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Looking for a career as a Chief Customer Officer? In this article, we have mentioned 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.
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.
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.
All the teams with customer-facing responsibilities come under the purview of a CCO. These teams include:
(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.)
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.
While sales and marketing teams busy themselves 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 a goodwill but by adding tangible values. CCOs guide customer success departments to maintain such high-value relationships.
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.
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 meeting customer 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.
The CCOs then rely on these insightful feedback and the customer’s point of view to draft the new processes with a revamped version. This version that helps the company map and track their interactions as per the customer’s needs and redesign the broken processes, if any, in the system.
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.
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.
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.
Source: Marketing Journal
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.
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:
The net retention number also shows the number of customers retained in a given period.
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.
The CCO helps marketing teams collaborate with customer advocates. They use these advocates to create case studies and put them in spotlight. In this way, prospects relate deeply with customer voices, and they eventually add to the sales funnel.
The CCO evaluates customer feedback on the product and take it forward to the product management team for implementation. They help product management teams strategize on the product to facilitate adoption and experience:
These customer-centric dimensions to the product can only be added by the Chief Customer Officer.
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-
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-
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 37,61,590.
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.38
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.
Snigdha Jena is a customer success manager at SmartKarrot. She has been active in the customer success and SaaS space for a while now. She has worked with Quant LegalTech, Intuit, and RepRecom solutions in various capacities.
Published 10 Sep 2020, Updated 22 Mar 2022
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