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Is it Time to Consider a Chief Customer Officer?

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Chief Customer Officer: is this a job title you have at your organization? No? Well, it might be time to consider one.  More and more companies are, or need to be thinking about their customers’ experience and how to manage it.  Adding a Chief Customer Officer is certainly a big step forward in making that a reality.  Curtis Bingham, executive director of the Chief Customer Officer Council, recently hosted a podcast covering this topic with Kelly Hushin, Online Content Manager for WBR.  

The CCO role has evolved over the years from a Chief Customer Service Officer to a Chief Customer Strategy Officer. There are two basic definitions of the role today. First, they must be viewed as the ultimate customer authority for not just their division, but also throughout the entire company. The second is that they must drive customer strategy at the highest levels of their company. They must have the credibility and authority to make changes for and on behalf of the customer, no matter where that customer may be interacting with the company. The Chief Customer Officer should have three main goals: to drive profitable customer behavior, to create a customer-centric culture, and to drive customer and corporate strategy into the C-suite and then throughout the company. 

One might ask why a CCO is needed when a company is theoretically dedicated to its customers already. But according to my experience, it’s a position that companies have always needed, but may not have realized until now. One of the Chief Customer Officer’s most important roles is to put a human and personal touch on an often cold and impersonal entity that is the company.

The Chief Customer Officer Council recently did some research that looked at the CCO effectiveness, pulling from a pool of about 200 enterprise companies with CCOs in their role for at least two years. They found that, overall, 67% of the companies that had hired a CCO saw positive fiscal results during the tenure of the CCO. From this data it’s very clear that the Chief Customer Officer generates quantifiable business results, and is an incredible asset to the company. 

Is the Chief Customer Officer just a passing fad? The answer is no. In the same way that a company that is doing very well financially wouldn’t dream of getting rid of their Chief Financial Officer, the CCO is a needed aspect of the company. The CFO is there to help the company stay focused on fiscally responsible strategies. The same thing applies to CCOs. Just because a company has a handful of customers that are happy and satisfied, doesn’t mean that the company doesn’t need a CCO. The Chief Customer Officer is there to help everyone in the organization maintain a singular focus on the customer.

Don’t just take my word for it.  Listen to the podcast and decide for yourself!

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Categories: CCO Council | Chief Customer Officer


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