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Voice of the CCO: Jennifer Maul on CCO Council Membership

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Jennifer Maul, Chief Customer Officer of Vendavo, shares the greatest benefit she receives from her membership in the Chief Customer Officer Council.





Video Transcript

The greatest benefit that I've received from joining the Council is really listening to and learning from my peers. They have similar missions as mine, and I've been able to take back a wealth of ideas and implement them within Vendavo.

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Curtis on...The Proliferation of CCOs Across Multiple Industries

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Armed with new data from a recent study, I discuss why hiring a chief customer officer is becoming more and more of a strategic imperative if companies want to maintain competitive advantage in their markets.




Video Transcript

Recently, there's been increased interest in the role of the chief customer officer. To take a look at where these chief customer officers have been and what their history has been, I undertook an exercise to go through and conducted a study of the historical and the current views and placement of chief customer officers from around the world.

I conducted an exhaustive analysis of industry and press clippings, SEC filings from various companies in various different industries looking for chief customer officers since the very beginning back in 1994. I was looking specifically at the title of chief customer officer or those executives in companies where I have personally confirmed their role as the chief customer officer even if they didn't have the title.

And the role of the chief customer officers is defined according to two things. The first is that they have the authoritative view of the customers and they're driving customer strategy at the highest level of the company.

Historically, since 1994 when the very first chief customer officer was appointed, there have been 509 chief customer officers appointed and/or active in their roles today; and, at present, there are 329 active CCOs functioning in the companies in various different industries.

I've looked at the historical distribution by company size and broken them up into enterprise versus midsize versus small size. And for the purposes of this exercise, enterprise companies are those with revenues greater than 2 billion dollars and midsize greater than 250 million dollars.

The distribution of chief customer offices amongst these different company sizes is fairly evenly split with about 47 percent enterprise, about 38 percent small, and a mere 15 percent in midsize.

I've looked at the chief customer officers who are currently in their roles and broken them up by industry to see what industries have been adopting the chief customer officer role at a higher rate than others. It's fascinating to see that the largest concentration of chief customer officers is in the technology industry.

Companies like Teradata, Level 3, and Xerox are notable Fortune 500 companies that have chief customer officers.

The next highest is in the food and beverage industry, and this includes companies like Hershey's, Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Frito Lay.

Other industries that have a higher density of chief customer officers are software and Internet including companies like Oracle, Yahoo, Intuit, and Computer Associates.
The one that's most interesting of all, I believe, is the utility industry in that this one here has, perhaps, the highest density of chief customer officers of any industry in there; and these are utilities such as Arizona Public Service, PG&E, NSTAR, and BGE.

So it's interesting to look and see which industries are adopting the chief customer officer role more rapidly than others. And it's fascinating to see that the technology and the software industries are at the forefront of adoption; but the utility industry, while there may be fewer CCOs overall in there, are the ones that “get it” the best and are those that have the highest density of chief customer officers in any industry.

So it's fascinating to look at this and see—where are we within our industry? What is it that we should be doing? If so many others of our competitors in our industry are adopting the role of the chief customer officer, then, perhaps, it's worth looking at how we can go about appointing an executive in charge of becoming more customer centric so that we can maintain a competitive advantage.

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To Facebook, or not to Facebook?

Monday, June 25, 2012





I read an interesting article talking about brands killing the conversation on social media.

Relevant highlights: 

  • Only 5% of wall questions from consumers of retail brands ever receive a company response. 
  • A new service, Socially Devoted, identifies best and worst retail customer service via Facebook, with Domino's, Starbucks, and Dunkin' Donuts at the bottom and dm Deutschland, Trendyol, and Tesco at the top. 
  • British Airways has disabled comments on their wall.  Really?
  • Many retailers are only communicating sales and promotions, as though Facebook is but another advertising channel 

Average Facebook customer response rates at the bottom are .28%, vs. 76.61% at the top, with an industry benchmark of 30.54%. How many of us would tolerate 0.28% call handling rates in our call centers? Heads would surely roll if that were the norm.  

Disabling comments is like turning off the phones in the call center. Or routing all the salespeople's phones to voicemail.  

