Customer Experience Featured Article

Chief Customer Officers Help Oversee Company's Vision for Customer Experience

February 04, 2015

In an effort to shore up the quality of customer service being offered, many companies have instituted new programs, overhauled training and brought new customer support software solutions online. These companies have succeeded to varying degrees depending on their approach (and how much they spent on their initiatives). What many companies are missing, however, is a unified vision of customer service excellence. When the term means something different to everyone who touches the program, problems ensue and the likelihood of reaching goals plummets.

What the more successful companies have in common is the appointment of a chief customer officer. By having a single person in charge of the overall company vision for customer support, companies are better ensured of meeting their goals efficiently and with accountability, according to a recent article by Canada’s Globe and Mail. It’s a way to ensure that the business is set up to be customer-centric.

“CCOs looks at the journey holistically, considering every single way the client interacts with the company and its brand,” wrote the Globe and Mail’s Samuel Puchala. “They know that the customer’s experience – from first consideration of a product to post-purchase care – is circular.

When there are too many spokes in this circular wheel – a different department responsible for each leg of the customer journey – there are more chances for a part of that wheel to break down. Without a single individual to track it, the problems not only become difficult to fix, they become difficult to identify. Old-style company hierarchies simply won’t work here.

“Most companies remain stuck in a silo approach to running a business that harks back to the early 1900s,” wrote Puchala. “This old-school structure works fine if you’re an industrial corporation looking to make a uniform product. But does it provide the integration needed for a customer focus? Not so much.”

While specialists throughout the process are absolutely needed in order to collect data, analyze it and apply it toward improving the process, speeding up resolutions and personalizing the customer experience, there still needs to be a person at the top defining the company’s vision. Puchala notes that in rare cases, the CEO can stand as this customer-centric representative, but most chief executives are too busy to keep it as a primary focus today.

Customers are constantly changing, and so too do processes meant to boost the customer experience. It’s all too much for one person to keep track of. But the individual working parts of the process – the contact center, marketing, sales, back-office functions and more – need to have a driver. That person should be the chief customer officer. 

Edited by Alisen Downey

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