Chief Customer Officer: The Roles and Responsibilities of a Modern CCO

Looking for a career as a Chief Customer Officer? In this article, we have mentioned the roles and responsibilities of a modern CCO.

Chief Customer Officer: The Roles and Responsibilities of a Modern CCO
Chief Customer Officer: The Roles and Responsibilities of a Modern CCO

When it comes to customer success, there are various roles in an organization, but the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is of particular importance.

Chief Customer Officers occupy the highest position in any customer success department. Serving alongside executive board members, they drive customer success initiatives like creating customer loyalty programs and offering customer success training for employees.

Since customer success is a relatively new business function, the Chief Customer Officer is one of the latest roles to develop. Nevertheless, the CCO role has picked up speed in the last few years. According to a report by CCO Council in 2014, 22% of Fortune 100 companies adopted CCO roles.

Since the boom of SaaS industry, this role has seen a sudden upsurge. If you are looking to position yourself as a CCO, then you must know all its responsibilities and strengths.

What is a Chief Customer Officer (CCO)?

The person who assumes full responsibility for everything customer-related is the chief customer officer. In some businesses, the chief customer officer handles customer complaints. In contrast, in others, the chief customer officer’s role is more operational and involves close collaboration with the customer service division.

Many chief customer officers are appointed to lead their organizations’ “voice of the customer” initiatives.

Previously, several executives shared the responsibility for a customer-centric culture and chances for revenue development with current clients.

The CCO now fully owns these domains through physical and digital communication channels or a person in a comparable position, such as the chief experience officer (CXO) or chief client officer.

The chief customer officer looks closely at what makes a customer tick in the end. They have a complete view of the customer’s whole lifespan. Additionally, they are aware of the crucial measurements for comprehending these elements.

Together with the executive board, the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) develops new initiatives and processes to enhance the customer experience. This could take various forms, from creating customer loyalty programs to personnel training courses on customer experience.

The title of chief customer officer can vary. Some of these positions are Chief Client Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Executive Vice President, Member Experience, Chief Global Customer, and Chief Marketing Officer, according to Harvard Business Review.

This position typically reports to the CEO, collaborates closely with the Chief Marketing Officer and the Chief Product Officer, and sits next to them.

The Historical Significance of CCO Position

This section looks to explore the significance and how the chief customer officer became important. The CCO is the one who supervises customer operations in a company. In 2004, Forrester published a report that spoke of a centralized customer experience approach. This report also mentioned the need for a central authority on all aspects of customers. 

Slowly with customer experience becoming a central aspect, there was more need for a manager or officer to handle it. Everything was siloed and in various departments leading to confusion, lack of transparency, and difficulty reaching expectations. Customer success as a concept did not exist, and it was majorly customer support. This changed with time when CRM started to grow as a powerful weapon to support customers. Customers are now progressively the most important circle of a company, and thus the need for a central authority was felt.

Roles and Responsibilities of a CCO

The CCO reports mainly to the CEO of a company. Most of the time, they are responsible for drawing the attention of C-suite executives to customer-centric values. You can see this by looking at their specific, day-to-day responsibilities.

Supervising Customer-Facing Teams

All the teams with customer-facing responsibilities come under the purview of a CCO. These teams include:

  1. Customer success
  2. Customer support
  3. Professional services
  4. Customer operations
  5. Customer experience

(Especially when dealing with upsells and renewals, account management teams also sometimes fall under the scope of CCO responsibilities. Other times, they report to a sales head.)

Enabling Cross-Functional Collaboration

In the traditional setup, departments are siloed, working in isolation. In doing so, they forget the most important component of their business: the customer. It is the CCO’s job to align departments with a customer-centric culture.

When it comes to the customer, they expect a consistent and seamless experience from the brand. It is not possible to provide such an experience if departments work alone. The CCO ensures that all departments—whether marketing, sales, customer support, or even product management—are unified. They must have a common vision to help customers succeed.

Strengthening Customer Relationships

While sales and marketing teams are busy fulfilling their targets, the product management team concerns itself with building its products, and the support team is busy resolving tickets. You may wonder who then is responsible for maintaining the customer relationship? It is the CCO.

The CCO is the voice of the customer in an organization. They construct exceptional relationships with customers. These relationships form not just out of goodwill but by adding tangible values. CCOs guide customer success departments to maintain such high-value relationships.

