Optimizing Skills Utilization in CX Roles

Role clarity starts with documentation, but it cannot stop there. To truly create successful roles that drive employee performance, you must consider the skills involved in each role and structure roles and teams to allow for the development of deep expertise and mastery.


Joseph Loria

3/10/20242 min read

In a previous post I discussed the criticality of role clarity for post-sale functions. Post-sale CX teams are rife with roles that are overly broad and poorly defined. This leads not just to unpredictable results but also to disengaged team members, which starts this vicious cycle of not only under-performing as a team, but also having everyone feel like they’re on a perpetual hamster wheel.

Step one in solving this problem is to simply document the role. Doing that at least provides role clarity at its most basic level. But the truth is that documentation and role clarity are not enough. You also need to do the following:

  1. Clearly tie a role to company outcomes, so employees can see and feel their impact;

  2. Ensure there is not too much or too little work, to avoid burnout and disengagement;

  3. Ensure the role effectively utilizes the skills and abilities of the employees.

Most people focus to some degree on those first two.

That last item gets neglected often.

Utilization refers to how employees feel the organization uses their abilities. The degree to which employees feel their daily work tasks put their knowledge and skills to good use has a direct impact on their engagement levels and how much energy they put into their roles. You must regularly evaluate roles and responsibilities to ensure employees are being properly utilized, particularly as they grow and develop new skill sets.

The key lies in the inherent human desire to develop mastery.

  • If you have electrical work done at your home: do you hire an electrician or a handyperson?

  • If you have neurological health issues, do you go to a neurologist or just your internist?

As humans, we tend to favor and value specialization. In fact, we see clear evidence of this inside most SaaS companies – just think account executives versus business development specialists, or event marketers versus digital marketers, or product management versus product development.

But the post-sale experience in many companies? You’ll see generalists and jacks of all trades, one role responsible for onboarding, training, consulting, retention, support tickets, etc.

The earlier the company, the more this makes sense, simply because you don’t have the luxury of resourcing to focus on specialization. But as you grow, you must evaluate the individual skills and disciplines inside of those existing roles.

You must constantly monitor two things:

  1. How much time the individual components of the job take, relative to others?

  2. What are the true individual skills required, and how different are they?

One example is customer education. The perspective is often this: who better to educate the customers than those responsible for ensuring they see value?

On the surface, that sounds justifiable. But dig in just a bit more:

  • There are dozens of platform topics a customer user needs to learn;

  • There are multiple customers roles, each with different use cases;

  • There are multiple media for education – written articles, videos, on-demand tutorials, one-to-many webinars, one-to-one classes, one on one instructions, etc.

So ask yourself a few questions based on the above:

  • Who is accountable for ensuring that a specific customer user learns the right topic through the right medium at the right time?

  • Who decides what topics for what roles through what media?

  • Who tracks the success of all the customer education to determine how to best improve it?

Now you can start to see the benefit of specialization

Maximizing employee utilization results in better employee engagement and better performance. But you have to begin to allow employees to develop mastery and go deep in a discipline.

Start with role clarity, but quickly more to find ways to maximize utilization. You’ll be amazed at the performance improvements you’ll see.