Driving the CX Agenda: Who’s Behind the Wheel?

“Have a very good reason for everything you do” – Laurence Olivier

How does your customer experience look under the glare of your customers’ expectations? Olivier’s sentiment cries out for justification, to put the thought process behind every business decision impacting the customer up in neon lights for reflection. What would be revealed?

According to PwC’s 2016 Global CEO Survey ‘Customers remain the top priority, with 90% of CEOs indicating they have a high or very high impact on their business strategy’. But how is that translating into existing CX strategy? The Survey states that ‘customer behaviour, in particular, has become more complicated as values and buying preferences evolve.’

Undoubtedly this rapidly evolving environment makes customer centricity a cornerstone, but who has stepped out from the shadows to ensure it stays firmly in the spotlight?

Customer advocates, Chief Customer Officers, are active the boardroom championing the cause of the customer and putting in place the strategy to promote change, inter-discipline collaboration, organisational alignment and customer-centric decision making.

NAB announced in July 2016 that they are creating not one but three Chief Customer Officer roles.

However the role of a customer advocate will look very different across organisations and backgrounds vary significantly between individuals. When we take a closer look at how Chief Customer Officers have arrived at their destination, we get a better flavour of the complex nature and diverse remit of the CCO role.

For example Julie Batch was appointed as the Chief Analytics Officer at Insurance Australia Group (IAG) in July 2014. By December 2015, Ms. Batch was heading up IAG’s Customer Labs as Chief Customer Officer, responsible for developing customer propositions and marketing strategies. For IAG, customer experience strategy is intrinsically linked to driving product innovation through data and insights. A natural progression for a CAO.

For Carsales.com.au their Chief Customer Officer, Vladka Kazda, was Chief Marketing Officer at the company for over five years before arriving at the CCO position. Ms Kazda owned and influenced customer experience at every level during her journey to CCO so a logical move.

For others, a natural rise in the ranks via customer experience roles has seen them awarded the CCO role. Damian Hearne, Chief Customer Officer at Auswide Bank has excelled in the leadership qualities required of a CCO to unite across  silos and move the business from delivering an uncoordinated experience to a reliable, deliberate and preferred customer experience.

Mark Reinke, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Suncorp, has also united the critical elements of customer, data and marketing. The customer listening path is critical but alone, it cannot deliver. It needs the proactive and innovative advocate with the leadership skills to drive initiatives.

CCOs often have a broad remit but primarily the requirement to develop the competency to operationalise the brand promise. Looking at the language, prioritisation, decision-making, bringing together operating groups, transforming the collaboration process, implementing the customer experience design. There is both faith and science behind the Chief Customer Officer.

Ultimately everyone in the business is involved in putting the customer first, but employee customer advocates are only fostered from a successful customer centric culture. What metrics are being used to measure the impact and success of a CCO?

To learn more about driving change, overcoming the challenges and critically measuring the success of the CCO, join Julie Batch, Vladka Kazda, Damian Hearne, and Mark Reinke as they share their insights at Chief Customer Officer Sydney, 28-29 November 2016

Learn how other organisations are addressing their CX challenges, learn about new approaches and strategies, whilst making new connections with industry peers. Join The Chief Customer Officer Forum LinkedIn group here.

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