10 Best CX Leaders to Watch 2024

Jason S. Bradshaw: An Award-Winning Executive, Keynote Speaker, and Growth Accelerator

An Award-Winning Executive, Thought Leader, Author, Keynote Speaker, and Growth Accelerator: Jason S. Bradshaw

“While I cherish the impact I can make in multiple roles, there's a part of me eager to dive back into the corporate world, to once again drive exceptional customer-centered growth from within a large organization.”

Jason S. Bradshaw's professional journey is a remarkable story of innovation, passion, and an unyielding commitment to excellence. Embarking on an entrepreneurial path at the tender age of 14, Bradshaw set the stage for a career defined by groundbreaking approaches and a belief in the transformative power of exceptional customer and employee experiences. From his early days as a young entrepreneur, Bradshaw demonstrated a keen understanding of the marketplace, asserting the value of customer service over price. His conviction that individuals gravitate towards quality experiences shaped his business strategy, laying the foundation for his future successes. This initial foray into the business world sparked what would become a lifelong passion for driving growth through a relentless focus on enhancing both customer and employee experiences. Bradshaw's career trajectory has been anything but conventional. He has navigated through a wide variety of roles, many of which, at first glance, might seem removed from the core of Customer Experience (CX) professionalism. A notable example is his tenure as Director of Procurement Transformation. While seemingly disconnected from customer or employee experience, Bradshaw skillfully linked procurement processes and systems with the overarching goal of delivering superior experiences to citizens, who are, in essence, the government's customers. Simultaneously, he placed significant emphasis on the employee experience, recognizing that a motivated workforce is essential for operational success.

As a Senior Commercial Manager, Bradshaw again demonstrated his unique perspective, focusing not just on financial outcomes but also on enhancing the sales and service experience for customers. His strategies were twofold: improve operational efficiency and reduce costs while simultaneously elevating the customer journey. Bradshaw's experience also includes more traditional CX roles, such as Head of Customer Experience, Chief Customer Officer, and Chief Growth & Experience Officer. In each of these positions, he brought his distinctive blend of insight, strategy, and passion, consistently driving growth and fostering positive change. The unifying thread in Bradshaw's diverse career has been his steadfast commitment to improving the lives of customers and employees. This dedication has been a constant, transcending job titles and core responsibilities. His approach underscores a crucial business philosophy: growth and success are strongly linked to an unwavering commitment to excellence in customer and employee experiences. Jason S. Bradshaw's journey is a prime example of the impact one individual can have in reshaping the landscape of customer and employee engagement. His story is not just about the roles he has held but about the profound influence he has had on every organization he's been a part of, proving that true growth is driven by a relentless commitment to excellence and innovation in every facet of the customer and employee experience.

In Conversation with Jason S. Bradshaw 

What strategies do you implement to enhance the overall customer experience?

In any organization I join, I focus on three core strategies to enhance the overall Customer Experience (CX). These strategies are foundational to achieving meaningful and sustainable improvements in how we serve our customers.

Clear Vision & Understanding: The first strategy centers around establishing a clear vision and understanding of what CX means within the organization, along with a concrete vision of what success or greatness looks like. It's crucial to have absolute alignment on this vision and the core elements required to deliver it. This involves ensuring that everyone in the organization understands the importance of CX and how their role contributes to achieving this shared vision.

Customer Listening: The second strategy, Customer Listening, goes beyond simply collecting more surveys. It's about asking the right questions, engaging in real conversations with customers, and amplifying their stories within the organization. The focus here is not primarily on metrics but on connecting these metrics to the impact they have on customers. It’s about understanding customer needs, expectations, and experiences at a deeper level and using this understanding to drive improvements in service and product offerings.

Progress, Not Perfection: The third strategy is 'Progress, not Perfection’. Often, CX professionals focus on complete transformation, but my approach emphasizes building a habit of continuous improvement. This doesn't mean that larger transformation projects are overlooked; rather, for such transformations to be effective and lasting, there needs to be an existing culture of striving to be just 1% better every day. It’s about making consistent, incremental improvements that collectively contribute to significant positive change over time.

By implementing these three strategies—establishing a clear vision, actively listening to customers, and focusing on continuous progress—I aim to create a customer-centric culture that not only meets but exceeds customer expectations, driving sustainable growth and success for the organization.

How do you handle customer feedback and use it to make improvements?

I firmly believe in widely sharing customer feedback within an organization to align metrics with customers' real experiences. To realize this, I implemented a strategy of displaying live customer feedback on a TV outside my office, ensuring continuous visibility. Regular discussions, either daily or weekly, are crucial for addressing this feedback. These discussions focus on identifying and swiftly acting on common customer pain points. This approach not only emphasizes problem-solving but also the urgency of enhancing the customer experience. It's a method that keeps the team engaged and responsive, fostering a customer-centric culture that drives informed, empathetic decision-making.

Having held the position of Director of Customer Experience at Volkswagen Group Australia, could you share some details about your time in that role?

I was the first Director of Customer Experience at Volkswagen Group Australia, which brought extra excitement to the role because I got to deliver in the role without the expectations of the previous way things were done. By the time I had left the organization, the role had expanded to Director of Customer Experience and Marketing. The role initially was responsible for the Customer Support Team, Customer Research and insights, Customer Experience Improvement Programs, and CRM Systems. Within 18 months, this expanded to include training and development for Dealerships, given the strong link between employee experience, training, and customer experience. Then, marketing functions were added to my role over time. I have long held the view that Marketing Teams should report to Customer Experience from an organizational perspective because the marketing team is creating promises to current and potential customers, promises that the sales and operational teams need to be able to deliver on. 

