Anyone who says it’s a man’s world clearly hasn’t seen the impact women can have on customer experience. As more women flock to customer experience roles and opportunities and bring their unique perspectives and skillsets, it’s becoming clearer that women are in a unique position to lead customer experience.
According to Denise Lee Yohn, a brand-building expert with more than 25 years experience, women have unique points of view that lend themselves well to customer experience. Among those is the natural ability to be empathetic, which is especially important because customer experience really boils down to understanding the customer and what they want. Women can also stand out in a field of men, which gives them more opportunities to shine and share new ideas. As diversity and inclusion becomes a bigger focus at many organizations, not having women involved in customer experience makes companies seem out of touch. After all, women are half of the customer base, so leaving them out of the decision-making process could be disastrous.
I interviewed Denise Lee Yohn on the modern customer podcast. Listen to it here.
That’s not to say that women don’t face challenges in the customer experience space. Some women have to battle with being stereotyped, and not being thought of as credible. Many women suffer from imposter syndrome, at least as they move up in the leadership ranks. That means they don't feel as powerful as they seem and they must fake it until they make it. Society often tells women even in 2017 that their worth is based on their looks, rather than their mind and their work. When you look at the top of politics, of corporations, and even of keynote speaker line-ups, we still mostly see men. Where are the women? We are here, but we face many hurdles uphill, but must support each other in our effort to create more opportunities for women.
Along with personal challenges, inside of corporate America there are challenges women face internally at companies. In many organizations, customer experience is divided across multiple departments, meaning that to truly make an impact, a woman has to be able to influence beyond her scope to people in other areas, and many organizations aren’t currently set up for women to do that. In order to be most effective, many women rely on their content to override the prejudices and use a more logical and analytical approach when discussing customer experience with men.
According to Denise, customer experience is very connected with employee experience—if employees don’t understand or aren’t motivated to deliver a good customer experience, it is much more likely that they won’t. The most successful companies develop an internal culture that is aligned with their brand that then connects that to the customer experience by linking what customers need to what employees need. When employees are treated well and feel valued and connected to the brand, they are much more likely to share those experiences with customers. This strategy seems to work well with women, who often naturally like to make connections between groups and people.
For a woman to break into the customer experience space, she must embrace her differences and channel that unique perspective into something that can contribute to the company. Being deliberate about your career and the skills needed to succeed can make a big difference.
It may be an uphill battle, but women are making great progress in the customer experience space and proving they can connect with customers and drive results in a new way.
Denise Lee Yohn is a fabulous speaker and thought leader and I had a wonderful time interviewing her for my show. She is an important voice to follow.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, speaker and author of the book More Is More. Sign up for her newsletter here.