Louis Columbus wrote a blog post entitled, “Chief Customer Officers: Only Ass-Kickers Need Apply” While I love his characterization of the The Chief Customer Officer as Chief A*%-Kicker, in my experience, that is (or should be) the role of the CEO.
The Chief Customer Officer needs to focus on four things to be successful:
1.) Drive customer accountability across the organization
2.) Truly understand customers and gather the hard, tangible customer data to champion the customer’s cause and justify change
3.) Identify ways to keep the customers coming back longer
4.) Examine existing customers as a predictor to the types of customers that sales and marketing need to be bringing in the door.
As Louis wrote, customer accountability is critical and is hands-down the most important role of the Chief Customer Officer.
However, the CCO cannot own customer satisfaction/loyalty/whatever metric is in play today because if they do, the organization abdicates their responsibility for the metric and scapegoats the CCO when things go south.
If the CCO doesn’t have explicit support from the CEO, they’ll be stonewalled at every turn as they attempt, as Louis suggested, to break down the barriers in the organizations to deliver true customer value.
If you’re interested, I’ve written an Annual CCO Report that describes the roles & responsibilities of some major CCOs. A summary of it was published in the Handbook of Business Strategy and can be found at http://predictiveconsulting.com/articles.html. Contact me if you want the full report at email@example.com.