When considering if the Chief Customer Officer should lead from customer service or marketing, an execution chasm will exist with either choice. This is not insurmountable. You just have to be aware of this and plan to fill in the missing disciplines and leadership skills.
Leading from Customer Service:
Customer service sees the issues that prevent reliability.
They repeatedly hear the things that get in the craw of the customer. Resolving these issues will greatly advance your relationships with customers. In fact, in some industries, just getting good at reliability is progress.
When you lead from customer service, the most natural order of business will be to take away the customer pain. Your customers will tell you this.
It is relatively straightforward and easy to understand. It takes commitment and pressure and the force of a real zealot to make the company make changes to take away the pain. By aggregating the issues that most greatly ail customers, customer service can drive change to fix the company. If you can excel in driving the company to eliminate those baseline issues, customer service can earn the right to expand the role over time.
Leading from Marketing:
Marketing drives the metrics side of the business as they relate to customer segmentation and the response rate to campaigns and offers.
Some marketers are now digging in deeply into the life cycle management side of the business, which forces their toe in the water on the process side of the work. But I’ve found here that the life cycle work frequently is cordoned off to be limited to defining contact points for marketing touch points.
Driving the customer work for the organization would require an expanded mind-set and ability to channel the work into the operating areas of the company.
The main issue here is if the operation has the bandwidth of time and resources to layer the work on to existing responsibilities, and if the passionate desire exists to drive this type of gnarly cross-company work.