Mastering the Art of Customer Experience: Insights from the CEO of the CX Professional Association with Greg Melia – E123

Episode released on: 24. April 2023

Mastering the Art of Customer Experience: Insights from the CEO of the CX Professional Association with Greg Melia Customer Experience Goals with the CX Goalkeeper

The CX Goalkeeper had the great opportunity to interview Greg Melia

LinkedIn Headline: CEO at Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA)


00:00 Game Start
00:38 Greg Melia’s Introduction
02:58 Greg Melia’s Value
04:18 The roots of the CXPA
07:43 Focusing on the Customer and not on definitions
11.02 Connecting with the outside world
16:09 Purpose led companies
18:26 Culture
20:40 CX Day
24:23 The Future of CX
27:36 Contact Details
29:28 Greg’s Golden Nugget

and much more

Greg‘s Contact Details:

Greg‘s Golden Nuggets:

  • Take control of your career. Make today the day that you think about what you want to achieve, and what you want to give back to the world and what you want to do with those working hours, (…) and be prepared, because the next impact opportunity for you is right around the corner.

“Take control of your career. Make today the day that you think about what you want to achieve, and what you want to give back to the world (…) and be prepared, because the next impact-opportunity for you is right around the corner.” Greg Melia on the CX Goalkeeper Podcast

#customerexperience #leadership #cxgoalkeeper #cxtransformation #podcast

What did we discuss?

Gregorio Uglioni 0:00
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast your host, Greg will have smart discussions with friends, experts and thought leaders on customer experience transformation and leadership. Please follow this podcast on your preferred platform. I am sure you will enjoy the next episode with the guest I selected for you.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the CX goalkeeper Podcast. I’m super thrilled today because Greg Melia is together with me. Hi, Greg, how are you?

Greg Melia 0:34
Hi, Greg, cross the ocean glad to be with you

Gregorio Uglioni 0:38
The same name. But far away. We have the next episode of this podcast. Thank you very much for accepting my invitation. I’m thrilled that we are going to discuss about the customer experience professional associations. There are a lot of people already there. But we still have potential to grow. And with this podcast, I would like to share a bit more about the CXPA. Before we start discussing about the CXPA, I always ask my guests to introduce themselves so that you can share your career highlights and make understandable for the for the audience what you’re doing. Greg, please welcome to the CX goalkeeper podcast. Could you please introduce yourself?

Greg Melia 1:22
Thank you, Greg, it’s great to be invited on to the pitch. And to have this conversation with you. Today, I’m going to try to work in as many of the European soccer terms that I can think of along the way. But for those who don’t know me, my name is Greg Milia. Cae, which is certified Association Executive. And I have the honor to serve as the CEO of the customer experience Professionals Association, which means that I get to work with CX professionals from across the globe, to help define and raise standards for the customer experience profession, bring people together to accomplish things that they can’t easily do on their own. And to help make sure that we’re raising awareness and respect and celebrating great customer experience that’s happening throughout the world.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:16
Thank you

Greg Melia 2:19
I was gonna say now, you know, a lot of people wonder along the way, you know, what is your career path and wherever you come from, and you can see the books behind me that’s, that’s actually my bookshelf. And most of those books are anthropology and systems theory and some CX thrown in for good measure, trained a social anthropologist at the London School of Economics. And my background really has been in hospitality and working with government consulting. And then in association management, including, you know, the last several years at cxpa.

Gregorio Uglioni 2:58
Thank you very much. I wanted to only to state that we are honored that you are our CEO, I am also a proud member of the cxpa mscc expe customer experience, professional. And thank you very much really for the great job that you did in the in the last few years. And I always ask this question, and I’m really looking forward to listen to your answer, which values drive your life?

Greg Melia 3:29
That’s a great question in our you know, there are a lot of things that come to mind a, you know, giving back intellectual curiosity, and really trying to leave the world in a better place that I’ve been, but I’ll share a little story and you know, I have I have a book, one of the books from the shelf moves the first Sharif and misery for Sharif was a social psychologist who introduced a term called super ordinate goal. And what that means is trying to bit bring people together for a higher purpose. You know, a longer story, which I’ll which I’ll skip for the moment. But that’s what I’m always trying to do. How can we listen to different perspectives, find the common ground and create something that unites us to all work further and farther together.

