive.   

Before you embark on becoming a CX specialist, it’s useful to have a clear picture of what the average career path might look like.

What does a career path in Customer Experience look like?

customer experience careers Australia academy xi

Here’s an example of a typical Customer Experience career pathway, broken down into three simple steps:

Step 1: Land an entry-level CX role

Most Customer Experience careers are kickstarted with an entry-level position. Larger organisations will often hire Associate Customer Experience specialists, who are often freshly qualified in the field. 

Some of an Associate Customer Experience specialist’s responsibilities include: 

  • Conducting Customer Experience research and reporting to seniors.
  • Tracking customer experiences across online and offline channels, devices, and touchpoints.
  • Analysing customer feedback on product and service ranges, as well as preparing reports.
  • Logging technical issues and documenting customer compliments and complaints.
  • Responding to customer queries in a timely and effective manner, via phone, email, social media, or chat applications.

Step 2: Land a mid-level Customer Experience role

The next step in your career might entail landing a mid-level role as a full blown CX specialist. Your typical day-to-day responsibilities might include:

  • Identifying new customer needs and taking proactive steps to maintain positive experiences.
  • Collaborating with IT developers, as well as the production, marketing, and sales teams to enhance customer services and brand awareness.
  • Aligning customer experience strategies with marketing initiatives. as well as informing customers about new product features and functionalities.

Step 3: Land a senior-level Customer Experience role

Once you’ve accumulated roughly 3-5 years of experience in a mid-level position, you’ll have the chance to move up to the role of a senior CX Expert. At this level, your work will become much more strategic, relying on your ability to coordinate the efforts of different teams across a business. You’ll be taking on more serious responsibilities, which include:

  • Managing the work of your company’s other CX specialists.
  • Leading collaboration across cross-functional teams throughout your organisation.
  • Devising, implementing and leading your company’s CX strategy.
  • Managing all important interactions with internal and external stakeholders.

Industry demand for Customer Experience

demand for customer experience specialists

How high is the demand for Customer Experience in Australia?

Delivering amazing customer experiences is one of the best ways to drive sales and build long-term business value. It’s no surprise that CX skills are highly sought after in most industries. A whopping 56% of business executives in APAC countries, including Australia, say that developing a strategy to improve customer experience is one of their top priorities.

There are currently over 6,648 Australian CX specialist roles available on Seek (October 2022). 

It’s also worth remembering that CX capabilities are in demand globally, so wherever you find yourself living, you’ll have work experience and a resume that employers are hunting for. 

How much do Customer Experience professionals earn in Australia?

The pay opportunities for Australian Customer Experience specialists are representative of a role that’s in high demand across a number of industries: records the average Customer Experience salary in Australia at $91,019 per year (or $46.68 per hour). 

  • Even entry-level positions start at $66,774 per year, although there are much higher associate salaries depending on your resume and portfolio. 
  • Experienced CX specialists make $144,917 per year on average.

There’s also a good chance you’ll find working in Customer Experience highly rewarding, particularly at the top end of the profession, with Customer Experience Managers scoring a perfect 5 out of 5 for job satisfaction.

Careers in Customer experience Customer Experience

 How hard is it to learn CX?

Even for a complete beginner, picking up CX is not as hard as you might think. That said, it’s important you begin with a strong motivation to connect with your customers, think strategically and collaborate with other teams. You’ll need to learn how to:

  • Provide organisations with an understanding of their customers using research and data. 
  • Create and implement CX strategies that deliver exceptional customer experiences.
  • Measure and evaluate the performance of your CX strategies through data analytics.

If you’re aiming to get a foothold in the profession, you should consider earning a formal certification in CX. It will be difficult to secure your first role without this, since so many other candidates will have a certified skillset.

Where can I study Customer Experience?  

There are many options when it comes to qualifying in CX. Most employers favour practical skills and a strong portfolio, which means more people are enrolling in condensed bootcamp-style courses, which quickly prepare graduates for the industry. These courses focus on the hands-on techniques and tangible skills that today’s CX specialists need to make an impact in the field.

What CX courses does Academy Xi offer?

Academy Xi offers practical, industry-recognised training that’s designed for digital careers. 

Whatever your starting point, our CX courses offer you the chance to:

  • Design an actionable CX strategy – use it in your current role, or as a portfolio piece showcasing your skills to future employers. 
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of CX theory, including foundational CX, where CX fits in an organisation and how to influence co-workers. 
  • Put theory into practice by working on weekly practical activities and CX projects.
  • Add value to businesses in any industry by learning how to research customers, analyse data and plan exceptional end-to-end experiences. 
  • Future-proof your career with an innately human skill-set that can never be automated or replicated by technology.

Whatever your goals and lifestyle, Academy Xi has a course that’s perfectly suited: 

Not sure which course is right for you? Chat to a course advisor and we’ll help you find the perfect match. 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and training options? Chat to a course advisor today. We’ll help you to find the perfect course so you can kickstart a career in the fight against cyber crime.