16 January 2013

2013, the year of the chief customer officer?

Profile of a CCO at an enterprise software company

With predictions from marketing, technology and customer experience for 2013 in full swing, changes in the boardroom are emerging as far as customer advocates are concerned. In an interview with Marchai Bruchey (CCO of Thunderhead), Neil Davey discusses her role, activities, and responsibilities as a chief customer officer, making corporate culture more customer-centered.

From the interview:

With experience emerging as an increasingly popular focal point for driving revenue and growth in 2013, the stage could be set for a shake-up of the corporate boardroom to accommodate the new role of chief customer officer. The cross-departmental, executive-level role of a chief customer officer is implemented as an antidote to traditional business models that have been more concerned with products and pricing models than with the customer experience.

Marchai: “I define what the customer experience is for the business. I look at the customer journey, looking at the world from the customer’s point of view. I’m the customer voice sitting at the executive table every week so that when we make business decisions I can say how it will impact the customer.”

Designed to bridge multiple departments, the chief customer officer is responsible for a holistic view of the customer and the company.

While the customer experience has been something that has finally been making its way up the corporate agenda in recent years, ownership of the experience has traditionally been shrouded in confusion.

The chief customer officer is a role designed to help shift the traditional inside-out view of the world to a much more outside-in approach.

Three types of CCO

While the role of CCO is still in its relative infancy, three distinct types of chief customer officer are emerging, implemented according to the particular demands of an organization.

  1. The Influence CCO sits on the executive team, but has no staff and no budget. Their main job is to define what the customer experience strategy is and to become the champion for customer experience within the organization.
  2. The Advocate CCO has the same responsibilities as the Influence CCO, but they also have budgets for particular projects.
  3. The Operational CCO has not only the responsibility for the definition and strategy, and rallying the organization, as well as all related projects, but they also have their own staff and budget.

In her role as CCO, Marchai initiated a governance council within the organization that has key representatives from the CTO’s office, the CMO’s office, from HR, from finance, and right across the business. (..) the council laid out a customer journey, that won’t happen overnight, because a customer experience program takes anywhere from two to three years to fully implement, and that is to get everybody bought in.

Finally, Marchai sees marketing emerging as a common point of origin for chief customer officers because they understand the customer.

Source: Will 2013 be the year of the chief customer officer? (Neil Davey, MyCustomer)

Culture (10), Customer experience (67)