An unfortunate reality facing almost any business today is that when ‘everyone’ is responsible for the customer, a much-quoted refrain today, nobody actually is.
In today’s hyper-competitive markets, satisfied customers will make or break your quarter, year, and eventually, your entire organization. To outperform the competition today (not to mention serving, delighting, and doing right by your customers), an internal force must be responsible for advocating for their best interests.
Ideally, every member of your staff should advocate for your customers. In reality, large companies lack the strategy and infrastructure to ensure customer advocacy is occurring across departments and the entire customer journey.
That’s why you need a CCO — Chief Customer Officer (Advocate).
The Case for the Chief Customer Officer (Advocate)
Your ability to derive growth from organic sources, like word-of-mouth, has been vital in dominating your market. To multiply that organic growth, it’s important to focus on your customer experience (CX).
A superior CX is bound to increase customer satisfactions, and satisfied customers will inevitably catapult your growth and sales through word-of-mouth referrals. It makes sense, then, to have someone be responsible for ensuring that customer satisfaction.
Having a Chief Customer Officer (Advocate) who is solely responsible for improving your CX is therefore one of the most significant moves you can make to improve customer satisfaction and, as a result, grow your bottom line.
For every incremental increase in customer experience, you are bound to see an improvement across several of your most important KPIs across departments:
- CX leaders achieve 5x more growth than laggards (Forrester)
- Loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 7x as likely to try a new offering, and 4x as likely to refer (Temkin Group)
- “I’ll only invest in companies with a NPS score of at least 50.” (Jason Lemkin)
The Role of The CCO Advocate
To build the kind of customer experience that generates the kind of customer satisfaction you need for long-term, sustainable success (and this is true for all markets), you need to secure a deep understanding of your customers.
To do this in an effective, cost-effective and sustainable way, someone must be responsible for that understanding: not just generating it, but ensuring it is communicated within your organization across individuals, functions, and departments.
Designating a Chief Customer Officer (Advocate) ensures you have laid that responsibility out in a clear, formal way. This member of the C-suite should be responsible for:
- Planning and implementing voice-of-customer research that gives you deeper customer understanding
- Once those insights are generated, ensuring they are shared company-wide and among key stakeholders
- Advocating for and being fiercely protective of your customers and their needs, even when they contradict internal opinions
- Creating, optimizing, and directing growth across customer satisfaction, customer advocacy, and customer loyalty
Appointing Your CCO Advocate
The individual best suited to fill your new CCO Advocate role will depend on the current structure of your company.
If you already have a Chief Customer Officer or Chief Experience Officer , you’re already on the right track. However, we recommend including the word “advocate” in their title. This positions them take fuller responsibility to serve as your customers’ ultimate advocate both internally and externally.
If you have a VP of Growth, or are a VP of Growth, they/you can assume this role. The responsibilities outlined here are likely already a natural part of their role, given that a better user experience is the primary source of overall growth and that customer insights are crucial for successful growth strategies.
If you have a Head of User Research, they can also perform interim Chief Customer Officer (Advocate) functions until you are able to hire someone solely designated for the role. However, this individual must have an understanding of marketing, product, sales, and customer success.
Ultimately, the best option is to create a customer experience team comprised of cross-functional leaders. Led by your newly hired CCO Advocate, it should work in tandem with your growth team to prioritise a superior customer experience and establish greater customer satisfaction.
This is the business growth structure of the future — so don’t leave these changes until you’re already behind your competitors.