Should Customer Service or the CMO Lead Customer Experience? Introducing the Customer Experience Execution Chasm

Many organizations considering a Chief Customer Officer frequently consider layering the role on to an existing position already held inside the organization.  Two frequent considerations for adding the CCO responsibilities to a current role are:

  1. Adding the work to the existing responsibilities of the Vice President of Customer Service.
  2. Adding the work to the existing responsibilities of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).

While the Chief Customer Officer work can be led from these two operational areas, it’s important to go into this with your eyes open.

Layering the customer work on top of existing responsibilities should not be considered a no-brainer.

When considering if the CCO should lead from either service or marketing, there are required disciplines that don’t exist automatically in either organization.

An execution chasm will exist with either choice. This is not insurmountable. You just have to be aware of this and plan for how 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 the chasm in 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:

The core competencies that marketing will drive are the metrics side of the business as they relate to customer segmentation metrics and response 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 drive 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.

2 thoughts on “Should Customer Service or the CMO Lead Customer Experience? Introducing the Customer Experience Execution Chasm

  1. Guy Nirpaz says:

    Definitely an interesting question and one that keeps popping up customer success meetups. There are benefits from having a role that comes from each side but just like how lifecycle marketing doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach, every company has its own style of managing and divvying up roles.

    For those still wondering if it’s even necessary to have such a role, this should be convincing enough: http://ow.ly/c2S05 .

    Guy Nirpaz

    CEO and Founder of Totango

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