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Tag: CCO

Leadership Lesson: Customer Experience

I remember having a lengthy and engaging conversation over a dinner with a newly hired C-Level exec at a large multi-national corporation that was struggling to differentiate itself at the customer experience front.

The below diagram illustrates an organizational structure that was deployed at that time:

Unsurprisingly, the topic of discussion was customer experience and we spent an entire dinner debating various best practices and innovative strategies to successfully transform an organization into a truly customer centric entity.

The exec in question was fresh and had a lot of great ideas and energy – i was almost certain that he would bring about the desperately needed change for turning his organization around and hence we concluded our discussion with the following principles:

  • develop a shared customer experience vision (lead from the front)
  • setup a formal customer experience function (role, responsibility, customer/segment ownership, empowerment, VOC, communication, people and cultural change)
  • setup a cross functional team (shared targets, KPIs, incentives & multi-channel design, development and an end-to-end customer processes/ competencies)
  • technology is a key enabler however the journey should begin from the customer!

The following few months saw the exec immersing himself in the corporate cultural routines of the organization – and after various deliberations he introduced the following structure:

 The exec titled himself as the Chief Customer Officer – had the key customer facing and communications functions i.e. CS, marketing and sales organizations reporting directly into him and introduced a new Customer Experience organization.

On the paper, the structure looked good and reflected management’s intention to bring about serious change within the company – however, a half year later, the company failed to produce any material change to its customer experience offering and unsurprisingly a year later, the exec had moved on to manage another business unit within that organization.

Where did the exec go wrong?

Here are a number of areas where he could have managed better:

  • he had setup a customer experience function/ organization but he didn’t empower or support the team with formal P&L authority
  • he could have lead from the front and sponsor the customer experience program e.g. smart companies place customer experience agenda at regular board level meetings
  • although, he had the key customer facing functions reporting to him – he had them running in isolation and there was no (formal/informal) cross functional collaboration

Of course, there are other areas where he could have done things differently (e.g. the recruitment of key individuals were based on reshuffle rather than considered talent acquisition and management strategy) – overall, the above areas became source of his demise.

How could the exec have walked the talk?

“An organization’s ability to deliver multi or cross channel experience is as effective as the collaboration among its functional counterparts”

  • The below diagram highlights the key ingredient missing from the exec’s customer experience organizational plan – he had underestimated the need to glue various functional organizations
  • Without an appropriate cross functional collaboration it is difficult for an organization to deliver a truly multi or cross channel customer experience (e.g. a contact centre may win best customer service awards but same may not be said about its IVR or Retail experience)
  • lastly, customer experience leaders should embrace an organizational complexity and be prepared to take the lead as true customer experience transformists!

Has your organization been designed from a customer experience perspective? Who owns customer experience within your organization? How do you encourage cross functional collaboration with your organization? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Source: Zaheer Gilani,

7 Tips of the Chief Customer Officer

As organizations realize that the customer experience and relationship is the asset that leads to revenues, organisations will shift focus from the revenues themselves, to the customers that deliver it.


For Top Management making this transition, it may feel like unfamiliar territory. Change is difficult for any organization and for the individuals involved. The creation of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) role, is vital for the success of this transition. Here are seven tips for CCO’s who will be responsible for this transition.

1. Get Inside your Customers’ Skin
In order to align all the company’s functions with developing, maintaining, sharing and performing to detailed customer experience maps, the company needs to have deep personal relationships with its customers to truly understand them.

2. Relationship Determines Revenue 
Customers often value relationship more than the product or service. Find out how to invest in stronger relationships, understand customer budget bibles and match their planning cycles.

3. Break the Technology Addiction
Technology doesn’t have all the answers and it can’t auto-service the customer. Technology is a tool and we must know when and how to use it in communications and analytics to create better decision outcomes. Invest in these tools, but don’t let them replace in-person conversations and relationships with customers.

4. Revenue requires a Village
Customer-centric organizations are not natural homes for lone-wolf, “hail-Mary pass” producing sales folks. Chief Customer Officers need sales, marketing and support departments to understand the holistic experience for the customer and deliver their individual components with the same tone, cadence and channels outlined in a unified experience map.

5. Pay for Relationship Quality
People do what they are financially incentivized for. CCOs that are supporting a customer-centric transformation are replacing NPS and customer satisfaction scores with a measurement of each function’s role in delivering a customer experience that supports revenue. Instead of MBO, churn or close rates, consider performance metrics aligned with the customer experience story board, customer engagement and peer scoring.

6. Collaboration is your Lifeblood
Customer centric organizations are highly collaborative; it’s the secret sauce to delivering consistent, meaningful experiences and relationships. Only through enterprise-wide transparency, information sharing, proactive feedback, ideation and communication patterns that transcend hierarchical organization structures can teams respond to customer expectations and quickly resolve issues.

7. You’ll Never Know It All.
One of the biggest challenges facing CCO’s is that they don’t know or have experience in all the functions – marketing, sales, distribution, and customer service/support. At best someone might have deep experience in two but not all. That also means CCOs need to let go of tendency to ‘command and control’ and lead by example, enforce highest of ethical behavior standards, enable employees to their jobs to the best of their ability, and focus on building healthy teams.

Source: Christine Crandell

Everybody should think they are the Chief Customer Officer

It must be one of the business world’s most widely used calls to action – “We must make the customer the centre of everything we do!” The reason it is, of course, is that it is absolutely right. Nothing is more important. But for all the passion and conviction put into creating genuine customer focus it is frustrating when we get it wrong.


Like many businesses around the world Telstra has been working to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. We have made good progress, but I’m the first to admit that we do not always get things right. Every business has a unique set of challenges, but when your business – like ours – is answering 15 million customer calls each year, making 900,000 customer appointments and completing 3.4 million tasks in the field, you only need to get it a little bit wrong to disappoint many.

That is the nature of the challenge. It is a task that for many of us is far from complete and we still have much to learn. That said, we now have the benefit of some hard earned experience. Here are some of the key lessons we have learnt so far:

  • Leaders need to show a genuine commitment: Strategies to put customers at the centre of an organisation need to be carefully coordinated and led. Leaders need to communicate why it is important, supervisors need to show employees how their efforts and actions affect the customer and staff need to know they have the ability to resolve customer issues.When staff see their leaders – all of their leaders – committed and focusing on the customer they are more likely to engage, so make it visible. Leaders need to be seen talking to and about customers, asking questions, listening to their stories, making a difference. Real change comes from real actions.
  • Customer service is all things, great and small: Customer service improvement is a dimensionless concept – it can be the next big thing or it can be many small things. Legacy systems and processes may need to be refined (and sometimes overhauled or replaced completely) to improve the customer outcome, but be agile and creative with developing work-arounds in the meantime so system issues do not choke innovation or cause inaction. What really matters is being able to identify value and allocate the right amount of resource and energy to the right customer focused projects and programs at the right time.
  • Ideas can come from anywhere: The CEO and leadership team do not have all the answers. Many of the best customer service ideas come from front line staff. So create an outlet for them to raise and solve problems and give them whatever tools they need to take action. That way they are not only more likely to make customer focus an integral part of their roles but they will probably be happier and more engaged as well; there is real power and value in creating a link between employee satisfaction and change strategies.
  • Get everybody into the conversation: When it comes to internal communication use everything you have available – the company intranet, social media, internal newsletters, town-hall style meetings, video, face-to-face, online collaboration tools. As a large company with a diverse and dispersed workforce we have seen enormous value from being able to collaborate online (using Yammer) to canvass views, share ideas, and connect customer facing with non-customer facing staff. We have been able to get a temperature check on key issues quickly and broadly. Communicate, communicate, communicate; particularly the good customer outcomes. Genuine employee buy-in hinges on a broad understanding of why it all matters so getting everybody into the conversation is critical. Employees should see a clear link between what they do and the longer-term outcome, even those who are not customer facing. It is also critical to run workshops to show how everyone in the company can become customer focused. Communication channels also need to be open so any valuable customer insights can be shared quickly across the business. Leaders cannot make the changes staff know are necessary, or leverage staff insights, if they are unaware of them.
  • Stay focused on the customer: Depending on your organisational starting point, a well thought through customer strategy should deliver plenty of early wins. It gets harder when you are further down the road and return-for-effort looks more challenging. Encourage the team to stay focused on the customer. Find lots of ways to interact with your customers; they will always know what will make a difference better than you.

The job to make the customer the centre of any organisation is in many ways a never ending story. But you know you are starting to make progress when every team puts the customer first and every staff member thinks of themselves as being the Chief Customer Officer.

Source: David Thodey – CEO & Executive Director, Telstra


The CMO is dead, long live the CCO

I have some sad news: the Chief Marketing Officer is dead.

Fortunately, I’m talking about the CMO position rather than a particular person. But the decline in the CMO’s influence is alarming, especially at companies that claim to put the customer first but in reality are product-driven.

Long live the CCO

True, some companies have marketing in their DNA, especially firms that had a visionary founder with a great understanding of the customer. Examples include Ingvar Kamprad at IKEA or the late Steve Jobs at Apple.

But these are exceptions. The norm these days is that the CEO sets the overall strategy, the R&D and innovation teams design the product, and the CFO determines pricing and departmental budgets. No wonder some CMOs feel unloved and are considering a career change.

The CMO position is dying for four reasons:

1] Most CMOs are not really immersed in marketing activities. By this I mean understanding, creating and delivering value to the customer. Too many CMOs focus on PR and communications rather than products or pricing, so as not to invade the space of the Chief Innovation Officer or the CFO.