Training Employees

Infusing a customer-centric culture in an organization is not an easy task. Every employee must have proper training to give the best customer experience, and they must understand the difference between what customers want and what they need. CCOs design training modules toward such objectives.

They organize workshops and training modules for employees to ingrain customer-centric values. If required, they also hire the right candidates for customer-centric roles.

Building Loyalty Programs and Feedback

CCOs are responsible for driving initiatives for customer loyalty. These programs keep customer expectations in mind. Hence, customer feedback forms an important part of such programs.

Without feedback, customer-centric initiatives are blind shots in the dark. By gaining valuable insight from customers, companies can align their strategies and meetcustomer expectations while equipping them with the tools for success.

CCOs ensure that their team uses the right tools for collecting feedback. Taking the proper actions closes the feedback loop.

Improving the Overall Process Set-up

The CCOs then rely on this insightful feedback and the customer’s point of view to draft the new processes with a revamped version. This version helps the company map and track their interactions as per the customer’s needs and redesign the broken processes, if any, in the system.

Helps in Employee Communication

A great Chief Customer Officer is the one who ensures equal parity and treatment to both the customers as well as the employees. The happiness and satisfaction of both these crucial factors is vital for garnering success to a company. On that note, one of the biggest roles and responsibilities of the CCO is to make sure that all of the employees are well-informed about the policies or changes, way in advance and stay engaged in their efforts.

Imbibes Culture and Training

Diversity and Inclusion is a big talk of the customer success town. The budding officers and managers are trying to rope in the best of culture from all walks of life and provide a healthy working space for all the people. The CCO also sees that proper training is provided to the employees as and when the need arises.

How does the Chief Customer Officer Organizational Structure Look?

Usually, the C-suite comprises of the following three designations: CEO, COO, and, CFO. The designation of the Chief Customer Officer hops in next. This is where they look into the important aspects such as Products, Services, Customer Segment Management, etc. Still confused? Well, look at this hierarchy here. This might give you a hint as to how does the Chief Customer Officer organizational structure look like.

How Does the CCO Achieve their Vision?

CCO achieving their vision

CCOs are clearly involved in many wide-ranging responsibilities as they drive customer-centricity and instill a value-driven culture. Let us turn to the various methodologies they apply in achieving those visions.

Using Metrics

CCOs often show their progress in the form of a gross retention rate. This metric shows the rate of revenue being generated from existing customers. These revenues include the following:

  1. Renewals of the subscription
  2. Account expansion through upselling or cross-selling

The net retention number also shows the number of customers retained in a given period.

Aligning Sales Teams

A CCO checks on the sales team to ensure they are selling to the right-fit customer. If the customer leaves before the customer acquisition cost is recovered, then it is a loss for the business.

They add a layer of qualification for the right customers whose predicted lifetime value surpasses their acquisition cost.

Helping Marketing Teams

The CCO helps marketing teams collaborate with customer advocates. They use these advocates to create case studies and put them in the spotlight. In this way, prospects relate deeply with customer voices, and they eventually add to the sales funnel.

Enabling Product Enhancement

The CCO evaluates customer feedback on the product and takes it forward to the product management team for implementation. They help product management teams strategize on the product to facilitate adoption and experience:

  1. Earlier adoption
  2. Easier features
  3. Better experience

These customer-centric dimensions to the product can only be added by the Chief Customer Officer.

What are the Reasons to Hire a CCO?

  • Transformation leader: The CCO is in short a transformation leader. They strive to create a customer-centric culture throughout the organization. They also provide a depth and breadth of experience across business functions including the various departments of the company.
  • Competitive advantage: The CCO delves into a focused, strategic, and detailed planning process. They are also responsible to imbibe a customer-centric culture to drive business performance, profitability and create a stellar customer experience across the entire organization.
  • Higher customer retention: It is the CCO who builds up high quality long-lasting customer relationships. They also ensures that happy, loyal and satisfied customers are created who engage deeply with the company, stay longer and purchase more products and services.
  • Resolution of Service issues: The CCO is responsible for addressing root cause issues to eliminate customer defection and to keep revamped and happy relationships with the existing customers. One of the other reason to hire a CCO is because they look into the customer-facing processes to simplify the service experience.

