Chief Customer Officers (CCO) are charged with ensuring that an organization’s customer experience is considered by all departments, in all major decisions, at all times. He or she is the one executive whose job it is to represent the customer at their company.
The trouble is the directives of this position are often at odds with the other directives of the organization, particularly the ones that are focused on cutting bottom line costs to make the earning numbers this quarter. These are the very cuts that often affect the customer experience. For this reason, the CCO must be diplomatic, strategic and patient in order to affect any real change that will achieve his or her goals.
I believe that a CCO is a critical part of any organization’s executive team. If you find that the CCO hat has been placed upon your capable head, I would offer my top 10 Must- Dos. They are:
1. Ensure that you have both Responsibility and Authority.
An increasing number of organizations have taken the important step of including a CCO in their management team. But Forrester research shows that nearly half of them are not included in their executive management team. This is a big mistake because you cannot have true responsibility for an aspect of your job unless you have the authority to make decisions that accomplish your goals. Having both responsibility and authority is a sign of the maturity of the organization that employs a capable executive, like you, in the role of CCO. Furthermore, it is a sign of your organization’s commitment to the customer experience.
2. Collaborate across your organization.
Your role as CCO requires exemplary collaboration & proficiency that you use to work across the entire organization. It is important that you employ your best listening skills with each department to get the information you need to come up with a mutually beneficial solution to the challenge at hand. Once you have this solution, you must be able deliver a firm message – in a pleasant way– that leaves no room for negotiation to overcome organizational silos. I wrote a blog on this a while ago.
3. Measure your impact.
One of the important parts of your job is being able to measure your impact on the organization. So be sure to measure everything that the customer touches during their interaction with your organization, but don’t get too hung up on individual parts. Remember that the whole customer experience is worth more than the sum of the parts.
4. Promote a culture of responsibility for all the departments.
When there are poor results regarding customer experience in your organization, be sure to identify and hold accountable the department responsible. Be able to pinpoint the specific problem and hold that department’s feet to the fire. As always, hold those feet to the fire in a pleasant way.
5. Know what your value is as an organization and focus on what drives that value.
We know that half, or 50% a customer’s experience is about how they feel. As the CCO, you should fully understand your organization’s Emotional Signature® and how that drives value or increased customer spending, customer loyalty or retention. You should find ways to increase the Emotional Signature® if necessary, keeping an eye on the increase in value you achieve as a result.
6. Listen to the VOC and conduct customer research constantly.
Knowing what your customers are saying about you is the lifeblood to your department. The Voice of the Customer (VOC) heard through your customer research program lets you know how your theoretical customer experience efforts are translating into actual customer’s experience. You can’t fix what you don’t know about, so make sure you are always listening to the VOC.
7. Develop a pay structure based on Customer experience measures across the organization.
Every department should have their bonuses tied into this, customer experience measures were used by Voxeo’s then newly appointed CCO, Anne Bowman to help quantify and prioritize the customer experience into the consciousness of every department at the Orlando-based telecommunications company.
It’s a great idea to measure your results because what gets measured gets done. But you and I both know that what gets paid on gets done more.
8. Understand that a Customer Experience is not just rational elements.
One of the many challenges of your new position is the nebulous nature of your directive. Customer experience isn’t just a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet. Numbers play a part in the experience, but even more it’s about emotional and subconscious interactions, which are part of the Experience Psychology of their Emotional Signature®. Be able to understand that what a customer says they will do and what they actually do may be two entirely different things.
9. Implement Internal Changes.
As the customer’s representative in your organization, you need to make internal changes where necessary that foster an environment of customer centricity. In order to identify your level of customer centricity in each department, an assessment like our Naive to Natural Model® would be worthwhile. We have determined that nine orientation areas in any organization affect most customer experiences. By analyzing each of these areas, we can help you identify how customer centric each area is. Then based on this information, you can migrate the area from its current state to a customer focused one.
10. Remember that people are happy until you ask them to do something.
Many departments may be perfectly happy to agree that customer experience is important to the future of your organization. They may even be happy to take a meeting about the topic with you. But know that once you begin to assert for change in their department, their enjoyment level will drop significantly, as will their level of cooperation. This is common in company politics. But with your collaborations skills, exceptional commitment to listening and creating mutually beneficial solutions, and pleasant but firm approach, you will be able to navigate this hurdle and emerge on the other side as a successful and valued team member.
|Colin Shaw is founder & CEO of Beyond Philosophy, one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Colin is an international author of four best-selling books. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England.
Follow Colin Shaw on Twitter: @ColinShaw_CX