The challenges of The Chief Customer Officer…

So, you are now Chief Customer Officer, what’s your remit? Well, that depends on your organisation. There are three scenarios that we are seeing more and more, depending upon the organisation:

1) Board member role and a budget holder, in these situations you have the opportunity to make a significant change in the way that the customer strategy fits into the organisation’s strategy, the ability to drive the service/product mix going forward for the organisation and the permission to make changes in the way the organisation is structured and operated.

2) Senior Operating team member, a role again with an operating budget, responsible for all Customer touchpoints in the organisation. Here, it’s all about the ways that Customers are communicated with and how their feedback is related back to the board in driving forward the services the organisation provides. This role can be heavily operationally focussed with a view to getting a better view of the customer and achieving transparency regardless of the channel the customer communicates with the organisation on. Quite often this role has management responsibility over all the contact centres (in-bound and out-bound) as this is a key area that collects customer metrics. Usually working closely with marketing/digital in collecting the right metrics.

3) Senior management role, no specific budgetary responsibility, but with the role of bringing together all Customer initiatives under one person/team. This is a role of high influence and requires someone with some very strong stakeholder and influencing skills, especially where the role has an international or global dimension.

However, with all three roles there are some common challenges:

1) Education — across all organisations we see, without the whole company being aligned to the need to; really listen to, serve and address the customers needs then the Chief Customer officer faces a huge challenge. This education process has to happen from the top floor to the shop floor. No easy task.

2) Language — again, and especially with international businesses (though also applies to those with many national divisions), having a common language when it comes to the customer is critical. The measures and metrics (both qualitative and quantitative) which need to be implemented and refined over time need to be consistent across the whole organisation. Getting that alignment requires extensive engagement and buy-in across the organisation (partof teh Education process).

3) Demonstrating the value, this follows the education stage (but can also be used as part of it) this shows both the real bottom line financial impact and the increase in customer satisfaction measures (whether it be through internal measures or social media monitoring) that can be achieved by making the customer central to the organisation. Demonstration is critical to buy-in and showing the tangible value of the role and function. These tangible benefits often need to be shown quickly, to that end, we see many organisations undertaking ‘Hero’ projects, ones that make a quick and dynamic impact both on satisfaction and profitability. Only by showing real world and measurable impact does the the organisation truly start to understand the value of The Chief Customer Officer role.

As ever, all of the above relate to both B2B and B2C customers (and internal ones).

Always interested in views from the ground on this!

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