For almost six years, the Dealer Network and Team Members were exposed to best practices from multiple industries and global thought leaders, not only on Customer experience but also Employee Experience, and the Team worked hard to take that exposure and lessons and embed it into the way we/they worked. During the role, there were many successes, including 60 months of NPS metrics improvements, a significant reduction in employee turnover, and personally seeing many of my direct reports' careers flourish with them going on to more senior positions within and outside the organization. With a major restructuring on the horizon, which saw a downsizing of the role, I took the opportunity to move on to new opportunities.

What can you tell us about your book ‘It's All about CEX!: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience’? How has it influenced your trajectory as a CX leader?

I am thrilled to introduce, "It's All About CEX! The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience," a groundbreaking debut that marks just the beginning of my literary journey. Hot on its heels are two more titles set to launch within the next year, further expanding this vital conversation. This book isn't just another drop in the ocean of business literature; it has made waves, resonating with major organizations that have bought it in bulk and academia, where it's become recommended reading in numerous post-graduate programs. My goal in penning "It's All About CEX!" was to demystify the intricate dance between customer and employee experience. It's crafted for leaders and practitioners alike, offering not just insight but actionable steps to enhance these critical areas. What sets this book apart is its blend of theoretical frameworks and real-world applications, providing a comprehensive view of the subject. Whether you're delving into it from start to finish or just leafing through a section, you're guaranteed to unearth valuable nuggets of wisdom that can propel your CX/EX initiatives forward. "It's All About CEX!" is more than a book; it's a clarion call for leaders. It urges immediate action over procrastination, encouraging tangible improvements over grand, drawn-out plans.

My journey in writing this book has been deeply fulfilling on a personal level, but more importantly, it has cemented my dedication to driving growth through a robust focus on the customer experience. A testament to its impact, "It's All About CEX!" was the top-gifted business book on Amazon in 2019, a fun fact that underscores its relevance and appeal in the business world. Embark on this enlightening journey with me, and let's redefine the landscape of customer and employee experience together.

Who do you look up to or consider as your role model, and in what ways has that person influenced your professional development and career growth?

This is never an easy question to answer because there has been more than just one person. When I was 14, I started reading books by Tom Peters, and this sparked a lifetime habit of reading a book a month, although these days I tend to stick to audio books. I have had some fantastic managers over the years who knew how to challenge me and inspire me, like Michelle when I was at Target and Michael at Volkswagen Group. Further, I have had the great honor of hanging out with and learning directly from some renowned thought leaders like Scott McKain, Shep Hyken, Joe Calloway, and Jeanne Bliss—and there are more. 

My approach is simple: if you can’t physically surround yourself with great thought leaders and achievers, then read their work, watch their work, find a way to learn from them, and be inspired by them.

What are your future aspirations, both personally and professionally?

Since leaving the Volkswagen Group, I have been dedicated to guiding various businesses across industries towards customer-centered growth. This year marks an exciting expansion of this mission with the launch of a 12-week growth accelerator, tailored for business leaders and entrepreneurs. In addition, my journey will continue as I speak at corporate events worldwide, sharing insights and inspiring leaders to unlock their full potential. While I cherish the impact I can make in these roles, there's a part of me eager to dive back into the corporate world, to once again drive exceptional customer-centered growth from within a large organization. 

Regardless of the path I choose, one thing remains constant: my commitment to championing companies in their quest for growth through a relentless focus on the experiences they promise and deliver. This is not just a career choice, but a long-term mission to redefine how businesses operate and succeed.

Is there anything you would like to add before we wrap up?

I am now working one-on-one with individuals, mentoring and coaching them towards success. I also hope that readers will pick up a copy of my upcoming books and be inspired to improve their experiences. To my fellow CX professionals, I would like to offer a piece of advice: always remember to link the work you are doing to the return on investment. By ensuring our work delivers a return on investment, the organization will continue to invest in it, allowing us to achieve more, have a bigger impact, and make our slice of the world just that little bit better. 

Jason S. Bradshaw: A Distinguished Global Strategic Advisor and Keynote Speaker 

Jason’s impactful guidance has been instrumental to C-suite executives and startups alike. With a career highlighted by transformative roles at leading brands like Target, Fairfax, and Volkswagen, Bradshaw has driven remarkable achievements including a 200% increase in lead generation and $36 million in first-year e-commerce sales. As a best-selling author, he has deeply influenced the discourse on customer and employee experience, earning over 40 industry awards and recognition as one of the top 30 global gurus in customer service and experience. Bradshaw’s business acumen was evident early on, starting his first business at 14. His journey reflects a blend of entrepreneurial zeal, strategic innovation, and a commitment to enhancing customer and employee engagement in the corporate world.

“Regardless of the path I choose, one thing remains constant: my commitment to championing companies in their quest for growth through a relentless focus on the experiences they promise and deliver. This is not just a career choice, but a long-term mission to redefine how businesses operate and succeed.”

“‘It's All About CEX!’ is more than a book; it's a clarion call for leaders. It urges immediate action over procrastination, encouraging tangible improvements over grand, drawn-out plans.”