The New C-Suite: The Rise of the CCO

Customer facingTen years ago, with the advance of marketing technology, the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) fundamentally changed. As marketing shifted from a cost center to a revenue generator, the C-suite increasingly turned to the CMO for detailed data about marketing’s impact on the bottom line.

Now, a new C-suite imperative has emerged, and the focus is squarely on the customer.

One of the primary impacts of modern marketing is a heightened expectation of a personal and relevant customer experience. More often, today’s brands are having to compete on the delivery of an exceptional experience for the customer rather than traditional metrics such as product and price. To navigate this new landscape, there’s a new seat at the C-suite table, and it belongs to the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). The CCO has become the liaison between a brand and its customers.

Creating a new role in the C-suite isn’t always seamless. As roles and responsibilities shift, newcomers are often met with resistance. Despite the CCO’s critical role, a new survey, Success in the Customer Experience Era: Connecting Customer and C-suite exposes key hurdles to the successful integration of the CCO position. To overcome these challenges, CCOs must have clear plans to establish solid footing within the C-suite.

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Establish Clear Roles

As with any new position, ownership roles can be fuzzy. A large percentage of CEOs stake a claim on the customer experience, and the hiring of a CCO can leave many CMOs wondering if their own roles will be replaced. Ownership claims and changes in C-suite dynamics can leave incoming CCOs feeling confused and hesitant to take control.

However, when executed correctly, the CCO can quell the confusion and form great relationships with both the CEO and CMO. Nearly a quarter of survey respondents noted that the CCO can complement the CEO simply by showing a greater customer focus. CMO budgets are increasing and will be on par with CIO budgets in the coming year, giving CCOs the opportunity to position themselves as advocates for the CMO. CCOs can not only free up valuable time for the CMO to focus more attention on new customer acquisition and design more effective campaigns, they can take the lead on technology decision-making and, in doing so, capture some of the CMO budget. When CCOs establish clear ownership over the customer experience, they can immediately illustrate how their ownership will benefit everyone in the C-suite.

Become the Tech Expert

In a complex and growing tech landscape, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for CMOs to stay abreast of technology needs. Between time constraints and infinite solutions, many CMOs are challenged to implement the right technology to truly give customers the experiences they want. Incoming CCOs can capitalize on the opportunity to offer marketing the extra support and technology expertise they need. By performing an internal audit of the tech stack and mapping it to the customer journey, CCOs can not only establish credibility, but they can also make informed recommendations on the right technology implementations to deliver the integrated, personalized experiences that customers want.

Use the Right Customer Data

Analyzing data is critical to understanding the needs and wants of customers, but many brands aren’t looking at the right data to get the insights they need. Often, a CCO is brought in to help gain a better understanding of real-time customer data, but only 29 percent of CCOs actually claim ownership of customer insights. For those who do claim this responsibility, many know what to measure, but do not always have quality sources of customer data. In fact, half of CCOs admit to not using data insights from contact centers, which are key sources of customer information. The reality is that many are still using surveys as the primary way to gauge customer satisfaction. When you ignore the contact center, you are putting your customer experience at risk of being misaligned with your brand. With an ever-increasing amount of channels being used to work with your customer, each one is an opportunity to thrive through matching your brand promise to your customer experience.

In our multichannel, digital world, antiquated methods are causing CCOs to miss critical insights that are coming directly from their customers. By analyzing contact center data from across multiple channels, CCOs can gain access to authentic, voice-of-the-customer insights that will allow them to create a better customer experience.

A CCO can be an invaluable asset to an organization that wants to increase growth or customer retention. By establishing clear roles and responsibilities, becoming the resident marketing technology expert and using the right customer data, the CCO can come alongside the CEO and CMO to not only alleviate burdens but also to champion the customer-first approach in an increasingly competitive market. A great customer experience is now standard practice, and the rise of the CCO indicates that this approach is here to stay.

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