Sunday, January 16, 2011
I just read with interest the post by Frank Eliason, former Comcast social media strategist, on the role of the Chief Customer Officer: "So What is a Chief Customer Officer? More than a Title!" As Frank shared, the CCO role is so much more than a title. As Frank described, one key responsibility of the CCO is to engender trust. The CCO is the customer advocate to the CEO and the board, showing potential customer impact of decisions. Bob Olson, former CCO of Homestead and GoDaddy said that revenue was an effect not the cause. In other words, if you are taking care of customers, selling and delivering products/services that you're confident customers want, revenue cannot help but follow. Unfortunately, many executives raise prices to meet a number, slash programs to cut costs, and wonder why they need to repeat the same process the next quarter and the next, missing the connection between their actions and the diminishing customer base.
Like Frank said, customer behavior is changing. Companies can no longer control the message. Your customers are controlling the message, from reviews on Amazon to water-cooler conversations. Their message is more powerful than your and your only hope is to ensure that message is a good one.
In our latest Conversation with the CCO we talked about "The Rise of the CCO" and the evolution of the role from "Chief Customer Satisfaction Officer" to "Chief Customer Strategy Officer. It was surprising to find as a result of exhaustive research into the nearly 400 current and former Chief Customer Officers that Jack Chambers of Texas New Mexico Power was the first ever Chief Customer Officer, appointed in 1994. Who'd have thought that the public utility would take this first step in holding an executive accountable for the customer relationship? We described the role of the CCO, key success factors, the things that should be on the CCO dashboard, and more.
As Frank alluded to, the CCO should have the strongest rolodex of key customers in the company. And the ability to drive the organization to better meeting these customers' strategic and tactical needs. Both are required for the CCO to be effective.