Customer Experience

6 competencies of a successful CX program

XM Institute expert, Aimee Lucas, has more than 18 years of experience building successful CX programs. Here she outlines the 6 competencies your business needs to create a powerful CX program.

Mastering these competencies will mean you can go on to fully realize your CX maturity model. So what are the 6 competencies of a successful CX program? Let’s take a look..

1. Lead

First thing’s first: you have to get everybody aligned on the organization’s CX vision and priorities.

Lead as a CX competency is about architecting, aligning and sustaining a successful CX effort. How do you set the direction of your program? Do you have the right people involved in your CX program? How are you engaging leadership with your CX program? Are people bought into your vision?


“It matters because everyone has a clear understanding of the resources required,” says Aimee. “And it means that all your CX activities are coordinated across your organization.

“Everybody’s bought in and leaders demonstrate a strong commitment to the CX program.”

2. Realize

This is mainly about how you’re tracking and ensuring that your CX efforts achieve the desired business objectives. What are the CX metrics that you're defining and tracking? What are the goals you’re setting yourself? What’s the value you’re creating for your company?


It matters because we can show a clear connection between CX and business results. There’s a well-understood set of measures and goals, and there are ongoing adjustments to achieve those goals.

“For CX efforts to have a lasting and positive impact on your organization, they must align with your overall priorities of the company”

3. Activate

How are you activating people within your organization? Does everyone have the right competencies, support and motivation to achieve your objectives? Aimee says that this competency is about upskilling your workforce with the right tools, information, training, and routines to align their routines.


“Activate is important because the CX program addresses role-specific activities,” says Aimee. “And ultimately what your customer experiences is a reflection of what’s happening within the organization.

“CX is not one person’s job — it’s everyone’s business.”

Mastering activate motivates everyone in your organization will be motivated to deliver consistently positive experiences.

4. Enlighten

This competency is probably going to feel the most familiar to CX professionals. It’s about gathering and distributing actionable customer insights across the whole of the organization.

“For example,” says Aimee, “how does your CX team share actionable insights across the business? Is it done in such a way that allows people to diagnose customer pain points? And even more than that can it identify opportunities for improving the experience?”


“When you master this competency, your organization responds to changes in the market faster than your competition,” says Aimee. “It also means that people in your company have access to insights that specifically affect their day-to-day jobs.

“When you master this competency, your program will be delivering highly curated and personalized insights with actionable insights”

5. Respond

Once you bring the data into your organization, you’ve then got to work out how to use it. “This is about how your organization prioritizes and drives improvements based on insights,” says Aimee.

How does your organization prioritize the insights you’ve gathered and use them to drive meaningful improvements across the company? This competency is really about action — this can be anything from one-on-one follow-ups with a specific customer or changing strategic processes.


Key insights are embedded in operational systems and processes. “Insights are now driving decisions across your entire enterprise,” says Aimee. You’ve now reached the point where you’re consistently closing the loop to respond and learn. Insights are readily available.

“When you manage this competency you should be able to systematically use customer insights to make changes and improvements both big and small across the entire business”

6. Disrupt

Disruption is all about experience innovation, says Aimee.

“This is about how you identify and create experiences that will differentiate your organization from everyone else to gain a significant competitive advantage.”


The company is now focusing on customer journeys, not one-off interactions. “Few organizations design customer interactions in a purposeful and deliberate manner.

“In fact, our research shows that only 30% of organizations feel their CX team has strong experience design capabilities.”

However, when you nail this competency, it means that experience design is being used to carefully craft key moments. It means that now “new experiences are thoughtfully introduced to employees and customers.”

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Catherine Thurtle // Content Strategist

Catherine has more than 15 years’ experience in journalism and content marketing, having written for a whole host of magazines on everything from HR and healthcare to finance and fashion. Today, she spends her time bringing breakthrough XM stories to life and finding new ways to tell our customers’ stories.

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