Businesses around the world are finding a bottom-line benefit from having a chief customer officer (CCO) in the C-suite -- someone who is focused on the customer experience, customer engagement, and customer loyalty. Curtis Bingham, founder and executive director of the CCO Council, recently wrote about the positive impact chief customer officers are having on company financials.
Could you see similar results if you brought a CCO on to your executive team? Maybe you’ve already hired a CCO but haven’t yet experienced the ROI of investing in the customer experience. Either way, Bingham offers a good case for why CCOs are vital -- and becoming more vital -- in today’s increasingly competitive business climate. Indeed, he seems to offer numbers to prove it.
Understanding Modern Customers
Bingham starts off by pointing out how modern customers need access to what companies have to offer through various media channels based on their lifestyles and preferences -- but they also need a consistent customer experience across these same channels. Think about it for a minute. It’s easy for customers to switch vendors if they don’t get the support they feel they need.
“So multi-channel accessibility and consistency of experience across those channels have become essential components to winning the competition for customers,” Bingham said. “More and more, companies are recognizing the financial benefits of customer satisfaction and its proportionate relationships with loyalty and profitability.”
That, according to Bingham, is where the CCO comes in. Although he admits this role is still emerging and evolving, the CCO Council has defined it this way: the executive responsible for the total relationship with an organization's customers.
Until now, the challenge for many companies eyeing the potential benefits of adding this role to the C-suite roster has been marrying the position to a return on investment. Now, however, the CCO Council is offering some proof points, based on a recently conducted two-year study that could turn the CEO’s head.
Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the study, 67 percent of participating companies saw positive fiscal effects during the tenure of the CCO, reporting an average "growth excess of industry of 5.98 percent." Researchers computed company growth excess of industry by subtracting industry from company growth for each year evaluated. In this case, that adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars. By way of comparison, 33 percent of companies experienced an average of 5.2 percent decrease in growth excess of industry.
“Clearly, not all positive or negative results can be attributed to the CCO,” Bingham said. However, it is equally clear "that the influence of the CCO is positively correlated with improved company fiscal performance.”
Bingham wrapped up his column with four key takeaways from the CCO Council research: (1) customer centricity is a two-year investment; (2) the CCO must show contribution to long-term revenue and profitability improvements; (3) in absence of growth, the CCO may help prevent a slide; and (4) every company says it is customer centric but few truly are.