Many organizations now appoint Chief Customer Officers (CCOs) with the goal of continually improving and delivering a better experience for customers. While well-intentioned, this experiential and journey-level focus does not go far enough. Organizations often focus on transactional customer experience (CX), creating operational scorecards that chart progress against key experience tactics, and yet, customer and employee perception does not markedly improve. When CX becomes a transactional effort, operating areas prioritize siloed fixes while systematic issues are often not addressed or prioritized due to misaligned goals, responsibilities, or decisions.
A CCO or CXO, much like the CEO, must aim to unite the C-Suite and the organization with the goal of improving the customer experience, and with it, the business as a whole (employee experience, investment prioritization, and brand experience). CCOs are uniquely positioned to elevate how organizations define success and differentiation through new organizational habits, operating models, goals, and company values. It is this vantage point that differentiates the CCO role from that of a CMO or COO, where focus is often on “company-to-customer” benefit as measured by acquisition, efficiency, or some mix of internal channel optimization, lead, and/or productivity metrics. While there is certainly value in addressing near-term customer engagement and effort, organizations must also be ready to contemplate the transformational commitment and operating model required to create sustainable and “customer-to-company” growth and loyalty.
When an organization commits to a CCO role, it must also commit to creating the right strategic enablers for true and sustained enterprise and customer success. A CCO should work with the C-Suite to align around:
- Strategic vision and alignment. A clear articulation of what the company wants to be known for by customers, partners, and industry.
- Brand promise. Strong brand positioning, differentiation, and consideration in the market with which to build consistent and laddered experience attributes.
- Operating model. Clear commitment for organizational transformation, which may include changes to the operating model, strategic planning, goal setting, and org structure.
- Shared accountability. Shared accountability for customer outcomes and clarity around what should be measured and managed.
Combining near-term experience improvements with more strategic enterprise-governing enablers allows the organization – and the CCO – to address all aspects of the company’s experience, CX maturity, and customer orientation as a recipe for customer and enterprise success.