Tools that are Needed to Perform the Role of CCO Effectively

For any company, technology can enable better functioning of the processes. A CCO or chief customer officer who is beginning their customer success journey must have the right tools. The CS team must know the right technology platforms that create ease of operations. The essential set of products needed by CS teams will help them across the customer journey, improves customer experience, and enhances operations.

SmartKarrot is a customer success tool that leverages smart technology to enhance customer success operations, improve product insights, create better customer understanding, improve customer experience, and proactively help customers across the customer journey. SmartKarrot has a bevy of tools-

  • Customer engagement tool connects with customers and answers their questions through various touchpoints and channels- email, phone, or text message.
  • Survey tools to understand customer expectations, needs, and product understanding.
  • Customer intelligence to understand customers better and reduce wait times

What are the Challenges a CCO Will Face in the Process?

A chief customer officer is a position that is rising in demand. The need for customer experience has grown, and hence there needs to be a central figure to look after all customer-focused initiatives. The CCO is the latest entrant in the C-suite to help members perform duties to the best of their abilities. The key challenges a CCO needs to resolve include-

  • Improve customer education and educate key stakeholders on their duties
  • Enhance communication about CX goals and customer experience
  • Develop a proper plan and process for customer experience
  • Set precise objectives and create a strategy
  • Do a customer sentiment analysis
  • Conduct an expectation analysis to know if the business is performing as per customer expectations.
  • Increase transparency and accountability among key stakeholders

Salary Range of CCO

The CCO is a relatively new officer. The salary range of a chief customer officer depends on education, years of experience, location, and previous salary. As per salary.com, the average CCO salary ranges between $190,000 and $270,500. As per PayScale, the average salary of a chief customer officer is $165,900. In the United Kingdom, the average salary as per Glassdoor is £112,151 per year. As per PayScale, the average salary is £140000 for a chief customer officer. In Australia, the average salary is AU$155340 as per PayScale. According to salary.com, the average salary in Australia is A$304,925. As per SalaryExpert, the chief customer officer salary in India is ₹47,65,723.

Return of Investment of a CCO Position

Where exactly does the chief customer officer add real value to the organization? We must talk about your CCO’s return on investment. There are two locations to look for the answer, albeit it is more intricate than it appears.

Customer-centric culture

The culture of your business is one of the most significant returns on your investment in a CCO, despite being challenging to assess. Why? Its effects include:

Product creation

Instead of assuming what the consumer wants, development teams can make more effective adjustments by understanding input from the customer base.

Commercializing

The consumer feels taken care of through the public promotion of customer success stories. This can persuade potential customers that your company genuinely cares about the success of its clientele.

The entire organization

CCOs will contribute to the entire organization’s success by putting the customer and employee experience first. Companies that invest in employee experience can be up to four times more profitable than those that don’t, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Although enhancing corporate culture is excellent, revenue growth is where your CCO will really see a return on investment.

Revenue growth

With the help of revenue growth, the chief customer officer can help decipher whether they are able to justify their position.

This implies:

Customer loyalty

Existing customer recurrent revenue that is sustainable. Your CCO is acting appropriately if this is getting better. A CCO should be responsible for customer retention and continuously work to identify and prioritize factors contributing to customer churn.

Internal development

Utilizing present clientele to expand business through up-sells, cross-sells, and word-of-mouth advertising. Customer lifetime value, or the average profit you may anticipate from each customer, will be a crucial statistic to assess the performance of your CCO.

Client satisfaction

The executive level can determine whether the CCO is promoting customer pleasure, loyalty, and retention by looking at metrics like the monetized Net Promoter Score.

Creating consumer recommendations

Your Net Promoter program should be managed by a CCO who will use customer feedback on a large scale to encourage new recommendations. In the B2B market, turning on your referral engine is a potent growth lever.

Final Thoughts

Your customer acquisition strategies are essential for scaling your business. To ensure that you existing customers do not leave, you should consider investment in customer success.59

Hiring a mid-management customer success team can help you to a certain extent, but a CCO can bring the power to influence departments and implement futuristic strategies toward better customer experience.

You might also like:


Get a live demo!

See how SmartKarrot can transform your customer success outcomes.

Book a Demo

Take SmartKarrot for a spin

See how SmartKarrot can help you deliver
winning customer outcomes at scale.