Jeanne Bliss: Years One Through Four: How to Advance and Elevate the Chief Customer Officer Role

As the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) of the organization, you may at times feel like you’re begging for people to listen to you, to understand your goals, and to implement your suggestions. This is an important role in the growth of your organization, and you will need the help of your C-Suite team, especially the CEO, in order to gain real traction in your work.

As you get acquainted with the five competencies and how they come together, your role will evolve as you implement the competencies through the phases of the Customer Experience Maturity Map. Years one through three is what I call the “disruption, blocking and tackling years.” Embedding competencies into the organization to focus and work together will disrupt deeply rooted silo-based operations and leadership.

Successful CCOs Deliberately Build a Plan of Action!

People know how to achieve results within their silo walls. CCO’s role and direction will challenge silo-based work. It’s their role to move the organization in unison to improve customers’ lives, which will disrupt definitions and metrics for success, work implementation, and organizational habits.

How to Advance and Elevate the Chief Customer Officer Role

Successful Chief Customer Officers deliberately build a plan of action in the early years to include uniting leadership actions and behaviour, advancing from silo-based to one-company focus, embedding actions or competencies to achieve greater results, and enabling employee performance. I recently spoke with Guy Nirpaz, CEO and Founder of Totango about this path to organizational and customer success on my podcast.

We agreed that when the CCO and CEO come together to create unity across the whole organization, it’s easier for everyone to see that there’s one common goal, and that’s to meet customer goals.

“Early years” of the work can mean the span of years one through three, depending on the size and complexity of the organization and the ability to effect change. If it happens to take a little longer than three years, don’t feel discouraged. It’s important to start with the lowest hanging fruit and continue to achieve small wins along the way.

Years 1 through 3: Chief Customer Officer Priorities

  • UNITE: Unite leader actions, decisions, and behaviour for customer-driven growth.
  • CONVINCE: Convince the organization, through listening and engaging them, that one-company focus will improve their results.
  • BUILD: Build and embed actions and competencies to achieve greater results.
  • FIX: Fix unreliable priority customer experiences. Remove employee obstacles.
  • PROVE: Prove the connection to customer and employee advocacy and growth. Deliver value. Earn the right to continue the work.

Year 4 and Beyond: Chief Customer Officer Priorities

  • UNITE: Unite the organization to deliver differentiated experiences that elevate the role you play in customers’ lives.
  • ENABLE: Enable the maturity of decisions to improve customers’ lives. Embed competencies to become the work of the organization.
  • PROVE: Prove the connection to customer and employee advocacy and growth. Deliver value. Earn the right to continue the work.

Over time, the five competencies will move from being disruptive to part of “business as usual.” You’ll notice that in the second phase of work, year 4 and beyond, the “fix” stage has been removed. During this evolution, leadership and company member behaviour matures from requiring facilitation and fixing, to collaboration using natural skill sets that will have been embedded regularly throughout the organization.

How to Advance and Elevate the Chief Customer Officer Role

What I do know, is that the need for proving value for the role is omnipresent. The need to prove value is at the cornerstone of this work. As CCOs, you must always earn the right to continue to do the work.

Jeanne BlissJeanne Bliss is the Founder and President of CustomerBliss, and the Co-Founder of The Customer Experience Professionals Association. Jeanne Bliss pioneered the role of the Chief Customer Officer, holding the first-ever CCO role at Lands’ End, Microsoft, Coldwell Banker and Allstate Corporations. Reporting to each company’s CEO, she moved the customer to the strategic agenda, redirecting priorities to create transformational changes to each brands’ customer experience. She has driven achievement of 95 per cent loyalty rates, improving customer experiences across 50,000-person organizations. Jeanne is a highly sought after speaker, keynoting high profile conferences and corporate events. She has spoken for speaking clients such as Intuit, Pella Windows, Staples, Activision, MetLife, Zappos, and AARP, and has appeared in major media outlets such as Fast Company, Forbes, MSNBC, The Associated Press and The Conference Board.


This article originally appeared on the CustomerBliss blog. Reproduced here with permission.