A visionary Leadership Team whose gaze was set to make the customers’ life easier from day one is what most successful companies have in common. By anticipating their customers’ needs every step of the way and implementing this mindset across the company, these companies create a sustainable level of customer loyalty. These companies don’t need a Chief Customer Officer.
Sometimes not every department’s priority is to work actively towards increasing the customer’s lifespan. Then there’s a constant struggle for most companies to remind everybody how important this is. This is where a Chief Customer Officer might step in. A CCO serves alongside the executive board, creating and developing programs to improve the total customer experience and loyalty. Thus, the CCO provides a single, holistic vision for the entire relationship with an organization’s customers. As the voice of the customer, the CCO carries the executive responsibility to make sure all efforts are brought towards customer-centricity. Whether it is to question if a single product positioning statement used in Marcom matches the brand promise, a new feature on the platform, a loyalty program, newsletter content, transactional emails, all the way to Customer Service.
A study stated “22% of Fortune 100 companies have a Chief Customer Officer” but when you look up LINKEDIN most of the people do something else in these companies since then. Looking into the recent job ads around a CCO role, it became more and more Sales driven (Source: Job ad at Salesforce: „drive longer Sales Cycles, identify opportunities for repeatable sales engagements, determine long term strategic sales opportunities, providing advice and expertise around complex sales deal negotiations”)
The CCO usually was supposed to constantly ask herself “What value does something have to the customers?”, “Are we valuing our customers’ lifetime?, “Can we guarantee a great service experience as we grow?”
In the fast-paced digital field, one may jump-start new projects, features and processes at the spur of a moment. If a product doesn’t take care of the current customers’ pain points, you may do more harm than good, customers may feel confused, overwhelmed and may even end up switching to the competition.
If customer loyalty and lifespan is crumbling, the CCO looks into each corner and nook of the organization. A CCO at this point may have asked himself “Are we 100% truthful with customers, or do we “spin” the truth with “creative” marketing?”. It’s nice to look good, but it’s nicer to be good.
As an organization, you also seek to automate as many tasks as possible to free up time for your employees to focus on things that have value to them and the customers. Plus self service is the channel of choice for the customers. The CCO makes sure that you guarantee automation. Making your organization look better and depleting manual labor is tempting. But for the sake of saving costs is the wrong perspective. You want to eliminate the customers’ obstacles. Saving costs is only a side effect.
While writing this, I notice that the aim should be to avoid having a CCO because …
… everyone in the company must be top of a relentless will in search for improvement from the customers perspective. The company as a whole needs a strong sense of empathy to not get blinded by non-customer beneficial and deflecting strategies. You just naturally want to create and uphold a holistic, fantastic customer experience.