RMIT Online Graduate Kym Hill recently used a short period between full time jobs to up-skill and deepen her knowledge of CX by completing the Customer Experience Strategy and Design Future Skills short course.
Over the past five years, Kym has specialised in marketing and communications roles in local government organisations, and recognised a need to deepen her knowledge and skillset in CX after “holding a customer experience project management role”. Kym has been able to apply the skills she acquired through studying in a new role at a city council in Queensland. We spoke to Kym about the need to Up-skill, What it's actually like to study online and what advice she has for others who want to work in CX.
Why did you decide to study Customer Experience Strategy and Design at RMITO?
Customer Experience (CX) is a growing area of interest for large organisations in Australia, with customer centricity a hot topic in the public sector organisations that I’ve worked in.
Over the past five years, I’ve specialised in marketing and communications roles in Local Government organisations, recently holding a customer experience project management role at a council in Queensland. After that, I had a period of time where I was not working full-time and I chose to take advantage of the time I had available to build my skillset even further in CX.
"I had a period of time where I was not working full-time and I chose to take advantage of the time I had available to build my skillset even further in CX"
I recognised a need to deepen my knowledge of the principles of good CX strategy and design, as well as gain insights into current cutting edge practices. I searched online for available customer experience courses and felt RMIT’s online offering not only met my academic needs, but also took advantage of online flexibility and offered the ability to connect and learn from experienced mentors across Australia.
Although I wasn’t specifically looking for an online offering (and I could have physically attended a course located near me in Brisbane), I chose to study online with RMIT. This is because the course content, time required, reasonable cost and mentorship elements aligned more closely to what I was looking for than other similar courses I could find in the market at the time.
Overall, how did you find the experience of studying online? (balancing work/life commitments, did you get support from your work etc)
Studying online offers great work/life balance benefits, as you can study when you wish, where you wish. For me, I was comfortable studying as I have completed a Bachelor Degree and a Masters in the past, and was comfortable studying online as I have worked from a home office as a consultant. Because I had that home office set up already and was comfortable with things like webinars, Slack forums and reading online resource tools, I found studying online with RMIT Online was in my comfort zone. I found the course notes succinct, knowledgeable and easy to follow, and appreciated the daily Slack interactions when students had questions. The weekly webinars were easy to access and I valued the opportunity to ask questions of others in real time. Mentors shared examples of professional CX experiences. I appreciated that the early evening webinars were taped and provided afterward for those students who were not able to participate directly due to other commitments.
I chose to study during the day, as I was experiencing a career break at that time, at a pace that allowed me to spend maximum time with my family. I committed about eight hours per week to studying this course and found that was adequate to complete the weekly assessments. I believe I would have also found it manageable around a working schedule, should I have approached studying with RMIT Online while employed in a role full-time.
How have you been able to apply your new skills to your current job?
After completing this course with RMIT Online, I started a full-time role in another council, in a communications capacity. The organisation is at the beginning of its CX journey and I hope to contribute to the project team as we move forward. Studying this course has provided me with a greater depth and breadth of skill in CX strategy and design as a whole, which I have drawn on already in the way I consider approaching challenges and opportunities, interact with internal clients and strategise for the future.
"Studying online offers great work/life balance benefits, as you can study when you wish, where you wish"
What was your favourite part of the course?
In my experience, the content of courses can be fairly easily replicated, however the point of difference (for me) of the RMIT Online Customer Experience Strategy and Design course was the value that is added when students get regular, responsive access to knowledgeable industry mentors who currently hold CX management positions in reputable, impactful organisations. The ability to really connect with these mentors was unexpected and pleasantly surprising and was what I enjoyed the most from completing the course.
What advice do you have for anyone first learning about CX?
When first learning about Customer Experience, it is not uncommon for some people to think it means customer service. Although that is a part of it, CX is broader than that. CX is growing as a concept because the expectations of customers are changing, and what a customer experiences is impacted by lots of different, sometimes traditionally siloed, elements. I also probably didn’t realise before starting this course how important aspirational thinking is – how much ‘painting the future state picture’ really matters, and that painting that picture takes courage, creativity and lots of consultation with stakeholders, which can take time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
What do you think the future of CX will look like?
CX is a constantly evolving beast, so understanding customers will continue to drive what CX needs to be. Understanding customers’ expectations on service offerings and levels of service, what they perceive as value for money, and what their appetite is for certain innovations (such as AI) will increasingly be a focus, in my opinion.
Why should someone take the CX course at RMIT Online? (would you recommend it to someone looking to upskill or if they are just starting out?)
If you’re working in a role (or have a career path in) an area which strongly relates to understanding customers, the RMIT Online Customer Experience Strategy and Design course is an excellent opportunity for you to connect with others with similar interests, add depth and breadth to your existing customer experience skillset and provide immediately applicable guidance and support as you look to solve CX challenges or take advantage of CX opportunities as part of your role. I recommend this course to people who already have some exposure to marketing, customer service, business development, sales or CX concepts.
How will this course help you in your career? (Looking to further your career in long term or short term?)
Completing this course has assisted me to continue to build on my existing skillset and adds to my qualifications, should I work within teams focused on CX in the future. I am also able to support informally any colleagues that are working in CX due to the lessons I’ve learned from completing the course.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors.