According to Matt Kresch, Microsoft Dynamics CRM director of product marketing for service enterprise, while technology has improved over the last two decades, the accelerating pace is one of the reasons organizations find it more difficult to provide their clients with high quality experiences.
This decline in service quality is also an effect of the need for businesses to focus on issues that provide more immediate returns on investment. Traditionally, companies prioritize will new-customer acquisitions and successful product launches – both are obviously necessary in operating a sustainable business. However, times are quickly changing and this change is forcing companies to revise their business models and strategies to focus on the customer experience and journey.
In doing so, many businesses are beginning to create high-level executive positions within their organizations to produce and maintain this quality customer experience. In fact, 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adopted some type of Chief Experience Officer (CXO), and that number is growing rapidly with the technology sector in particular leading the charge.
Is a CXO position really that new?
Many companies have toggled between marketing, customer service and even IT to find the right department who will be responsible for the customer experience and their journey. Even though each of these departments play a key role, having a CXO can bring together all of the internal departments involved while simultaneously reducing the disconnect customers often feel from brands they engage with.
This is a new-ish (maybe past 6 to 7 years) position for an executive in charge of the way customers experience the company, but really it’s a function that can be considered as old as the sales role. At the core, this role would need to work across marketing, development, and HR functions helping everyone work together and thinking about how to make total experiences as lively, creative and engaging as possible. In short, a CXO should be able to find discrepancies in the customer experience and make moves to create a seamless journey.
One of the biggest challenges preventing enterprises from offering better customer experiences and journeys is an over-reliance on outdated metrics. According to the Microsoft white paper titled, Strategic Considerations When Building Customer Service for the Next Decade, “tracking data such as first-call resolution, average handle time or even how many interactions an agent closes in one hour is the wrong approach to customer service these days.”
Most of those basic metrics we’re accustomed to tracking are becoming more irrelevant in providing appropriate answers. Common metrics such as operational efficiency often don’t correlate with strong customer service. Meanwhile, the proliferation of enterprise touch points with clients, through social media, telephone calls, direct messaging, and other channels requires that enterprises provide good, consistent experiences across a wide variety of platforms.
To address the issue, the CXO should focus on several key elements. The first is to centralize the various components common to all customer service interactions across all channels. Second, they must look for ways to implement more self-service and automation technology that make customers feel more empowered. In the end, the main goal of the CXO is to build an exceptional customer experience journey at the highest levels of an organization.
What qualifies a CXO?
Job descriptions will vary from organization to organization, but the CXOs is responsible for enhancing the overall experience that customers have with the brand. Part marketing/communications person and part HR expert, the CXO’s responsibility must encompass a deep understanding of what the organization’s audiences want and need in order to develop trust and customer loyalty.
The CXO can then begin looking at every customer encounter and exploring the internal structure to determine what may be getting in the way of delivering delight throughout the customer journey.
A big part of consumer choice comes from the quality of how brands and businesses engage us. Today’s successful companies are not only developing services and products that are pleasing and useful but also creating memorable experiences. Even if your organization may not be ready to hire a CXO, an underlying culture of and commitment to an improved customer experience that it can be proud of should be developed.