Archive for September, 2011

Who is Your CCO?

Posted on September 21, 2011

By Guest Author, Randi Busse, Workforce Development Group, Inc. www.workdevgroup.com

CCO? Do you mean CEO? COO? CFO? CLO? CMO?

No, I mean CCO. Chief Customer Officer. You do have one, don’t you?

A chief customer officer (CCO) is the executive responsible in customer-centric companies for the total relationship with an organization’s customers. Your company is “customer-centric”, isn’t it? This position is a relatively new addition to the C-suite and was developed to provide a single vision across all methods of customer contact. The CCO is often responsible for influencing activities of customer relations throughout an organization, whether in the call center, sales, marketing, finance, fulfillment or post-sale support. The CCO typically reports to the Chief Executive Officer and is charged with improving the customer experience.

Chief Customer Officers may be known by many titles, however, according to the Chief Customer Officer Council, the CCO is properly defined as “an executive who provides the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.”

Over the past five years, Forrester Research has observed an increase in the number of companies with a single executive leading customer experience efforts across a business unit or an entire company. These individuals often serve as top executives, with the mandate and power to design, orchestrate and improve customer experiences across every customer interaction. And whether firms call them Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) or give them some other label, these leaders sit at high levels of power at companies as diverse as Allstate, Dunkin’ Brands, Oracle and USAA.

When companies with CCOs made the decision to establish such a position, it often was because of a mass exodus of customers. However, other reasons included a change in leadership, a desire to accelerate growth, a reaction to a competitor’s actions or a response brought about by rapid growth.

The key role for the Chief Customer Officer is to lead Customer Experience Management:

  1. To learn what customers value and how they feel about your organization and the current experience you provide.
  2. To interpret this feedback and prioritize the most important issues.
  3. To enact change that closes the gap between customer expectations and the actual experience delivered.
  4. Finally, to monitor key metrics to ensure that your organization continually improves the customer experience.

Despite the many successes resulting from the creation of a CCO role, it’s also important to recognize that a chief customer officer is not a silver bullet for a company’s customer experience problems.

A 2009 study of over 860 corporate executives revealed that companies that had increased their investment in customer experience management over the previous three years reported higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction (Strativity Group, 2009).

Think your company is too small to have a CCO? Think again. Those big companies started small.