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Should your CX Head be a Contact Center expert too?

by OmniTouch International OmniTouch International No Comments

The people have spoken – should your CX Head be a Contact Center expert too?

Pretty much everyone would agree that Customer Experience Management and Contact Center Management are both important.

And they’re definitely not the same thing.

With that said, the question is – should your CX Head be a Contact Center expert too?

In this article we share some interesting findings to that question.

The poll I put up

I used the LinkedIn polling feature and here’s the poll I put up:

How important is it that your Customer Experience Head/Chief Customer Officer also be a Contact Center expert?

There were 3 options (where only 1 option could be selected):

• Extremely important

• Moderately important

• Not very important

Before you read further take a moment and choose which one you would vote for yourself.

Now assume that someone asks you, ‘Why did you vote that way?’

What would you say?  Take another moment now to think specifically about why you voted the way you did.

Cool.  Let’s move on.

I chose the phrase ‘Contact Center expert’ for the poll question very deliberately.

Not just someone who likes Contact Centers. Or thinks that Contact Centers are important.  Or has worked in a Contact Center for a long time.

An expert is someone credible that you’d hire – either as an employee or consultant – who can and will measurably bring the Contact Center to a higher level of performance.

We won’t go too deeply into what’s required to succeed in the Contact Center industry. That’s better suited for another post.

But with that said, it’s much more than a ‘passion’ for the industry or even ‘years of experience’.


The poll results

I allowed 7 days for the votes to come in.

And here I share the final results after the poll closed.

How important is it that your Customer Experience Head/Chief Customer Officer also be a Contact Center expert?

• Extremely important 50%
• Moderately important 26%
• Not very important 24%

Total votes received – 235

We also received some great qualitative comments as well, a few of which I share later on in this post.


The role of Qualitative Research

Before I dive into the results, a general comment on Qualitative Research.

Clearly a LinkedIn poll isn’t statistically viable. Results can’t be confidently extrapolated across the industry.

But that’s not the point of this poll. And it was never the point.

Polls like these provide interesting fodder for raising questions and pointing out where additional research might bring more insight.

That’s the power of qualitative research.

And that’s the spirit of this article.


So who were the people that voted ‘extremely important’?

Half of all the Voters chose the option ‘extremely important’, so I decided to dig into the composition of ‘who’ these Voters were to see what I could learn.

To do that I worked with a colleague to look at the LinkedIn profile of each person that voted to determine what they did at work.

Sometimes what someone did at work was obvious – for example Head of Contact Center for X organization. Or Voice of Customer Manager for Y organization.

Other times it wasn’t easy to understand what someone did. Often times these folks used hyphenated job titles such as:

CX | Data Analytics | Speaker | Employee Experience | Board Member

For job titles like these we had to dig deeper into the the LinkedIn profiles to figure out what they actually did.

It took some work but we were able to classify each Voter and here’s what we found.

72% of those who voted ‘extremely important’ that the CX Head also be a Contact Center expert worked in the Contact Center  function themselves.

A significant majority.


What about the people who voted ‘moderately important’?

Of the 26% who voted that it was ‘moderately important’ that the CX Head also be a Contact Center expert, 47% of those Voters worked in a Contact Center role themselves.

The balance, 53% of those Voters, worked in a CX role or as a CX consultant.

About evenly split.


And finally the people who voted ‘not very important’

Of the remaining 24% who voted ‘not very important’, only 30% of those Voters worked in a Contact Center role.

The remaining 70% of Voters who chose ‘not very important’, worked in a CX role or as a CX consultant.


Summing up the results

So while we know that correlation does not equal causation here’s what we can say about the poll results –

There was a positive correlation between the ‘belief’ that a CX Head also be a Contact Center expert and whether the Voter worked in the Contact Center industry themselves.

Or put another way, people that work in a Contact Center role found it more important that the CX Head be a Contact Center expert.

And though the correlation wasn’t as strong, as the percentage of Voters who worked in a CX role increased, the level of importance that a CX Head be a Contact Center expert decreased.


We did receive some interesting qualitative comments from Voters

Here are some verbatim comments received from the Contact Center ‘people’

“I can’t imagine not being a “well-seasoned” contact center manager, otherwise you will end up “well-seasoned” on a spit over an open fire on your way out as a failed CX Officer.”

“Maybe the word ‘expert’ is not the best, but CX Leaders absolutely need to know how best-in-class Contact Centres operate.”

“I voted extremely important not because I think they need to be hands on with the contact centre but they have to know how to influence the contact center managers in the grand scheme of strategic planning. If you don’t fundamentally understand how a contact Center manager goes about their day, you will undoubtedly be destined to fail.”


Here are some verbatim comments received from the CX ‘people’

“And this is the conundrum of CX professionals far and wide 😂 the dreaded contact centre box. CX is further reaching than just contact centre management.”

“Your chief customer officer has to be more aligned with the CEO than the contact centre. Perhaps at a lower level it becomes more important – but a CCO has to be an expert is overall operations, marketing, strategy, product development, legal, HR, etc – before specific contact centre knowledge comes into play.”

“My view has always been that the person at the top of the pyramid can’t be an expert in everything. But they need to have trusted persons who do master the various aspects and who can advise. That doesn’t mean that the boss shouldn’t be a specialist in one or more aspects of the job.”

For me these were fascinating results – both quantitatve and qualitative – and I hope you found them fascinating too.


Thank you for reading!

I appreciate the time you took to read this today! If you’d like to keep up on our articles and other information just add your name to the contact form on our website or simply email me and I’ll add you!

Daniel Ord

[email protected]


Daniel Ord films segments as Emcee of the European Customer Centricity Awards in Santorini Greece.