The Curious Case of Recruiting a Chief Omnichannel Officer

Is there a need to recruit a chief Omnichannel officer for your B2B SaaS business? Let us try to get a definite answer through this blog.

Chief Omnichannel Officer

C-Suite executives are a vital part of any successful company. They provide the strong foundation and leadership necessary for the success of any company.

These high-ranking executives include several ‘chief’ job titles, such as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Operating Officer (COO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), and Chief Customer Officer (CCO). These highest-paid employees of a company are responsible for setting strategies for the company and making high-stake decisions.

The most recent entrant in the C-Suite executive rank is a Chief Omnichannel Officer – the topic of this blog article.

Going by the definition accepted in the market, a Chief Omnichannel Officer is the executive responsible for integrating various contact centers and customer technologies to provide an ‘omnichannel’ experience to customers rather than the ‘multi-channel’ experience they have been getting traditionally.    

The emergence of this new role can be attributed to the availability of myriads of channels through which companies can connect with their customers, and most importantly, the changed customer behaviors resulting from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The availability of myriads of channels with differing marketing strategies can leave customers confused at the end of the day. Any B2B SaaS company targeting growth cannot achieve its target without integrating all channels to provide their customers with an omnichannel experience. 

Roles and responsibilities of a person designated at chief Omnichannel officer position 

Now that you know that a new C-Suite executive is emerging in the B2B SaaS market, you must be eager to understand their roles and responsibilities. And it is necessary to pay close attention to this because the definition seems somewhat to overlap with Chief Customer Officer (CCO).

So, let us look at the roles and responsibilities of a person designated for the Chief Omnichannel Officer Position. 

Create a strong, unified customer experience 

An omnichannel officer is a customer-centric position; their duty is more inclined towards customers than the organization they represent. So, one of the primary roles they need to play is creating a strong, unified customer experience.

Customers are overloaded with information bombarded by businesses in today’s digital world. To make yourself heard amidst the noise surrounding your customer being unique is not enough. If your different channels are sending different messages to your customers, they will become confused and overwhelmed. Any company adopting such an approach need not any competitor to gradually bring down their sales and growth perspective.

A chief omnichannel officer unifies all the voices coming from your different channels into one strong message to be communicated to the customers. Instead of overwhelming the customers, this unified message gives them a clear call to action. 

Integrating different contact centers and customer technologies to provide an Omnichannel experience for the customers and employees working in the organization 

The next point to consider here is – Will only the customers, benefit from an omnichannel experience? Certainly not! Though the position of the omnichannel officer is customer-centric, the employees and the organization as a whole get benefitted from their work.

An omnichannel officer integrated different contact centers and customer technologies to provide an Omnichannel experience for the customers and employees working in the organization.

When all the channels are integrated to create a unified message for customers, employees working for different channels work as a team. They support others and get support in return. They start working for the organization with customers in their prime focus rather than their respective departments. Needless to say, this can catalyze the upsell in any B2B SaaS company.

Break down the silos and bring different departments together 

With their integrating role, the omnichannel officer can significantly break down the silos and bring different departments to work together. Traditionally, many companies have several departments working in isolation from each other. The employees of these departments rarely come in contact with each other. As discussed earlier, the employees in such a setting work for their department rather than working for the organization or customers.

A chief Omnichannel Officer can bring all these departments and employees together. This means the customer receives from the sales department what the campaign of the marketing department says, and the customer support department provides the after-sell support promised by the sales department. In a nutshell, everything for the customers will be seamless and effortless.    

Create more cohesive internal processes leading to more efficient and engaged employees 

You can see this as an extension of the previous point. When silos are broken, the internal process within an organization becomes more cohesive. A cohesive work environment is always fruitful from the viewpoint of employees’ satisfaction. Working in isolation often frustrates employees resulting in diminished productivity.

A Chief Omnichannel Officer can help create an integrated and cohesive work environment that enhances employee efficiency and engagement.

Why should B2B SaaS companies contemplate recruiting a chief Omnichannel officer? 

Now that you are familiar with the buzzword Chief Omnichannel Officer and their roles and responsibilities, it is time to see things from your business’ viewpoint. Being a B2B SaaS company, do you require an Omnichannel Officer?

Here are a few reasons why a B2B SaaS company should contemplate recruiting a Chief Omnichannel Officer.

To track the behavior changes of customers that have already subscribed to your product 

Any SaaS business to track any change of behavior in their customers. As the entire SaaS industry runs on the subscription model, they have to put effort into holding their customers continuously. If a SaaS company fails to read the change in behavior of the customer, it will fail to maintain its revenue retention rate or stop the churn or contraction.

Equally true is the fact that customers’ behavior keeps on changing rapidly, and it has gained much pace in the past few years. A Chief Omnichannel Officer has an eye on all the contact centers, and thus they can help track the behavior of already subscribed customers through various channels.

To make each and every department of your organization Omnichannel 

If you wish to increase the growth of your company, you need all your departments to work in tandem for one specific goal – serving the customer best. An Omnichannel officer can make each and every department of your organization Omnichannel by breaking the silos and making them work together.

To transit from multichannel to Omnichannel 

You must already be utilizing various mediums and channels to stay connected with your customers. And you must be utilizing each of the channels to communicate with them. But are messages of all those channels integrated?

Typically, companies are currently using a multichannel approach where several channels are used to communicate with customers. Different messages coming from different channels can overwhelm customers. So, you need to transition from a multichannel to an omnichannel approach, and a Chief Omnichannel Officer can help in a smooth transition.

To read customer data effectively and create customized interactions with the customers 

Customization is one of the best ways to create a difference in the SaaS industry. To create this difference, you need to read your customer data effectively. Based on this data, you can create customized interactions with your customers.

A Chief Omnichannel Officer has equal access to all the channels. Thus, it can help you collect data from different sources and integrate them to understand your customer behavior and expectations. And thus creating the best customer experience.

Should a B2B SaaS organization recruit a CCO or chief Omnichannel officer? 

The above discussion must have made it clear that a Chief Omnichannel Officer can bring a lot of value to a B2B SaaS organization. But, a debate around the topic is still hot in the market. Some experts believe that the Chief Customer Officer is already functioning to provide the customers with an integrated or unified experience.

Are Chief Omnichannel Officer and Chief Customer Officer the one and the same thing? No! There is a difference.

The biggest difference between CCO and chief Omnichannel officer 

The biggest difference between CCO and Chief Omnichannel Officers is the difference in their purchasing power. Typically, CCO does not have purchasing powers like CMO or CIO, but Chief Omnichannel Officer has that power. They can purchase and manage integrated technologies and other resources for fulfilling the task, while CCO without the purchasing power is like an advocate of customers floating from department to department.

BUT, the other difference between the two is not less important. A CCO functions with an outside-in approach where customers come first, and everything else is designed according to the end goal. After all, the customer is the king and will always be! On the other hand, a Chief Omnichannel Officer is focused on integrating different channels, and the customer comes into the picture at a later stage. This is an inside-out approach. So, from the viewpoint of customer experience, CCO seems to be closer to customers than Chief Omnichannel Officer.35

Final Thoughts  

The concept of Chief Omnichannel Officer is the hot cake in the market, especially as a response to altered customer behavior in the wake of the global pandemic. There are a few debates ‘for’ and ‘against’ this new concept. But, most of the forward-thinking futuristic companies are choosing to hire chief omnichannel officers in addition to existing CCOs to have the best of both the world. When these C-Suite executives work in tandem, they can create great value for the organization. Together, they can create an excellent customer experience by adopting the best of both inside-out and outside-in approaches.

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