In the "age of the customer," the customer leadership executive role (Chief Customer Officer, Vice President of Customer Experience, etc.) has been embraced in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer organizations. Leaders in these roles have worked to figure out how they should organize, act, and make decisions in order to grow the business by improving customers' lives. However, while the role is growing, other forces such as an over-emphasis on social media feedback, lagging survey metrics, and the disintegration of a one-company experience are forcing customer leadership executives to maneuver and redefine their goals and actions.
In preparation of my newest book, CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine (Wiley) launching June 15th, I developed the new Chief Customer Officer job description, as well as my Five Customer Leadership Competencies to build customer-driven growth. I'd like to share them with you now.
The Chief Customer Officer (or Customer Leadership Executive) works with the organization to earn the right to customer-driven growth. This leader works with the board, the C-Suite, and across the organization to embed behaviors and actions that unite silo-based organizations in focusing on priorities in customers' lives. This manner of doing business honors employees and customers, resulting in a sustainable, repeatable and deliberate one-company approach to growth.
The goals of the CCO include:
- Uniting the C-Suite as leaders in the transformation
- Establishing one-company definitions and goals for customer growth
- Embedding competencies to improve and innovate experiences
- Culture that begins with the lives of customers
- Enabling employees to deliver value
The actions of the CCO are to embed these competencies:
1. Honoring and Managing Customers as Assets of the Business
- Enable and inspire decision-making driven by honoring customers as assets.
- Elevate customer growth/loss as success metric of the business.
- Build one-company definitions of customer segments, customers to invest in.
- Establish behavioral indicators of growth or loss of relationship.
- Unite leadership in customer-asset growth definition and communication.
2. Aligning around Experience: Uniting the Organization to Deliver Valued Customer Experiences
- Lead one-company prioritization of investment on high-impact experiences.
- Establish one-company journey maps and identification of priority experiences.
- Create a common language set and definitions for the customer experience.
- Unite the organization on the evaluation of experience reliability performance.
- Help leaders deliver united communication and focus on experiences.
3. Build a Customer Listening Path: Establish Active Customer Listening and Understanding
- Be the storyteller of customers' lives.
- Define what customers value and understand their evolving needs.
- Unite aided feedback, such as surveys, to tell a one-company customer story.
- Unite unaided feedback, such as social media, to tell a one-company customer story.
- Align multiple sources of customer feedback to the customer journey.
- Create a united platform for understanding customers' lives and focused action.
4. Proactive Experience Reliability and Innovation
- Embed skills to understand and improve priority experiences.
- Build customer experience development process to enable cross-company teams to improve unreliable and innovation opportunity experiences.
- Teach teams to build reliability metrics for priority experiences.
- Elevate priority process metrics in critical experiences to earn C-Suite focus.
- Manage priority experience processes proactively to earn customer growth.
- Identify and focus on customer behavior movement as a result of priority experiences to establish connection and ROI to customer-driven growth.
5. One-Company Leadership, Accountability, and Decisions
- Unite leaders in focusing the organization on improving customers' lives.
- Engage leaders personally in the build out of the competencies.
- Unite leadership communication and messaging.
- Enable employees to deliver value. Get rid of stupid rules and barriers.
- Establish experiential learning for walking in the customers' shoes.
- Drive rigorous communication.
- Unite leaders in building a lens for decision-making that begins with growing customers as assets.
With these competencies and goals in mind, the benefits of having a customer leadership executive role can push an organization from being passive to dominant in the customer experience realm. CEOs should be mindful and proactively supportive of the work their customer leadership executives do in order to keep customers' lives a priority and business growth and transformation a result.
Check out the first chapter of my book, CHIEF CUSTOMER OFFICER 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine, here.