Gregorio Uglioni 4:18
I think like a soccer team, or in Europe or football team, working together through same target or same goal winning the game. And for sure, we can define what winning the game means. But I think at the end, it’s really a great similarity. Thank you for your introduction. Going to the main topic, the cxpa. Perhaps it’s all about customer experience. Where does customer experience come from? Because the CXPA is here since I think 12 years…

Greg Melia 4:53
Yeah, you know, if we trace the roots of customer experience, I think the first time that the term was used was a article that Luke Carbone contributed to in a marketing magazine in the mid 90s. You know, it traces its roots to the quality management, movie movement, and to really looking at the development of customer relationship management. I think that the foundation and founding of cxpa in 2011 marked a really important time. Because prior to the founding, there were very few companies that had departments or positions that were specifically dedicated to customer experience. Many of them were in consumer management, or in complaint resolution. And what it marked was a shift in mindset, that we should think holistically about the perceptions that customers have across time. And in its early days, cxpa was a community that allowed people to exchange ideas. And it says, we’re talking about the soccer field, I’ll actually use a analogy that the great grandfather of customer experience, Bruce Temkin shared with cxpa at insight exchange a few years ago in New Orleans. And what Bruce shared was that, in the early days of cxpa, customer experience was a little bit like your kids on a soccer pitch. Everyone is out there, we’re all happy because we’re playing the ball. And we’re playing around, but no one’s really headed in the right the same direction. It’s just everybody’s doing their own thing. And when somebody does something cool, somebody else tries to copy it. You know, and Bruce went on to share, and this is the progression that we’ve seen is this, that, then you start developing strategies and techniques. You know, I love Italian soccer, when I watch Italian soccer, and you see these long passes across the field, and these well designed set plays very different than the sort of bully ish American soccer that I grew up with. You know, and so to think about, well, what are the techniques? What are what are the strategies? Nowadays, I think Bruce ended his analogy, by pointing out that customer experience has become much more like an orchestra, where you have a conductor and the CX leader is the conductor, that’s bringing out the strengths and the elements of the different parts and different parts of the orchestra or parts of the organization to create something beautiful to create a symphony that is creating that customer experience. Now,

Gregorio Uglioni 7:43
I think what you’re saying, it’s really interesting. And at the end, we are playing on this field. And I would like to understand for you, how did customer experience change throughout the years because, for example, one biggest learning that I hear this, I used it, they were six now there are five pillars from from the six pillars. And I tried to explain to our board, in my back my former employer, what was customer experience, and with these pillars, I was able to explain to them that it’s not only about creating one journey, or doing this or doing that or doing as you said, complaint management. But it’s a bit broader. It’s about a bit re thinking about the customer from the beginning to the end. What’s your view on it?

Greg Melia 8:32
Yeah, you know, I couldn’t agree more, Greg, the importance of what cxpa in the cxpa community has done to help raise awareness that we shouldn’t be arguing over the definition of what we mean, we shouldn’t be trying to change from cx to a different set of letters. What we should be doing is, is agreeing on the topic that we’re discussing, so that we can then begin to advance the conversation. So I was really, really pleased that cxpa came together and developed what is and a common definition for customer experience and customer experience professional so that we can advance the conversation. So that was I think we did that about three years ago. And then where does that lead to you coming up with you know, one sentence that says customer experience is the perception that customer has of an organization across all touchpoints technology and time, you know, that results in the perception that the customer has of that organization. Agreeing on that and agreeing that customer experience professional is a catalyst that works across the organization to drive those results allowed us to take that space and create the CX book of knowledge 320 Two pages of textbook material that talks about the fundamental techniques, the fundamental theories, the fundamental steps and definitions that are used. And so that’s sort of where we are, you know, there’s a lot of work to be done, because right now, we’ve identified over 120 universities that are teaching customer experience courses. And that’s great. But the next question is, are they teaching the same techniques and information that employers care about? And so that’s why CCXP and the book of knowledge are all based on research of actual CX professionals around the world to say, what do you do on a daily basis? How important is it to your success? And we update that every five years, which is why we went from six, you know, to five, it’s not just a one consulting companies perspective, it is the sense of the community.

