Let me start by asking you a question. Who is responsible for customer experience in your organisation? Before you say the CEO... or everyone... think about it for a second. Who is absolutely 100%, unequivocally accountable for customer satisfaction? Who does the board challenge if customer satisfaction is down? Nearly every organisation has the same purpose and strategy - to service a customer's need in the most effective way possible. So why do most organisations persist with not having anyone directly responsible for this? It's the equivalent of taking to the football field without a striker. Is it time you appointed a Chief Experience Officer (CXO)?
The importance of customer experience can't be underestimated. Everything that your organisation says and does should be structured around delivering a great experience. The popularity of information sharing has meant that there is nowhere to hide. Social media, comparison websites and online reviews have significantly changed consumer behaviours forever. Consumers are very unlikely to purchase a product or service without having conducted some form of online research first. Reviews can be so important that Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne threatened to sue TripAdvisor over a negative post related to one of his hotels. If your customers are not satisfied they will let everyone know about it.
The Chief Experience Officer, as the name implies, is accountable for the experience that your customers have. As online and offline channels merge, and more services are integrated, you need someone who is accountable for the end-to-end experience of your customers. The role is part operational and part advisory. It should sit on the Executive board. The incumbent needs to have the right fire and influence to ensure customer needs are understood and valued. Operationally they should manage a team that works with other parts of the business to manage customer satisfaction and complaint levels. In an advisory capacity they should work with all areas to review and define the optimum experience for all processes and technology.
The CXO should have the following responsibilities:
The CXO should have a range of Customer Experience Managers distributed through the various channels and products areas. They can manage the day to day requirements of the role. The CXO will need to work closely with the CIO/CTO and architecture areas to ensure that systems are being developed to support desired experiences. Product, Support, Marketing and Communications heads will also need to be aligned. They should have equivalent strategies to support the underlying customer experience plan. Monthly Customer Experience forums should be run with senior stakeholders across the group to share progress and refine the vision.
The success of the CXO role is largely reliant on the support and acceptance it receives across the group. The incumbent needs to have the full backing of the board and its peers. An organisation can't just parachute in a CXO and expect improvements. Nor does it imply that the rest of the company can ignore customer experience in the future. The role should be at the centre of your organisational structure. Not a part of it. It is not a marketing manager, or strategy manager. It is different. Both of these roles can be biased by other needs and goals. Your strategy and marketing heads will work closely with your CXO, but not lead it.
Due to the growth of alternative online channels, the number of interactions consumers are having with a brand has increased from once a week, for much of the last century, to nearly once a day. If offering a flawless customer interaction every time is your main business goal, then restructuring your organisation to include a CXO is a no brainer. The introduction of a CXO will raise visibility and provide customers with a real voice in the organisation. It will challenge and shake up your existing processes and belief systems. With a great experience so vital to your organisations success the CXO will ensure that you never cut corners or make the wrong compromises again.
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