If you work on a customer experience team — as an account manager or success rep — you may be wondering where your career will take you in the next 2, 5, or 10 years. It’s hard to see so far into the future given the evolution of automation and AI. The job that you have today might not exist in the future. Isn’t that a weird thought?
That’s because your career path is yours to create. Automation opens doors for new types of jobs. Your dream career may not even exist yet — or perhaps it does.
In a customer support role, you have a deep level of insight into the needs of your company’s target audience. This perspective is an invaluable source of data, which makes you a pattern recognition machine. Across industries, companies are placing greater strategic value on their customer experience and support teams. No matter how many years you’ve been on the job, there’s always room for growth. The question you’re likely facing is how to find your footing in the future.
Believe it or not, you already have a strong foundation. Here’s why.
Empathy is the new currency
As technology leads to the automation of task-oriented roles, the World Economic Forum says that the skills of the future will be critical thinking, leadership, problem-solving, creativity, communication, and the ability to navigate ambiguity.
If you work in customer experience, support, or success, you likely have a strong emotional intelligence toolkit. You’ve learned how to empathize with your customer’s frustrations. You understand their problems and challenges from their perspective.
In context-switching to meet your customers’ needs, you’ve developed a unique level of astuteness or situational awareness. Every team, at every company, needs humans who are skilled in the art of connecting with other humans.
Your customer support background is an asset.
Career pathway ideas
What comes next? What’s out there? Here are some ideas that build upon your existing career path.
- Product management. In this role, you would be responsible for building and maintaining lines of business. You make judgment calls to determine where your company should focus, and you bring together teams to implement solutions.
- Sales enablement. This profession is all about creating education to support growth processes. If you like writing, creating educational resources, and connecting with people, this career path will allow you to focus on your passion for communication.
- Intrapreneurship and entrepreneurship. In almost every industry, the need for innovation outpaces the rate of production. There need to be leaders within and outside of companies, building new businesses. As a customer experience professional, you’re in an ideal position to take on this type of role. You know what customers need and can likely remix these ideas into operational blueprints for building.
Maybe your job will be a blend of all three. Empathy is a superpower and creativity equips you to bring any idea to life.
Your future is yours to create, so let your interests guide you. Through traditional classes or platforms like Coursera and Udemy, you can pick up supplemental skills you need to advance into new fields. What’s important is that you take steps to prepare for the unexpected — especially if you’re not sure where to turn in your established career path, in an age of automation. Figure out how to align your passions and interests with the direction that dollars are flowing.
And don’t forget to enjoy the many twists and turns of your career along the way.
To learn more about CX career pathways, take a look at these articles:
- How to Grow Your Customer Experience Career, with Rhianna Albert
- Gen Z Career Tips: Exceed Expectations in Your CX Role
- 5 Career Path Principles to Live By with Vikki Kolbe