The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) launched a new mentoring program in January 2015, using Higher Logic’s Mentor Match module. Recently, we caught up with Lesley Lykins, Director of Member Engagement, to discuss the success of the mentor program and member feedback so far.
Higher Logic: How did you decide to start a mentor program within your online community?
Lesley Lykins: We knew members wanted a mentor program, but we were a bit leery since we didn’t have a lot of time to manage a large platform. When we heard about the Mentor Match module, it sounded like a good solution that wouldn’t burden staff time – this was an easy sell for our leadership team.
Customer experience is a relatively new field, and there aren’t a lot of options for continuing education and professional development. The professionals who do have the experience and expertise don’t always have a way to share that knowledge individually (aside from CXPA’s community!). Mentoring is a huge deal for our members to help them grow in the field – so the program helps establish how they can move forward with their education
Shout-out: Laura Brook has some excellent resources here on HUG for using the Mentor Match module. I was pleased and grateful for all of the resources she’s included here, and we used a lot of it in constructing our own program.
HL: How’s it going since the program’s launch in January 2015?
Lesley: It’s been a success! We structure our mentoring program in two, 6-month cycles per year: the first starts in January, and the second starts in July. Our inaugural cycle had 50 unique matches, which means 100 members were successfully matched in mentor/mentee relationships. About 10 of those matches opted to extend the relationship into the second cycle. Our second cycle had another 50 unique matches.
HL: What have you heard from members about the program?
Lesley: Our matches cover a wide range of topics. Some members want certification help, others have issues getting leadership buy-in at their companies, so mentors have helped make a business case for customer experience. Others want professional development – a few mentees in the program did not have jobs at the time they signed up and were actively looking for new customer experience positions. Since it’s a new field, they wanted help and guidance for who to connect with, how to build a resume, etc. We have mentors who are already consultants in the customer experience space, and are helping mentees follow that same path (example: a company gets rid of its customer experience department, but the former employee has enough experience in the field to start their own consulting firm/business).
A lot of our members matched up in January, then met in person at our annual event, the CXPA Insight Exchange, in May to further develop the relationship!
HL: Any feedback for us on how the module works and what you’d like to see change in the future?
Lesley: There was some manual intervention at the beginning. We had to educate members about how/where to sign up, and how to use the directory to request matches. Some members had trouble finding and accessing their mentor/mentee inboxes. The first cycle had a lot of lessons learned. Higher Logic did change some of the reports, which became more robust, so that has been easier. The reporting system isn’t really build for our program’s cycles – it’s more for a continuous mentor program.
Overall, the program has been immensely popular for members!