How to Become a Customer Experience Influencer in 2020
The ever-rising demand for digital-first engagement has made customer experience a major brand differentiator in 2020. This demand for customer experience has encouraged an ‘influencer’ culture, which has CX leaders from various industries share best practices and innovative thoughts. Customer experience influencers like Neil Patel, Shep Hyken, and Jeanne Bliss are looked up to for guidance by companies and individuals wanting to provide to their customers moments of delight.
If you are aspiring to become a customer experience influencer, this could just be the right time to jump on the bandwagon. This article can be your starter pack to unwinding the potential customer experience influencer in you with a how-to manual, inspired by top business leaders.
Who is a customer experience influencer?
Customer experience influencers are experts who offer their knowledge and opinions on how to improve customer experiences with insights, guidance, and market data. Professionals in the customer experience sphere look up to these influencers as their virtual mentors, to achieve benchmark customer satisfaction.
Influencers are now a robust pillar of modern learning. In the digital age, influencers have established themselves through their experience and prolific thought leadership as experts across management, marketing, sales, and even recruitment. Customer experience leaders have a steady stream of readers and followers as budding CX practitioners are drawn towards their actionable customer service tips.
Building a story around your professional experience and sharing the takeaways are key ingredients in helping you become a customer experience leader. This path also presents an incredible opportunity for key findings about customers, networking with CX professionals, fruitful partnerships, and exciting projects.
Is the market open to new influencers?
Customer experience is a field that has been going through numerous transformations. It’s not limited to customer service anymore. Besides being there for clients with answers and solutions, influencers usually look at customer experience as a holistic journey – from marketing to acquisition to post-sale support.
With evolving consumer expectations, there’s an increasing need for a transparent community, centered around enhancing the overall customer experience. Committed influencers can streamline conversations through their channels and introduce followers to innovative solutions. In other words, it is a field that constantly needs new voices!
The benefits of being a customer experience influencer
There are many benefits that only a committed customer experience leader can unlock:
- Building your personal brand: Most business leaders wish to become influencers to create a personal brand, which they could use to their advantage. The community you build by delivering value as a customer experience influencer will be a hallmark of your personal brand.
- Learning: Your role as a conversation moderator is going to sharpen your vision so that you’ll be among the firsts to find out about new innovative practices.
- Connections: Influencers have the ability to replicate the magic of networking events on their own platforms. You’ll meet a new crowd among which will be potential partners, mentors, and clients.
- Speaking Gigs & Events: Once your voice gains dominance online, business events like customer service summits and product marketing conferences will want you on their speakers list to address the attendees with leadership sessions.
- Projects: By being public figures, influencers can find reliable partners outside their bubble to initiate ground-breaking projects together.
- Voice: Professionals will start turning to your channel whenever they are in need of information. Your voice will be a trusted source of thought leadership in customer experience, hence building credibility to your persona as a customer experience influencer.
- Feedback: As a professional, you already know how valuable criticism is. Be it on the positive or negative spectrum, your followers will show you the road to improvement.
How to become a customer experience influencer
Now that you know where you stand, it’s time to act. The following steps will help you stay organized on the path to becoming a customer experience expert.
1. Choose the right platform
There are plenty of networking platforms to launch any engaging personal brand. Users’ behavior acts differently from one channel to another. As such, your content has to adapt to these differences.
Given your profile as an industry influencer, your choices limit themselves to business platforms. These are the places where your professional audience tends to be most active:
- Blogging: Blogging never goes out of fashion. Every influencer maintains a blog, where articles go out periodically like clockwork. You can write about evergreen topics in customer experience based on your expertise and global trends. Traffic will follow, but you need a good grasp of SEO to excel at it.
- LinkedIn: Needless to say, LinkedIn is the number one platform for influencers to connect with aspiring professionals. Customer experience leaders showcase insights from their careers, write workaround articles, share customer service tips, and engage followers with immersive discussions through daily posts.
- YouTube: Videos can give your personal brand a huge uplift as people find them more interactive and easier to consume. With good YouTube content, you can give your persona a visual identity that people can remember and come back to. About 65% of users prefer YouTube to solve problems. So, it could be your go-to platform to shape yourself as a thought leader in customer experience with some “how-to” video content.
- Twitter: Twitter has made people good at sparking engagement and encouraging conversations with concise texts. Since the posts need to be to-the-point, this platform promotes clever thoughts and opinions. Twitter is your platform if you’ve got the knack of grabbing eyeballs with short yet transformative content.
2. Do your research
Since you are about to ask customer experience professionals to trust you, doing your homework beforehand is an absolute must. Make sure you are familiar with the latest industry trends and reports. Stock up on books written by niche experts and don’t allow any post to go live without proofreading figures and claims.
However, research is not an end by itself. Influencers use their annotations to frame their own opinions and analysis. To become a successful customer experience influencer, you have to interpret reports and put them in context, in a way that your followers can comfortably absorb.
3. Connect with your followers
What separates a celebrity from an influencer? It’s the accessibility. While the former is exclusive and not easily reachable, the latter has to be 24/7 available and be there for the followers.
This should be the easiest part given your proximity to the customer service field. Customer experience leaders need to stay connected to their followers as they also have the responsibility of helping their communities grow in knowledge. It is the most effective way to show you are worthy of their time and attention. Personalized answers and solutions delivered on time can earn you the loyalty of your followers.
4. Work on a content strategy
At any given time, a content creation plan yields efficiency as well as perspective. If you want to know how to become a customer experience leader with a plan, decide on a content strategy.
First of all, the type of content you are going to create depends entirely on you. However, influencers do not function like websites or bots, focused on one goal only. What makes people come to them is their relatability. Therefore, a human touch is definitely a prerequisite here.
Symmetry and balance have always been a hypnotic lure to people. The 5-3-2 rule answers all preferences and has reported satisfactory results:
- Share posts of experts you admire five times.
- Write three educational pieces.
- Consume the rest of the two posts on personal thoughts and reflections.
This way, your channel will turn into a trustworthy source of customer service news. Not only that, followers will also come back for your curated content.
Next, consistency is the cherry on top. People like having routines. As long as you post regularly at defined intervals, your community can safely blend your channel into their professional lifestyle.
Once people make a decision, take a stand or perform an action, they will face an interpersonal pressure to behave in a consistent manner with what they have said or done previously. – Robert Cialdini
What are the challenges you might face?
To become a customer experience leader, one has to be aware of the challenges as well.
- Overtime: Contrary to popular belief, influencers don’t have it easy. There’s a lot of work involved. They have to cover extra hours of work every day to keep their channels busy.
- Slow start: In the beginning, you might not receive much traffic. It takes insightful content and some marketing skills to sell your persona as a customer experience leader.
- Determination: A profile most definitely will test your will power. Commit to a schedule; find new topics; edit and publish content; stick to brand identity; moderate comments.
To sum up, you have all the tools you need to become a customer experience influencer. Here’s a quick rundown on what your first steps should be:
- Get familiar with pros and cons and reach a decision from which you can’t back down;
- Research social platforms and choose one you’re comfortable with and where it’s likely your audience is active;
- Always stay updated with the latest news, reports, findings in your field;
- Reply to all messages as soon as you see them;
- Shape a content strategy: the 5-3-2 rule is highly effective;
- Don’t forget to take pleasure in what you are creating!