2] CFOs have become more powerful because of tough trading conditions and short-term pressure from financial markets. The CFO is also winning the race to the very top—most CEOs now have a finance or engineering background, and few come from sales and marketing.

3] Marketing impact is often hard to measure. Marketing is more art than science. It’s hard to know whether all those millions of dollars spent have led to an increase in real sales. And when a downturn comes, the marketing budget is often the first to be cut.

4] Nobody has a clear idea of what marketing is. Ask 20 senior managers in any company what marketing is, and you’ll get 20 different answers. By contrast, most people would agree on a definition of finance or production.

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, CMOs can take the following practical steps to reclaim some of their lost power:

1] Get rid of the CMO title, because nobody understands it. Create the new title of CCO – Chief Customer Officer. This person must be the voice of the customer in the organization, taking views and messages from the market and spreading them internally. More and more companies have a CCO or a senior executive with a similar title, from to the Washington Post.

2] Get the CEO to be the CMO. Chief executives can drive the customer-centricity agenda better than anyone else, because they can shape a company’s culture and drive the recruitment of customer-oriented people. Having the CEO as CMO also sends a strong message throughout the organization that the customer is front and center and that marketing is everybody’s job.

3] Get the CFO on board too. Doing this requires taking some of the fuzziness out of marketing. CCOs need to be financially literate and produce hard numbers that show the return on investment from marketing.

4] Use customer knowledge to build influence. With backing from the big two in the C-suite, CCOs can use their customer knowledge to influence discussions of product design and pricing, and make a company’s offerings more sensitive to the market.

Back in the 1950s, the management guru Peter Drucker wrote that a company has only two key functions – marketing and innovation – and that all other functions should support these. Sadly, paying attention to the customer is less and less common these days. The CCO can be the first step toward reversing this trend.

So – goodbye to the CMO, hello to the CCO.

Source: Dominique Turpin

Code Banken pleit voor Chief Customer Officer in RvB

Een bank zou er verstandig aan doen om een Chief Customer Officer (CCO) op te stellen. Dat stelt Peter Verhoef van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in het white paper ‘Klant Centraal in de Bankensector’. De Chief Customer Officer moet volgens de onderzoeker een plek krijgen of in de Raad van Bestuur (RvB) of in tier-1, de laag direct eronder.

Het rapport is opgesteld in opdracht van de Monitoring Commissie Code Banken, een ‘task-force’ onder leiding van Antony Burgmans (voormalig Unilever CEO) dat als doel heeft om de bankensector van advies te voorzien op de gebieden van corporate governance, risicomanagement, audit en remuneratie.

Klant centraal
In 2009 is de ‘Code Banken’ van toepassing geworden voor alle banken. Een van de kernthema’s van de code is ‘klant centraal’, omdat er destijds bleek dat banken veel moeite hebben om “de klant écht centraal te stellen”. Op verzoek van de Monitoring Commissie Code Banken onderzocht Verhoef welke maatregelen banken konden nemen om hun ‘client centricity’ te verhogen.

Chief Customer Officer
De belangrijkste conclusie van het rapport is dat er in het topmanagement van de bank veel meer aandacht moet komen voor de klant. Momenteel schieten banken op dit punt over het algemeen tekort en wordt de portefeuille ‘klanten’ breed verspreid over diverse bestuursleden, met als gevolg dat aansprakelijkheid ver te zoeken is. In sommige gevallen worden klanten zelfs niet eens direct in de boardroom vertegenwoordigd. Verhoef adviseert daarom om een Chief Customer Officer (CCO) aan te stellen die plaatsneemt bij voorkeur in het bestuur en zo niet ten minste in de laag eronder. Deze CCO zou het klant centraal concept in de onderneming moeten uitdragen en een belangenbehartiger van retailklanten moeten zijn in de top van de onderneming.

Overige aanbevelingen
Een beknopt overzicht van de overige aanbevelingen uit het rapport:

  • Duale waardecreatie (voor klant en aandeelhouder) moet weerspiegeld zijn in de kerndoelstellingen van de bank, zowel op het gebied van waarde aan de klant als waarde aan de aandeelhouders.
  • Het begrip Life Time Customer Value wordt aanbevolen, als goede grootheid die belangen van finance en klant integreert.
  • Introductie van een integraal klantkennissysteem: real time informatie over klantmaatstaven en klantkennis, voor iedereen binnen de organisatie up-to-date beschikbaar.
  • De draai moet worden gemaakt van productgerichte (verkoop) organisatie naar klantgerichte (advies) organisatie. De sturing moet daarmee in lijn zijn.
  • Waar mogelijk moeten banken de klant beter laten “participeren in interne processen”. Inzet van mobiele applicaties kan de actieve dialoog met klanten bevorderen, waarbij eveneens co-creatie met klanten gefaciliteerd wordt door hen bijvoorbeeld om input te vragen op de ontwikkeling van nieuwe diensten.


Copyright © 2019 by Martin van Krimpen