Gregorio Uglioni 11:02
What you’re saying, it’s really interesting. And it brings me on to the next question, because I see in LinkedIn, in all these platforms, a lot of discussion, our six pillars, our five pillars, it should be four, I have three that are better than the one of the cxpa, I create my view on that. But at the end, we’re always speaking about the same, putting it in from a bit different point of view. And in our CX community, it was a little little buzzword, everybody’s speaking about customer experience, I can find maintenance on articles about for example, customer journey management. If I go to a CFO, and I speak about customer journey management, the first thing that is telling me and I tried that, because I wanted to tell us that he said, I couldn’t care less about customer journey management, what does it bring to the business? What does it bring to us? That’s the question that he asked. The you are the manager, the senior manager in charge, if you want to use customer journey management, or something different apps to you, I trust you do that, but stop speaking about strange words and focus on what we and what we really need? And based on that, my question is, we are a bit in, in our community, we are always speaking about the same topics, how can we get a better connection to outside of this community?

Greg Melia 12:28
Yeah, you know, so, you know, the first thing is that I take away from, from your experience there. And what you shared is, is that you’re talking with a CFO. And it’s interesting, because all of us have to eventually talk to our finance advisors. And we’ve gotten to a point where everyone knows what the term profit means. Everyone knows what revenue expenses made, no one asks the CFO, I don’t care what method you’re using, because there are accepted standards, you know, so the first thing that I think we need to remember as a community, is when you invent a different model, when you use a different term, when you try to go and do something that is a I think you use, you know, strange terms are in these other terms, you are creating and seeding confusion. You know, if you can go back and you can say, this is the definition from the global society, it is helpful to just move forward on to the next question. And that next question, I totally agree is a huge one for us. How do we make sure that we stay focused on business results and business results are happier customers, happier employees, and a better bottom line? You know, and so, that is something we as customer experience, people have to keep in mind. The goal is never, never to have a higher NPS score or to have a better CSAT. The goal is always to have happier customers, happier employers, employees and happier, you know, bottom is this bottom lines. We might measure that with a piece, but we really have to think what’s what’s the outcome that we’re looking to drive. So how do we make sure that we bring that forward to others? Very important question very dear to cxpa. In addition to the book of knowledge, we published eight monographs back on CX day. And those monographs are all designed to help a CX professional talk with their counterparts throughout the organization, whether it is building more effective collaboration with the C suite, or with the finance department or with marketing. Each monograph helps you as a CX leader, better understand what’s important to that department, what their terms and their measures are, and ways that you can work with them. So a great way to build success on one side is to to build it from within the organization. The second way is to make sure that when we have an opportunity, we are pointing the general public back to the broad definition of CX, rather than the occasional misuses, you know, so I know how frustrating it is when you have a bad customer service exchange. But don’t post that on LinkedIn and say, This is an example of bad customer experience. It best say this is a byproduct of a customer experience product design that isn’t working correctly. But when you use the term customer experience interchangeably, with a magical marketing moment, or with a customer service breakdown, you are failing to focus on the fact that customer experience is a business management discipline that’s designed to create consistent results over time. It is not one interchange, it is the perception that is formed across all of those interchanges.

Gregorio Uglioni 16:09
And I think what what you’re saying brings me also, to think about that, please allow me to say that we as customer experience professional, we need also to align what we are doing with the purpose of the company with the vision of the company. And perhaps could you share also your view about this purpose led companies.

Greg Melia 16:29
I love that, and I want 100% of great, you know, there’s a lot of conversation at the moment, about customer experience, experience, employee experience, brand experience, connecting to purpose. And, you know, as I said earlier, we have to keep in mind that the outcome we’re looking for are happy customers, happy employees, and better business results. And that comes through a number of different features and a number of different spaces. But let me give you a practical example. Yesterday, Roxy Stroh Menger, at UK GE, posted to the UK GE blog, talking about the importance of empathy across the organization, not just to employees, but also to the values that the company has. And that’s what we can bring as customer experience professionals to take the world we live in to the next level, is to make better outcomes for all customers, you know, for all potential customers and customers thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion, you know, there as well. Thinking about the way that we make sure that the commitment to customers is known and supported in the C suite. And think about how we create better employee experiences. Well, you know, and one piece of advice for anyone who’s listening in at the moment, if you find that your commitment to customers is not in line with your organization’s brand commitment to customers, you probably need to start looking for your next job. You know, it’s not going to be sustainable for you on your mental health. And it’s probably not going to be supported. Your CX initiatives are probably not going to be supported. If your brand doesn’t have the same values that you do.

