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Article 7 min read

Customer experience manager: Role, skills, salary, and more

Here’s everything you need to know about customer experience management, from the essential qualifications to become a CX manager to excelling in the role.

By Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Last updated April 30, 2024

What is a customer experience (CX) manager?

A customer experience (CX) manager builds a company’s customer experience strategy. They help manage the CX team, demonstrate CX value to the business, improve customer retention, and stay ahead of evolving customer expectations.

Effective customer experience management (CXM) can help build customer loyalty by minimizing customer pain points and helping the organization keep customers top of mind.

Picture this: You’re playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. It’s lots of fun, taking you and your friends on an epic adventure in a fantasy land. Overseeing it all is the dungeon master (DM), who plans out the entire game and essentially crafts a custom experience that requires all the players to work together if they want to advance.

The quest is akin to the customer journey, and the DM acts similarly to a CX manager. It’s their job to get customers quickly and effectively from point A to point B while building trust, camaraderie, and a lasting relationship. Learn more about the role of a customer experience manager in our guide.

More in this guide:

What does a customer experience manager do?

A customer experience manager oversees the entire customer journey and optimizes each step. Their ultimate goal is to merge what customers want and need to exceed customer expectations.

This role is more general than a customer relationship manager, who focuses on the communication between a customer and the company. While some responsibilities of a CX manager may overlap, their role can also encompass customer service, purchase experience, customer retention, and more. They also collaborate with product development, sales, and marketing teams to ensure the company follows CXM best practices.

The CX manager role may vary across companies or industries, but the core goal is the same: to manage and optimize the customer experience strategy.

10 customer experience manager skills

Ten icons represent the top customer experience manager skills.

Several skills and qualities make someone an ideal CX manager. For example:

  1. Leadership: Managers need the skills to effectively lead a team and ensure they have the necessary resources to succeed.
  2. Problem-solving: Employees will look to CX managers for guidance and to make critical decisions. They need to be able to think on their feet and resolve any issues that come their way.
  3. Adaptability: CX is a department that works with ever-changing customer needs and expectations. CX managers need the skills and flexibility to adjust their strategy and fulfill those evolving customer expectations.
  4. Communication: Communication is the key to a good customer experience. The CX team collaborates with others in sales, marketing, and customer service, so managers must communicate effectively with their direct reports, colleagues, and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aligned.
  5. Product knowledge: CX managers should know the product inside and out to predict any CX issues and know how to resolve them efficiently.
  6. Analytical skills: CX managers need rock-solid analytical skills to measure performance and report KPIs to top stakeholders.
  7. Relationship-building: Customer relationships are everything—even the briefest customer interactions can make or break their experience. Knowing the right thing to say and how to say it helps build lifetime customers.
  8. Customer service: Customer service is a major touchstone of the customer experience. CX managers should have hands-on experience so they can build basic customer service skills and understand how to optimize the experience.
  9. Empathy: Ask anyone who’s worked in customer service—it can be challenging. CX managers need empathy for direct reports, peers, and customers navigating high-stress situations.
  10. Technical proficiency: CX managers can strengthen their technical skills by leveraging training courses. For example, Zendesk training courses help CX professionals learn everything they need to succeed, from CX basics to how to get the most out of your Zendesk tools.

If you want to become a customer experience manager, seek experiences in these skills and be sure to demonstrate how you actively use them in your resume.

How to become a CX manager

Customer experience managers have a unique role where they need hands-on experience with customers and a background in leading teams. In general, customer service experience, management experience, and an expert understanding of customer experience KPIs are important skills to demonstrate if you want to be a CX manager.

Below, we’ll detail the most essential steps to becoming a successful CX manager.

An illustration of a woman picking an apple accompanies a list of steps to become a customer experience manager.

1. Fulfill relevant education requirements

Though not always necessary, a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field is a helpful step to becoming a CX manager. Some helpful degrees include:

  • Business

  • Marketing

  • Business management

  • Other related fields

A master’s degree can also be helpful—higher education is typically an advantage. However, it’s not a requirement. Many positions will also consider practical knowledge, such as previous experience, if an applicant lacks an educational background.

2. Consider certifications and courses

Certifications and courses help users build experience and skills without returning to school for a full degree. These courses typically cost less and last a few weeks to a few months, depending on the course or the requirements.

Consider courses and certifications in topics related to management, customer service, sales, customer success, and—of course—customer experience to help demonstrate more skills and knowledge for a job application.

3. Gain CX experience in other roles

CX experience in non-manager roles is a major stepping stone to becoming a CX manager. Customer service, customer retention, and customer success are all significant parts of improving the customer experience, so these CX roles are a great place to start. They can provide a lot of practical insight into what customers want and how to keep them happy. You’ll also interact with these teams frequently as a CX manager.

4. Take on leadership roles and opportunities

Manager roles require leadership skills. Whether you’ve been a manager before or not, it’s important to demonstrate your desire and capability to take charge. You can show this in your current role by becoming a mentor, leading internal training sessions, speaking at conferences, and asking for more responsibility.

Customer experience manager salary

According to Glassdoor, the average CX manager in the United States makes approximately $77,000 per year, with an average base salary of around $60,500. Most CX managers earn a base salary between $59,000 and $103,000. Your prior experience, location, industry, and other factors will often determine your expected salary. The employee benefits package can also impact your salary because sometimes better benefits lead to a lower base salary.

Frequently asked questions

Manage the entire customer experience with Zendesk

Like a DM, as a CX manager, it’s your responsibility to lead customers along their heroic journey. Measure the customer experience, adjust your tactics to fulfill customer needs, and collaborate with your teams to elevate the customer journey from start to finish.

CX software is a crucial tool for CX managers, offering teams a centralized dashboard to manage clients and access vital data for crafting their CX strategy. With customer experience software like Zendesk, you can elevate your customer interactions. From AI-driven insights expediting issue resolution to tools for analyzing, optimizing, and scaling support operations, Zendesk empowers you to navigate your CX journey seamlessly at every turn.

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