How to be a CXO | Career Guide

Gerald Lombardo

Gerald Lombardo
January 25, 2023 6 min read

The Chief experience officer, or CXO, is an increasingly common role in top companies around the world – around 90% now have one. This number has more than doubled since 2017. Why? Because forward-thinking executives know now more than ever the critical role that overall experience plays in customer loyalty and, ultimately, brand success. Everything from how customers are greeted, to how products are packaged, designed, talked about, and more – it’s all about experience. 

“Experience” is a term largely popularized in the modern business vocabulary by iconic business leader Steve Jobs.

“You’ve got to start with the customer experience,” Jobs famously said, “and work backwards for the technology.”

No wonder CXOs play such an important role in modern tech, retail and other businesses. If you’re interested in customer experience, Popl is here to help with tips, advice, and useful information on how to be a CXO.

CXO

What is a CXO?

CXO stands for Chief Experience Officer. It is a senior-level executive responsible for the overall customer experience within an organization. This may include areas such as customer service, customer engagement, and customer satisfaction. The role of a CXO is to ensure that the company is delivering a positive and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints.

What does a CXO do?

A CXO is responsible for creating and implementing strategies to improve the overall customer experience within an organization. This may include:

  • Developing and implementing customer service policies and procedures
  • Identifying and analyzing customer needs and preferences
  • Monitoring customer satisfaction levels and implementing improvements
  • Collaborating with other departments, such as marketing and product development, to ensure a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints
  • Using customer data and feedback to inform business decisions
  • Developing and managing customer loyalty programs
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations regarding customer data and privacy
  • Managing a team of customer experience professionals

How to become a CXO

The CXO position doesn’t have as “clear” of a path as some of the other c-level positions like CFO. Chief experience officers come from diverse backgrounds in product development, customer service, and even sometimes data science. The characteristic that unites most CXOs, though, is often a focus on high-quality aesthetics and “the big picture.” CXOs don’t just look at things through narrow lenses, they zoom out and see how everything fits together in a holistic way. 

Here are some useful things to consider on your journey to be a CXO.

  • Acquire a strong educational background. At least a bachelor's degree will be very useful. 
  • Develop a deep understanding of the industry, market trends, and the competitive landscape.
  • Build a diverse set of skills, including leadership, strategic thinking, financial acumen, and communication.
  • Build your business network with key stakeholders in the industry.
  • Seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced executives.
  • Proactively look for opportunities to take on leadership roles and responsibilities within your organization.
  • Continuously develop your skills and stay current with industry trends and developments.
  • Be prepared to take risks and embrace change.
  • Be willing to work hard and put in long hours to achieve your goals.
  • Be adaptable and able to navigate ambiguity and uncertainty.

CXO skills

Here are some important skills for being a CXO:

  • Leadership: The ability to inspire and guide a team towards a common goal.
  • Strategic thinking: The ability to analyze and make decisions that will positively impact the long-term growth and success of the organization.
  • Financial acumen: Understanding and managing the financial performance of the organization.
  • Communication: The ability to effectively communicate with different stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors.
  • Problem-solving: The ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative solutions.
  • Decision-making: The ability to make sound decisions quickly and effectively.
  • Negotiation: The ability to negotiate effectively with suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders.
  • Innovation: The ability to think creatively and develop new ideas to drive the organization forward.
  • Risk management: The ability to identify and mitigate risks that could impact the organization.
  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changes in the market and the industry.
  • Technical expertise: The ability to understand and work with the technologies used by the organization.
  • Digital literacy: Familiarity with digital technologies and the ability to leverage them for the organization's benefit.
  • Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand, manage, and express one's emotions and the emotions of others.
  • Cultural sensitivity: The ability to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Ethics and integrity: The ability to make decisions that align with the organization's values and principles.

How much do CXOs make?

what is a chief experience officer?

The salary of a CXO (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, etc) can vary widely depending on factors such as the size and industry of the organization, the individual's qualifications and experience, and the location of the company. Generally speaking, CXOs at large, publicly traded companies tend to earn higher salaries than those at smaller, privately held companies.

According to a survey by Payscale, the average salary for a CXO in the United States is between 180K - 255K annually with chances for merit-based bonuses and other compensations. 

Famous Chief experience officers

Looking to learn from current CXOs? Here are a few great examples:

  • Donald Chesnut: Currently Mastercard’s CXO, Chesnut comes from an impressive marketing background and brings it all together at Mastercard. Mastercard is one of those brands that certainly has a tangible experience. 
  • Jenny Rooney: Rooney brings her vast experience to AdWeek as its first-ever CXO. Her focus has been on a more integrated partnership and global marketing ecosystem.
  • Sherif Mityas: Experience is at the top of the menu at TGI FRIDAYS. This is where Mityas famous experience based work comes in, which influences every aspect of dining or eating at TGI FRIDAYS. 

Best resources for aspiring CXOs

Here are some valuable resources to help on your journey to become a CXO.

  • Professional organizations: Joining professional organizations in your industry can provide valuable networking opportunities, access to industry news and trends, and resources for professional development. Some examples include the CEO Council, CXO Forum, and the Chief Operating Officers Network.
  • Executive education programs: Many top business schools offer executive education programs specifically designed for aspiring CXOs. These programs can provide valuable insights and practical skills for moving up the corporate ladder.
  • Conferences and events: Attending conferences and events in your industry can provide valuable networking opportunities and access to industry leaders and experts.
  • Books and articles: Reading books and articles written by experienced CXOs can provide valuable insights and practical advice for aspiring CXOs. Some must-read books include "The Lean CEO" by John Shook, "Good to Great" by Jim Collins, and "The Art of Possibility" by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
  • Mentors and coaches: Finding a mentor or coach with experience as a CXO can provide valuable guidance and support as you work towards your goals.
  • Online resources: There are many online resources available for aspiring CXOs, including blogs, podcasts, and webinars.
  • Joining a CEO or CXO group: Joining a CEO or CXO group can provide valuable networking opportunities, access to industry news and trends, and resources for professional development.
  • Professional development courses: Taking courses and certification programs relevant to your field can help you stay current with industry trends and developments, and help you develop the necessary skills for a CXO role.
  • It's important to note that becoming a CXO is a challenging journey, and it may take years of hard work and dedication to reach that level. It's essential to

How to be a CXO | Conclusion

how to be a chief experience officer

Becoming a CXO is an interesting and highly rewarding patch. Learn as much as you can about a variety of business disciplines and try to diversify your experiences. The CXO position rewards the person who knows something about many different fields…Finally, do your best to enjoy the process. Landing a top spot like CXO can take time, but that’s time you should spend enjoying. Planning is good, and having a vision for the future is great – but focus on quality work and enjoyment in your daily-life if you want to be certain of your success.


Good luck!


 

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