So, now that you're a Chief Customer Officer, what's your remit?
Well, that depends on your organisation, although there are three scenarios that we are seeing more and more of:
1) You're a Board member and 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. You also have 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) You're a Senior Operating Team member: Again, a role with an operating budget, responsible for all customer touchpoints within the organisation. Here, it's all about the ways that customers are being communicated with and how their feedback is being 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 (inbound and outbound) as this is a key area that collects customer metrics. Usually working closely with marketing/digital in collecting the right metrics.
3) You're in a senior management role: Although no specific budgetary responsibility, the role allows you to bring together all customer initiatives under one person or 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: We see across all organisations that without the whole company being aligned to the needs of the customer - really listening, serving and addressing - 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 (this is part of the 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 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 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!