One research study indicated that 82% of customers would consider leaving a brand based on a single bad experience.  

Customers are demanding access and transparency. They are demanding to be heard.

My takeaway?  Companies have rushed to get on Facebook and other social media, but don't have the ability to execute on this new interactive channel. Now their lack of considered strategy is severely damaging customer relationships.  It might have been better to wait and create a compelling, actionable strategy than rush in and sacrifice customers on the altar of the new and shiny.

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Curtis on...Chief Customer Officer: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?

Friday, June 22, 2012

In this video, I share new data that offers insight into whether or not the CCO role has a future.




Video Transcript

Many people have asked whether or not the chief customer officer is just another passing fad or another example of title inflation within the executive ranks. I have to say that based on the recent analysis that I've done of over 509 CCOs dating back to the beginning of 1994 when the chief customer officer was appointed, it doesn't look like it's a passing fad; instead, it looks like it's here to stay.

Here's an example of a chart showing CCO activity over the last decade. The top bars are the appointments of new chief customer officers by year. And the bottom bars are the departures of chief customer officers each year; this includes terminations or retirements.

There is a dramatic jump in 2006 and 2007 as to the awareness of the chief customer officer role and the impact that it can have on the organization and on customers. This growth here tapered off in 2008 as the number of departures escalated. It worsened through the recession. What so often happens is that as soon as you hit a revenue road bump, the CEO and other executives will look at those functions and those executives that aren't contributing to immediate short-term revenue; and then they'll throw them out of the pool.

What happens here is that the chief customer officer, traditionally, has been a role that's been very necessary and hugely valuable, but it's been very hard to measure the impact of the CCO role; and it's been even harder to point to the direct impact of the CCO on the bottom line.

Mid-sized companies are fairly stable. And, yet, it's the enterprise and the small companies that had the greatest churn through the recession.

The green line on the chart here shows the average tenure of the chief customer officer over time. It shows that it's steadily increasing to an average right now of about 33.2 months overall between the small, medium, and enterprise level chief customer officer.

The enterprise tenure is the one that we're most interested in, and that's at 35.5 months, which is up from the 29.4 months that we saw last year.

We're seeing an upswing in appointments this year. There are 20 more that have already been named so far this year, and there are fewer departures for this year. So we're on track to see significant growth in the CCO role coming throughout the end of this year and in the future.

I think that the thing that this shows that's very important is that the chief customer officer role however you define it and however you implement it is growing in popularity. More and more companies are realizing that their single, most important competitive advantage is the improved customer centricity, and they're pointing an executive to lead this challenge, lead this cause and help the companies become much more customer centric.

So the chief customer officer is not a passing fad. It is here to stay. And it's worth looking at to see whether or not the chief customer officer might be right for your company.

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Voice of the CCO: Jennifer Maul on the CCO Council's Annual CCO Summit

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vendavo's CCO, Jennifer Maul, on what she takes from the Chief Customer Officer Council's Annual CCO Summit.




Video Transcript

The greatest benefit of attending the Summit this week is really -- for me, even like the last Summit -- it's about ideas. Ideas and ideas. I just write down pages of notes and take them back, think about them, and understand what may be applicable to Vendavo. But it's the ideas that I find at the Summit that are most relevant.

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Voice of the CCO: Lacey Grey on CCO Council Membership

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lacey Grey, Member of the Chief Customer Officer Council, highlights some of the benefits of membership.




Video Transcript

I first became a chief customer officer in the year 2000, and while that makes me seem really old, and I am, the real challenge, at that point, was that there was no formal organization; there was no council that you could join, no conference you could attend, and really no way to find others like yourself who were in similar roles in different companies.

And so, the Chief Customer Officer Council has really provided the value of being that resource at a time when many companies are making a decision to balance business and the customer.

The value that the Chief Customer Officer Council provides is that they provide a resource for best practices and leading practices. We can learn from other companies and what they've done and how it's been successful. We can think about other approaches that other companies have taken to accomplish the same tactics as those that we have to undertake.

I think that there are many ways the Chief Customer Officer Council will be even more impactful in the future as more and more companies get on board and try to balance the business by focusing on customer needs. 

And that's why I'm here. I hope you'll join me.


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