Gregorio Uglioni 18:26
Yeah, and based on if you’re speaking about values, top management support, and then brand purpose, then I need to ask this question, what was the role of the culture in a company? Oh, yeah.

Greg Melia 18:40
The, I think that this is actually it may be the space I should have answered. When you asked earlier about what’s changed with with customer experience. You know, if you if you rolled the clock back, probably even just five years. The big buzzword at that time was customer centricity. You know, and there was the thought that if you just focus everything on the customer, that everything will be solved. And it’s important. customer centricity is very important. But it’s not enough if you don’t bring forward the culture as well. How do we balance the way that we treat our employees, the way that we develop our employees, the way that we empower and share information with our employees to allow them to deliver the great customer experience? How do we hold our brand values in terms of what is fair, what is right, what is equitable? what is just and that is, you know, both across our customer levels, and our place and being in the community, and so, the culture is one of those core pillars, you know, and, you know, I’d have to say that what’s interesting about the culture pillar is that it is the one that requires the most advanced form of leadership change management leadership, and that it requires the greatest amount of collaboration, you know, to the C suite and, and to others, and it’s why CX professionals shouldn’t view themselves as superheroes that wear a cape and swoop in to break fix a problem. You know, they should instead view themselves as strong, empathetic humans that work alongside other great teammates throughout the organization. And we should be looking to, of course, always hold up the customer, but always hold up our teammates and talk about how they’re helping to create the success along the way.

Gregorio Uglioni 20:40
I think you are perfectly describing also the role of a C CX professional, because we cannot solve everything, we cannot continue only trying to push water Hubble’s trying to explain to everybody, we have also this this education role. And this is something that what the cxpa is really supporting us with the with the great community with the books that you shared, and you and you mentioned, and one important thing is also sharing experiences, and I’m thinking about the CX day now it’s we are having that since several years, if I remember, well, and please, if I see something wrong, please correct me 2021 The motto was CX is a team sport. Last year is Cx drive success. And and could you please elaborate about about the CX day and how the CXPA created this? This this idea?

Greg Melia 21:35
Yeah. So CX day, first Tuesday in October, you know, tremendous vision, you know, by the cxpa board, and early leaders to say we should have a day where we not only recognize the CX leaders that are driving success, but we also celebrate the customers, and we celebrate the teammates, who are helping to create a better world. And so it is another space to engage and inspire, I think are the terms that I would use your entire organization, in thinking about the difference that customer experience has made for your organization, and to also encourage CX professionals to do more. And to be more successful, you know, along the way, by highlighting the great work, you know, that has been done cxpa on on CX day. cxpa always develops that theme. You know, I will not announced the theme for 2023. Today, but I will invite you know the viewers to drop me an email at Greg at cxpa If you have a interest in getting involved in the planning, Percy extec. With that theme, what we look to do is we look to give companies an organizing framework cxpa networks an organizing framework, and to create some communication strategies to the general public. During the course of CX day, many companies will host internal appreciations. Sometimes the CEO will record a message about the importance, sometimes they’ll bring together frontline staff and executive staff. Sometimes they’ll do thank you initiatives for key customers. But cxpa itself, it always loves that day, because we also announced our impact award winners and our Emerging Leaders class on CX day as well. So this year, we’ll be introducing the new award. And the award will be based on collaboration. And so we will be looking to put a spotlight on particularly effective collaborations between the CX team and either another department within their organization, with a customer or with a supporting organization outside that has allowed the organization to better serve its customers by working together with others.

