Where’s your C-suite on CX?
As the Customer-centric Era evolves, so must top-level management. While we have seen a proliferation of new titles at the top (variations on Chief Customer Officer, CCXO, etc.) across industries in just the past couple of years, many companies are engaging in challenging dialogue around whether they need this position. The main question is: If we don’t hire a CCO, then who “owns” CX?
Many organizations put customer experience ownership in the hands of the CMO. Her team has perhaps been historically responsible for measuring CSAT. Plus, they already know how to build good-looking surveys and forms, and can automate responses to input. That’s great. But, it’s probably not the right skill set for company-wide management of customer experience.
First, marketers tend to have an outward-facing perspective because most of their work involves communicating “to” not “with” customers. Listening is not typically a strength for these leaders. Second, “Marketing is often a couple steps removed from the company’s operations and a couple steps removed from dialogue with customers. As such, some marketing messages are a mismatch with realities customers experience,” as a recent MyCustomer.com article points out.
No one would argue that the CMO shouldn’t be involved in the broader CX initiative. In fact, the 2016 NGCX Report cites that in “…51 percent of businesses, marketing retains a large share of influence over how a CX strategy is implemented, as their level of control over multi-channel touch points will typically necessitate involvement with CX initiatives.”
But maybe the CMO shouldn’t be at the helm. The CX team should, however, take advantage of the business intelligence and data that most marketing teams possess. This information can add greater insight to hearing and knowing the real voice-of-the-customer. Ideally, some of this information would make it into Salesforce (or other CRM) also, especially if direct customer feedback is being captured via surveys, web forms, landing pages, or other channels.
What about the head of Customer Service or Support?
Those are the next most likely candidates for sure. Their teams deal directly with customers all day, every day. However, Service and Support Officers tend to be more over-tasked and overburdened than other execs and don’t have the bandwidth to take on broader responsibilities. Plus, they may have too narrow a focus on solving individual issues and cases, rather than seeing the cross-company view required to manage the total CX.
So, just like the CMO, Customer Service will certainly be deeply involved. Similarly, “Operations will often be involved, as their ownership over parts of the customer journey must be coordinated with a business-wide CX strategy” (2016 NGCX Report).
We’re back to the original question: Who should run it?!
How about the top dog?
Ah yes, the CEO. This is perhaps the worst idea of all. Sure, the more committed the CEO is to CX, the more important it will be across the company and the more attention it will receive. But, a 2015 study from the Economist Intelligence Unit showed that among CEOs and C-suite executives around the world, 72 percent of CEOs said that they believed themselves to be in charge of their company’s CX initiatives. However, their C-level colleagues strongly disagreed. In fact, a mere 28 percent of the other execs supported the idea of the CEO leading CX projects.
You might just need a CCO.
In reality, again according to the 2016 NGCX Report, “Fifty-five percent of brands now have a dedicated CX department focused on advancing a unified vision of a better customer experience. The creation of a department that works specifically on CX initiatives reflects the fact that the best experiences are woven into businesses on a holistic level.”
We’ve passed the tipping point. More than half of companies have already made the shift. Personally, I don’t think we’re turning back. Given the omni-channel imperative and the sheer number of communication and feedback channels, technologies, and data to manage across the organization — CX is a full-time job for a full-time team.
“The [CCO] job title may be new, but those who fill it can be anyone who knows a company’s CX strategy intimately, including VPs and SVPs of Customer Service, Retention, Loyalty, or Success. Yes, CCOs are hired to solve problems around customer satisfaction, but ultimately their end goal is to deliver a consistent and personal experience to customers, therefore accelerating company growth” (1-to-1 Media).
How soon until you have a C-title overseeing CX at your company? We’d love to hear from you.