The Customer Experience Role: Not Just a Trend, But a Movement
You might have noticed in the past year or so, an even greater volume of personalized emails and direct mail being received from banks, restaurants, hotels and other companies and institutions with whom you’ve done business or previously researched. I know this is true for me. But what’s behind that?
At least two things seem to be at play here. With the rise of so-called Big Data—the accumulation of massive quantities of data and software that helps users efficiently sort it for buying patterns and other actionable intelligence—and the ever-increasing imperative to build repeat customers, smart companies are using such tactics to build customer loyalty and to otherwise become “stickier” to their existing customers and clients.
By building a stronger relationship, companies can derive lifetime value from customers—some even try to quantify this. And of course it’s many times less expensive to retain existing customers than to find new ones.
All of these converging trends have led to a new management specialty: the Customer Experience Director, VP or Officer (CXO). We wrote about this in our most recent Torchlight.
Not Merely a Trend, But a Movement
But is it just the latest corporate trend of the month, or something more enduring? I think it’s the latter. This area is no longer really just a trend. It’s becoming an entire movement. We learned that, in part, through a recent executive search engagement. One of our long-standing clients, a prominent Fortune 250 global organization, asked us to perform a search for just such a professional for their management team. The origin of this engagement especially caught my attention.
Our client’s CEO had chatted with his outgoing counterpart at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic. CEO (at the time) Toby Cosgrove had recently added an experience officer at the Clinic. That conversation inspired the CEO to return to his management team with the idea of finding such a professional. We were asked to do some research on this particular functional area and to help tweak the job description, which in part went like this:
The Customer Intelligence Manager will be responsible for capturing customer insights for specific customer segments, sharing these insights with the leadership team, and ensuring the successful implementation of Customer Experience initiatives to increase business performance…They will clearly translate and communicate the needs of our customers to improve their overall experience across the entire customer journey.
I can’t help noticing how popular this has become. And the interest in this area spans the range of companies and institutions, young and old. Emerging companies such as Harry’s (the men’s razor company), which is currently searching for a head of its North American customer experience team, are joining the bandwagon along with century-old iconic institutions like the Cleveland Orchestra, which recently hired its first customer experience officer. “It’s not just what happens on stage,” the orchestra’s new CXO told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Everything we do has to be up to that same standard. We have to be outstanding in every respect.”
And in the end, that is indeed what it’s all about, for any organization. The value of this role is to systematically and comprehensively listen to the customer, and in doing so to empower satisfied ambassadors for your brand. Armed with that deep understanding of the customer base, the CXO can then make strategic recommendations to upper management that will help create the organizational momentum for what management guru Jim Collins has called a flywheel effect – an operation that spins with increasing efficiency.
In this era of heightened competition in every industry, can your company afford to fall behind competitors who are pursuing this strategy?
- Posted by Guillaume Muller-Greven
- On February 20, 2019
- 0 Comments