Gregorio Uglioni 24:23
Oh, that’s that’s really interesting. Thank you for sharing that on on this podcast. We are very much looking for what what will will what will happen at the CX day and what the theme will be and not looking only in in October this year, but looking in the future. In 10 years from now we are back on the CX goalkeeper podcast and we are discussing about customer experience, perhaps you have a bit of a different role, but what we are going to discuss about

Greg Melia 24:51
Yeah, you know, so a couple things that that I would be be hopeful for in 10 years. First and foremost is a renewed commitment of the board of directors, which is that in 10 years, that CX will be a known, established and respected career path, so that doing people when we’re talking to our next generation, you know, our kids, our friends, kids and things that people are thinking, I want to grow up and be a CX professional. That’s the space that I want to be. So that’s one half. The second half is, is that we want to ensure that customer experience is known as a preferred business strategy. So in addition to thinking about, you know, being a environmentally friendly organization, or being one that has great public trust, we want people to think that organizations that have a strong customer experience program or commitment are preferred organizations to work with, and that by committing to customer experience, and doing customer experience, well, those organizations are seeing better results. So that’s one overarching goal. How will we see that manifest? You know, I think that the growth of the CCXP program has been fantastic. But I think we need to accelerate and have many more CCXPs, and to have many more organizations that are trusting the leadership of their CX programs to CCXPs, so that they get those results that we just talked about, I think that we will see you like that one. I think that we’ll see colleges and universities structuring content programs and aligning them with the cxpa CX framework, I think that we will see a variety of education available through cxpa in different languages, and giving both global content with a localized flavor, so that people can find in advance, you know, their career. And then I think that we will see that we’ve hit those ideas of credibility, we’ve hit those ideas of certification and education and making business impact. But at the core of it, we’ve kept the feeling of a community that supports one another, and welcomes everyone to bring their gifts to the community and contribute, and also learn and benefit from their involvement.

Gregorio Uglioni 27:36
I am looking forward for the future that you are describing really looking very much for it. I want to say thank you very much, Greg, we are coming to the end of this game. But in the last three minutes of the extra time, I still have two questions for you. You already shared your email address. But if people would like to contact you, what’s the best way?

Greg Melia 27:58
Yeah, probably the two best ones, you know, emailed and I have to admit, I get a lot of emails, Greg AT So I apologize in advance for any delay in responding, feel free to send them again, if I haven’t answered. The second is the CX community is very active on LinkedIn. And I encourage you to connect with me. And you’ll always know that it’s me, because you will not find my profile without my CA connected with it. So there are a few other Greg Melia in the world. I am not a mixed martial arts fighter. And I am not qualified to give you financial investment advice. But I’m not a bike rider in the in, in the UK. But you can find me on LinkedIn and connect there as well.

Gregorio Uglioni 28:48
Thank you very much. And for the people that were not aware of the cxpa. Before that, where they can find the cxpa

Greg Melia 28:54
Yeah, come visit us at or cxpa You know, we will be proud to have you connect, we have ways for you to be involved at all sorts of different levels. But let me suggest you know, if you’re watching this, this podcast, one thing that I’d love for you to have as a takeaway is visit what is and share that on with somebody else today. So that we can help spread the common understanding of customer experience and advance the work that we’re doing together.

Gregorio Uglioni 29:28
Thank you very much. And the very last question is Greg’s golden nugget. It’s something that we discussed or something new that he would like to give to the audience.

Greg Melia 29:36
Yeah, you know, what I love about this podcast is is that you are inspiring a lot of people who are interested in CX, some of them are currently in a CX role. Some of them would like to be in a CX role in the future. You know, my advice to each of you is to take control of your career. make today the day that you think about what you want to achieve, and what you want to give back to the world and what you want to do with those working hours, and take a look at CX job You know, for opportunities, you know, and explore the opportunities to be a CX professional, and be prepared, because the next impact opportunity for you is right around the corner.

Gregorio Uglioni 30:26
I can only say thank you very much, Greg. It was a great pleasure. Please stay with me. To the audience. I think it’s time to reflect about what Greg told us all the insight that he shared with us and the golden nugget that he shared with us. feedback is a gift. Please let me know. Let Greg know about your thoughts, your question. We are here to answer the questions. Thank you very much. It was a great pleasure. Bye bye.

Greg Melia 30:51
Thank you, Greg.

Gregorio Uglioni 30:53
If you enjoyed this episode, please share the word of mouth. Subscribe it, share it. Until the next episode. Please don’t forget, we are not in a b2b or b2c business. You’re in a human to human environment. Thank you

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