In the United States, analysis from McKinsey reveals that companies leading in CX achieved more than double the revenue growth of 'CX laggards' between 2016 and 2021.
Understanding how to achieve positive CX is therefore crucial in the modern business world, where companies must respond to changing industry dynamics and rising customer expectations.
So, how can you learn the secrets of customer experience success? One option is to explore business programs dedicated to CX, such as the MS in Customer Experience Management at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business. This program can help you to enhance your skills and become an asset to any company.
Creating a positive experience for your customers
Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering, including the quality of customer care, advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability.
Dr. Vivian Phillips Husband, professor of Organizational Change and Management on the MSU Broad MS in CX Management, describes what it means to be a customer-centric organization.
"In any type of organization: a government agency, an entrepreneurial startup, a health insurance company. Customer-centricity is not just how nice you are to the customer. It's understanding who your customer is, and have all your organization's capabilities aligned to satisfy that customer."
For Jason Goodin, a student on the MS-CXM, creating a positive experience for his customers has been his main goal throughout his career. He is dedicated to CX and recognizes its value when staying ahead of the curve.
“I am really motivated by providing an experience and taking care of the customer,” he says. “There's a customer at the end of every trend and a human at the end of every transaction.”
MSU’s MS-CXM is designed to align with working professionals such as Jason. It’s 100% online and intended to be taken part-time. Students complete 15 five-week courses consecutively over the 20-month program, so students never take more than one course at a time.
Before enrolling in the program, for over 24 years Jason worked in various roles at Fifth Third Bank, realizing CX was his calling early on in his career.
At one point, Jason reveals he gave such a positive service to his customer Helen that she watched an entire football game to try and spot him in the stands.
“I knew I was onto something when I had customers like Helen coming back to me directly for advice and assistance,” he says.
Jason took this customer-centric, holistic mindset into every role he took during his career, which led him to become customer experience senior analyst at the bank.
“Throughout my career I gained the skills and chops to start making connections from operations to frontline retail to HR. I brought everything that's important to holistically running a business into a CX role,” he explains.
Gaining a modern skillset
Alongside mounting competition from their peers, companies face disruption from nimble digital-native firms that are targeting their customers with innovative, convenient, and often personalized offers.
This makes understanding CX in the context of the digital world and possessing a modern skillset essential. One way to achieve this is through a business degree that helps you heighten this knowledge-base while also networking across industries.
MSU’s MS-CXM program sharpens participants' ability to adapt to new technologies, industry trends, and customer preferences—skills that are invaluable in the modern workplace, where agility can be the key to staying ahead of the competition.
Courses such as Digital Customer Experience Design and Data Analysis, Integration, and Visualization give students technologically-forward skills, while Employee Engagement and Customer Relationship Management allow them to continue to see innovations through a human lens.
Jason found the MSU program while on the lookout for something that would allow him to further his CX abilities and adapt his considerable experience to fit within the modern business world.
“Our professors framed problems and had a way of looking at a topic that shed new light on it. They illuminated the experiences I have in new ways,” he says.
Vivian encourages students to think creatively, and emphasizes that this skill will elevate a companies' performance when the world inevitably changes.
"Thinking creatively means when customers change, when society changes, when something like the pandemic happens, you're able to help the organization think their way through that change," she says.
Advance your communications and teamwork skills
Effective communication is essential to business success, and this is particularly true with CX. A McKinsey survey found that 71% of customers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions.
Vivian explains how communication can elevate a company's performance.
"One of the core tenets of customer-centricity is having a mechanism to listen to your customer's feedback. For example, during the pandemic, Nissan's structure meant they were able to quickly change and offer a different model for their customers for buying a car."
The MSU MS-CXM program emphasizes the importance of cross-functional collaboration and fostering team-based learning. This allows students to learn through idea sharing, open discussion, and collaborative approaches that mirror an organization or company’s real-world environment.
"It's structured in a way where the students are able to learn from each other. And it makes sense, because they're all professionals in their industry, they have expertise," says Vivian.
This focus on teamwork and collaboration is something Jason highly values.
He highlights that it takes a team behind the scenes to see what customers want from a company and where the company has created gaps, before then translating those customer insights into business action.
“The thing that I love the most about it [the MSU program] is we have different teams for each course. When one student doesn’t understand, others can lift them up,” Jason says.
One particular course that has both fostered teamwork and communication was Experience Analytics where students addressed the concept of lean six thinking.
Lean six thinking involves investigating an issue from various perspectives, in a clear and conflict-free manner. It can be used to move from habitual ways of thinking, encouraging you to try out different approaches and constructively decide how to move forward.
Jason already had experience with this concept before studying at MSU and helped others in the class grasp it. Likewise, in other classes his peers helped him at various points.
“Hands down the best part of it now from an education standpoint is pushing each other further along in our careers. The different perspectives that I've gained from my peers in the classes is so inspiring.”
Since enrolling in the program, Jason has moved from his long term job at Fifth Third Bank to become Director of Member Experience Design at the finance company Everwise Credit Union.
He feels confident that his passion for creating a positive experience for customers will continue to drive his career.
“I'm mission oriented in my work. I really want to see my work make a difference on individuals at the end of it.”