How to Hire Your Perfect CEM Team

By: Clarabridge Team

February 11, 2016

CEM Programs
CEM Solutions
Customer Engagement
customer experience
customer experience management
Customer Feedback

While the market is calling for improved customer experience, most traditional business schools have yet to add a Customer Experience Management (CEM) program to their curriculums. So how are companies supposed to find leaders and team members with the right expertise to develop a CEM program?

The trick here is to hire for the skills you need, not necessarily the experience. Specifically, hire for 6 skills.

The Relationship Builder

To be successful, your CEM team needs to be able to build good relationships with other business departments. That’s why you need to look for excellent interpersonal skills that allow for cross-departmental relationship building. This will help you understand what kinds of customer insights are relevant to the work other departments are doing, letting you better meet their needs and break down departmental silos. Once you build these relationships, the other groups are more likely to support your work and champion your initiatives, helping you grow your CEM footprint internally.

Avoiding the Finger Pointing Syndrome

Depending on how your CEM team is organized, you may have champions in each business unit, or have your team members sit within other departments. A good relationship builder also needs to be a good cross-departmental collaborator. This means helping other people across your business build relationships with each other. This is important because many times, departments tend to blame each other for driving negative customer satisfaction. For example, if your team finds that customers are complaining about the customer service agent in the call center, the customer service director may simply blame the front-line employee who did a poor job selling the item in the first place. Relationship builders will not be deterred by this; in fact they take on this challenge and build bridges accordingly.

In the Interview

When interviewing relationship builder candidates, ask open-ended questions such as:

  • How have you been able to bring about change across different business units?
  • How have you overcome political issues in the past within or across business units?
  • What’s your reporting line today, and what’s an example of something you’ve achieved with someone outside of your department or reporting line?

These types of questions help to identify candidates who are able to use people skills to bring about change without being constrained by traditional hierarchies and silos. They need to be resourceful enough to identify people in other departments who can help champion their cause, and to build relationships based on trust and credibility.

The Other Five

Interpersonal skills are only one of the 6 core assets you need to look for in a candidate. To read more about the other 5 skills and learn why they are useful, how to interview for them, and what skills to focus on as you scale your CEM program, read our eBook: 6 essential skills for every CEM team.


Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.