When it comes to Customer Experience (CX) work, it takes a very special type of person to be successful. Consider all the skills required to thrive in the role...data crunching, storytelling, journey mapping, process improvement, change management, strategic thinking, influencing behaviors, project management....the list goes on. It's essentially impossible for any one person to be strong in all of these areas. Could this be part of the reason that a huge percentage of CX initiatives are failing? As a function, we cannot continue this way. Now is the time to learn new skills and apply new techniques as we evolve the CX practice. This urgent need had Ben and I thinking...as a global community of Customer Experience professionals, where do we tend to excel, and where do we have critical gaps? How can we build even stronger teams capable of overcoming the barriers that have beaten us in the past?
To answer these questions, we had over 100 CX professionals take the same personality assessment called 16 personalities. The assessment is based on the science of Myers-Briggs, and it attempts to predict how a person will behave based on their responses. See the chart at the bottom of this post for more on basic Myers-Briggs type indicators. While it is far from a definitive guideline, most of the test-takers were shocked at the accuracy of the results and the self-awareness it provided.
Let's get to the results! The following chart introduces the 16 personalities and shows the percentage of respondents who achieved that type:
It's no huge surprise that one in every five of our respondents identify as a Consul (ESFJ), myself and Ben included. This personality fits the description of what we'd expect in a CX professional....caring, empathetic, loves people, and is eager to help. Two very similar personalities, Campaigner (ENFP) and Protagonist (ENFJ), had a combined 28 percent of respondents. These three types alone represent half of our overall population!
Consider now that Forrester's CX Predictions for 2019 report states that up to 89% of CX practitioners do not believe the ROI of CX is well established in their companies. West Monroe, Confirmit, and many others echo similar findings. The bottom line is that Customer Experience Management as a practice is struggling to demonstrate ROI.
Look again now at the 16 personalities. Ask yourself....which of these might be the very best at linking CX programs to financial results? The ones that stick out for me would be the Architect and the Logistician. Is it a coincidence that these type combined represent only 4 percent of respondents?
This is not at all about one personality type being superior to another. There is no doubt that Customer Experience work requires charismatic social skills to be successful. The idea is that perhaps we can do an even better job supplementing our strengths with personality types that may not traditionally be considered for CX roles. A team with a diverse set of skills is far more likely to overcome the barriers and experience long-term success.
We'd highly encourage you to take the 16 personalities assessment and have your team do the same. Consider what skill gaps you may currently have and if these are contributing to weaker performance. Beyond Customer Experience work, this is a great practice for any team of people working together. DiSC and StrengthsFinder are viable alternatives...choose the resource that makes the most sense for your team and will generate the best dialog.
We know this is a limited data set and its not intended to be an academic paper. This is a light-hearted take on a serious challenge and will hopefully get us all thinking / talking about how we can build stronger experience design teams.
A huge thanks to these CX professionals below who took the assessment and made this post possible! We'd love for you to add your result in the comments! If you want to dive even deeper into your Myers-Briggs type, email Ben Motteram at firstname.lastname@example.org. He's got an awesome "Simpsons" themed resource he's developed that will both educate you and make you smile. 😄
Special Thanks To: