When I began working for the Chief Customer Officer Council, my first task was to make sure our database was up to date, including contact information, company statistics, and CCO tenure. With over 400 entries, this was a huge undertaking. I spent three months going through and researching CCOs from every company imaginable, ranging from start up companies to long-standing enterprise-class companies. I used LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Hoovers, ZoomInfo, Google…just about any site I could think of to find the information that I needed.
LinkedIn was usually my first stop for a person’s title and tenure. But imagine my frustration when 60%-70% of the profiles were out of date or minimalistic. The CCO title has only been around for about 11 years, and I struggle to believe the dates on the profile saying that a CCO has been in their role since 1987.
When LinkedIn failed, it was off to Google. But there was just so much information on so many different people with the same name that it was an exercise in frustration to track someone down.
If I as a dedicated researcher had so much trouble finding these people, how much trouble will your current and prospective customers have? One of the two hallmark criteria of a Chief Customer Officer is that the CCO should be the recognized customer authority in the company, and thereby have the strongest customer relationships.
The precursor to these relationships is awareness and accessibility. If your name doesn’t show up on your company website, if there are no press releases quoting you, if there are no customers praising your name, are you sufficiently visible and accessible enough to own the customer relationships?
As a Chief Customer Officer, your role is perhaps the most visible of all, other than the CEO. Your job is to be accessible to the customers. If you are a Chief Customer Officer, no matter your level in the organization, you need to be listed on the company’s website. You need to be visible in customer communities. LinkedIn is probably the most effective business social network. If you’re the Chief Customer Officer, you need to be accessible where people are searching for you. Even if this accessibility comes at the price of getting more direct customer inquiries, it’s worth it because you can delegate the resolution of these complaints and potentially save that many more customers.
When a CCO is appointed, the company owes it to their prospects, customers, and marketplace to announce that they have made such a strong commitment to their customers that they’ve hired a CCO and made them accountable. Leverage the press and social media as a pulpit to share your commitment to your customers.
Be visible. Be accessible. Be successful.