Welcome to the corporate jungle, where the role of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is as fresh as it is precarious. Cast your mind back to 1999, the dawn of this pivotal role at Texas Power and Light. Fast forward, and we’ve got over 500 CCOs strutting their stuff across the globe—some with the badge, others without. But here’s a brain teaser: Why do less than 7% of the big guns—the Fortune 500—have a CCO in their corner? Could it be we’re witnessing a trend on the brink of extinction?
Here’s the skinny on what a CCO’s gotta do: fire up profitable customer antics, make the business revolve around the customer, and steer the corporate ship towards the horizon of growth. But here’s the kicker: despite these make-or-break goals, CCOs are finding themselves on the thinnest ice within the C-suite. Why? With an average stint lasting just over two shakes of a lamb’s tail (29.4 months, to be precise), it’s clear they’re juggling hot potatoes that could be too hot to handle.
The quagmire for the CCO is real. It’s rooted in a sort of identity crisis—a role that’s as defined as a blob of mercury. Back in the day, it was about herding customers—either corralling new ones or keeping the old ones from straying. But as the plot thickens, we see that wielding the power to make real changes for the customer is where the true battleground lies. The evolution is undeniable, but it’s tangled up with the need to carve out respect and clout in the old-school corporate hierarchy.
Being a CCO isn’t a walk in the park. It’s about untangling knotty customer conundrums, crafting a competitive edge sharper than a samurai sword, and embedding a customer-first ethos into the company’s DNA. This is no small feat—it takes a Herculean effort from the top brass to give the CCO the muscle to flex. If the backing’s not there, the CCO’s journey is like navigating rapids without a paddle.
How do you get that and then sustain that backing? You need to deliver on the CX promise of winning the Triple Crown – simultaneously growing revenues, reducing costs and improving service. And yes not in some far distant time – but now. The good news is that has already happened for pragmatic results focused CCOs. They are the ones still in their jobs and going onto bigger and better.
To wrap this up, let’s lay it on the line: if a CCO is going to make waves, the role needs to be crystal clear. We need a blueprint for authority that doesn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble and an unwavering commitment from the C-suite crew. The revolving door of CCOs sends a distress flare—we need to wise up and fortify this role if we’re serious about winning the customer loyalty race and clinching that trophy of enduring triumph.
So, what’s the scoop from the CCO Council? It’s a treasure trove of insights into the trials and triumphs of the CCO odyssey. This is no mere spiel; it’s a tapestry woven with the threads of experience, painting a picture of a role that’s both vital and vulnerable. It’s time for businesses to buck up and rethink their strategy if they want to capture the full potential of customer-centric leadership. Because, at the end of the day, isn’t the customer what it’s all about?
It is the Chief Customer Officer’s most Perilous Journey
The BPG’s CEMMethod provides a framework to implement a practical and immediate improvement to both operational and strategic CX.
Review these resources for more:
Accredited Customer Experience Professional® (ACXP®) training: https://experienceprofessional.com/acxm_inviterce5167p
CEMMethod v.15: https://cemmethod.net
Meet Steve Towers
Steve Towers, an expert in customer experience, enjoys spreading his enthusiasm for this field through coaching, keynote speeches, books, and social media content.
He helps companies win the triple crown – the simultaneous ability to increase revenues, decrease costs, and enhance service – through the CEMMethod, which is now in version 15.
With over three decades of experience working with large enterprises worldwide, Steve has distilled the successful strategies of top-performing organizations into a proprietary methodology that can be easily imparted to CX teams and executives.
His forte lies in envisioning the future of customer-centricity, customer experience, process management and realizing long-term benefits from business transformation. Steve’s approach combines customer-focused thinking, cutting-edge technologies, and a human touch.