Apr 12, 2022

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What is a chief customer officer?

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Does your company have a chief customer officer (CCO)? If not, it might be time to consider the role for your organization.

Would your business benefit from appointing a chief customer officer? We’ll help you answer the most common questions to determine whether you need a CCO to attain your goals.

Definition of a chief customer officer

What is a chief customer officer? A CCO is an executive in charge of managing the organization’s customer relationships. They often provide unifying leadership to different areas of your business that are involved in customer contact.

Chief customer officer job description

What does a CCO do? The role varies from one organization to another, but a typical chief customer officer job description includes some of the following:

  • Leads the creation of an organization-wide customer satisfaction strategy
  • Develops a high-level view of the target customer and their needs
  • Gives employees the resources they need to optimize customer experience
  • Advocates for customer needs when weighing in on organizational decisions
  • Works with leaders across the organization to identify customer experience gaps

Essentially, the CCO is the driving force behind efforts to optimize customer experience and ensure that customer needs are met.

When and why your company needs a CCO

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is a chief customer officer?” let’s explore what a CCO might do for your organization specifically. Many companies are embracing the role. What could the right person do for your business and customer relationships?

Build a customer-centric organization

SaaS companies thrive based on their ability to establish positive, long-term relationships with their customers. A CCO can help create a culture that makes the customer a top priority, ensuring that departments work together to offer an elevated customer experience at every touchpoint.

For example, your sales and marketing teams may create amazing customer experiences at their own touchpoints, ranging from brand awareness to conversion. These are great building blocks of customer acquisition.

However, a lot of touchpoints might remain unexamined, causing missed opportunities to improve customer relationships in the long-term.

To create a customer-centric organization, a CCO will:

  • Work with billing and other business departments to improve customer interactions
  • Lead the creation of new Customer Success initiatives
  • Secure funding to invest in technology that tracks and supports a boost in customer experience
  • Spearhead efforts to collect and analyze customer insights

Customer-centricity is an important factor in customer loyalty and retention. A chief customer officer can take these efforts to new heights.

Ensure better understanding of the customer

A CCO leads efforts to develop a complete, organization-wide understanding of the customer. Frequently, team members from different departments have a limited understanding of customers because they don’t interact with them.

Under a capable CCO, team members can develop deeper, broader knowledge of your customer base that will drive them to fulfill their own positions more completely and competently.

Maximize revenue generation from customers

For the most part, SaaS companies focus on ongoing revenue. It’s not just about making the first sale and calling it a day; it’s about developing relationships that promote subscription renewals and upgrades.

As the person in charge of customer relationships, a CCO can help solidify your business strategy to ensure that your company continuously brings in revenue from its customer base.

What is a chief customer officer’s skill set?

Whether you decide to fill the role of chief customer officer with an internal candidate or hire outside of your organization, it’s helpful to understand the skills that an effective chief customer officer needs. These skills include:

  •  A clear vision of what their role will be
  • The ability to influence people across several business areas
  • Highly developed emotional intelligence
  • An awareness of the organization’s needs and goals
  • Confidence to create and execute strategies
  • The ability to offer leadership to all customer-facing teams

During an interview, a prospective chief customer officer should be able to address the following:

  • How they plan to make the organization more customer-centric
  • What steps they will take to improve customer relationships
  • How they will develop a Customer Success program
  • What they will do to better understand customer experience gaps
  • How they will achieve cooperation and coordination between departments
  • What they will do to create customer loyalty programs
  • How they will use training to help employees improve customer interactions

Your candidate should be able to speak to what they have achieved in the past as a CCO or in a similar role, and to their vision for this role in the future.

Are you a CCO in the making?

A successful CCO must gain the trust and respect of their employees, and quickly learn about the target customer to identify where their needs aren’t being met.

The best chief customer officers have a comprehensive understanding of the organization as well as strong leadership skills. If you see a role like this in Customer Success as a good option for yourself, download our ebook, “The Future CCO: Advice For Those On The Path To The Chief Customer Officer.”

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