I recently came across an interesting read from the Harvard Business Review which discusses ‘the rise of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). The article starts by stating that “… these individuals serve as top executives with the mandate and power to design, orchestrate, and improve customer experiences across the ever-more-complex range of customer interactions.”

A key finding in the report highlights that “…It’s not just about fixing problems — it’s about accelerating growth. While some firms turn to a customer experience leader to fix issues that are creating legions of unhappy customers, most focus on the desire to accelerate growth, better integrate acquired companies, or shift priorities for a changing competitive environment. Sometimes it’s new leadership that spurs action, other times efforts percolating within companies capture executives’ attention.”

Excellent news for customers but in general where or where are these CCO’s hiding? Where are our knights in shining armour? Where are these saviours of the humble customer? Are they a minority species limited to large multinationals i.e. those organisations with very large customer bases?

Research carried out by the CCO Council (web link below) has shown that less than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies have CCOs suggesting that most CCOs work for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs).

The title CCO appears to be a recent enough development, notwithstanding that the job itself and the accountability it holds may not be new. However, is it that the role of the CCO is currently in vogue and likely to fall out of favour in the short to medium term? In these times of severe austerity is there a potential for the role of the CCO to ‘crash and burn’ or take a nose dive into obscurity? Is this a luxury an organisation can afford, or more to the point, cannot afford to be without during these lean economic times?

Interesting times may lay ahead for those successful in securing the title (and job, of course) of CCO!

CCO’s … If you are out there please let us know either in person or by ensuring superior customer experience is achieved by your organisation.

The full HBR article can be viewed here.

View the COO Council website here.

PS: So as not to confuse the matter there are numerous roles that are referred to as CCO! Some are listed below.

Chief communications officer

Executive responsible for communications, public relations and/or public affairs

Chief commercial officer

Executive responsible for commercial strategy and development

Chief compliance officer

Executive responsible for compliance with regulatory requirements

Chief content officer

Executive responsible for content in broadcasting

Chief creative officer    

Creative director of advertising agency or similar

Chief cultural officer

Executive responsible for specific marketing and branding initiatives

Chief customer officer

Executive responsible for the total relationship with customers

Chief channel officer

Executive responsible for indirect revenue with a partner within an organization

Civilian Communications Officer

A position in the Central Communications Command of London’s Metropolitan Police Service

Call centre operator      

Hard working!

Mark O'Loughlin

Mark is a global authority in helping organisations achieve the very best from their investments in people, technology and digital services. He has served on the Board of Directors of itSMF Ireland and Cloud Credential Council. Mark is a Fellow of the Irish Computer Society, awarded for his achievements and contribution to the IT profession and industry. His prolific publishing includes two books published in four languages, 100’s of articles, and whitepapers. He developed the world’s first certification for the business management of cloud services accredited by Cloud Credential Council. As a member of the international standards group ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 38, Mark contributed to the development of global standards for IT, cloud and digital services.