Insight on the emerging and evolving role of the CXO and why every company should have a champion for all “NOW Customer” user experiences.
A chief experience officer (CXO) is a C-suite executive responsible for a company’s overall experience. A CXO activates customer experience (CX) strategies to deliver differentiated brand experiences that build customer loyalty and advocacy. The role now includes employee experience (EX) to ensure employees embody the brand’s customer promise and deliver brand expectations.
A customer experience officer (CXO) will typically report to the chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), or chief marketing officer (CMO). A CXO also works very closely with change management, learning and development, and human resources teams. This necessary cross-functional collaboration deepens employee understanding of customer satisfaction and leadership’s sense of their people and employee satisfaction.
Why Should Every Company Have A CXO?
The customer experience starts when customers first encounter a brand. The customer’s relationship with the brand continues when a product or service is purchased, even after it is no longer needed. The chief experience officer’s responsibility is to prevent customer neglect and ensure each step of the buyer’s journey and the customer lifecycle is positive and user friendly. The goal is for customer satisfaction to remain high throughout the relationship.
According to Gartner, customer experience drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty, outperforming brand equity and price combined. In fact, a good customer experience makes a person five times more likely to recommend a company and more likely to purchase in the future. Additionally, the NOW Customer (consumers who are always on and always online) seek speed, results, and an emotional connection to brands during their buying experience. The NOW Customer expects rapid resolutions and engaged interactions from their brands at all times and across every touchpoint.
As a result, a CXO must continually innovate the experience delivered to customers to meet their evolving needs and make sure no customer is neglected.
But the customer experience is only one part of the equation. Employees ultimately design and deliver the customer experience based on how well they understand and align with the brand’s mission, vision, and values. Employee engagement is also highly related to many business performance outcomes. Based on three Gallup measures and a study of employee engagement this year, the overall percentage of engaged workers during 2020 was 36%. This reflects those who are highly involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace.
In today’s experience economy, if a company is not providing a differentiated experience from the beginning of the customer journey, then price point will be the only decision-maker for products and services. Forrester reports that 76% of executives say improving CX is a high or critical priority, and many companies have established a C-level position to oversee it. Centralizing customer and employee experience under the chief experience officer allows a company to successfully engage the ecosystem of stakeholders – customers, employees, cross-functional leadership– needed to activate a consumer-centric vision and strategy.
What Does A CXO Do?
The chief experience officer role is relatively new to the C-suite. The CXO role has evolved to include experiences and has replaced the chief customer officer (CCO). That newness can mean dynamic responsibilities, making for a position that’s both challenging and rewarding. A CXO’s responsibilities will vary by industry and by the company itself. To answer the question “What does a CXO do?” we will review the most important goals for a chief experience officer and then their duties.
- The CXO role’s primary goal is to monitor the current experience delivered to customers and continually innovate the brand experience to exceed customer expectations to increase customer satisfaction.
- The employee experience is similarly essential, as engaged employees engage customers. A CXO’s focus is on improving both customer and employee understanding of the brand’s value proposition, designing and activating CX strategies, prioritizing a customer’s viewpoint in any decision-making processes, and keeping track of key performance indicators (KPIs).
Another important goal for a chief experience officer is to integrate customer and employee experience across the organization and align all employees to the brand promise and a common purpose. In leading the company to become more experience-centered, the CXO breaks down the silos between marketing, business development, people and culture (human resources), customer success teams, and senior leadership.
This cross-functional collaboration is critical as most change initiatives fail because of misalignment throughout the organization.
What Are A Chief Experience Officer’s Duties?
Chief experience officers must continually evaluate business practices, methods, and strategies to improve customer interactions while keeping employees engaged. A CXO does this by ensuring employees are passionate about the company’s products and services so that this spirit comes across when working with customers.
Specific duties in a typical chief experience officer job description include:
- Overseeing customer service teams, customer experience practitioners, designers, developers, and researchers dedicated to improving user experience across various platforms and touchpoints.
- Educating employees and internal teams on the importance of understanding consumers, their motivations, the buyer’s journey, and the customer life cycle.
- Advocating for consumer needs in the development and deployment of projects and strategies throughout the organization.
- Empowering employees to make customer-centric decisions and increasing leadership’s understanding of their employee experiences and needs.
- Championing customers’ and employees’ perspectives in the company’s strategic decision-making and co-creating innovative ways to elevate the customer experience.
- Working closely with marketing to develop and launch campaigns designed to improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and brand image.
- Measuring and tracking the impact of initiatives on the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs), including overall customer sentiment and customer satisfaction metrics.
While management of the consumer and employee experience may be relatively new to the executive team, the CXO position is more than a job title and likely to last. As the emphasis on customer experience as a strategic advantage and differentiator rises, companies will need talented professionals who understand consumer needs and motivations and can develop business strategies that retain customers, increase sales and grow the bottom line.
Chief Experience Officers Are In High Demand
Companies that include customer experience in their value proposition or are customer-centric by design have a C-level position in charge of CX. In 2020, almost 90% of organizations reported that they have a chief experience officer, or CXO role equivalent, according to Gartner. This is a significant increase from 2017 when more than 35% of companies did not have a CXO on their team.
CXOs vary in experience and background. Often, a CXO has a strong background in marketing, operations, sales, customer service, and/ or user experience (UX). Sometimes, a company hires a CXO from within when an employee has a particular interest in CX or is a brand champion. CXOs are generally strong communicators and influential leaders who excel in managing people and possess strong problem-solving and change management skills.
In addition to optimizing and enhancing CX, many chief experience officers will play a role in managing digital assets, such as an ecommerce website and apps, as well as the use of online communication channels, including email, live chat, and social media to engage customers.
A Vital Role
It is essential to remember customer needs and expectations are constantly evolving, and so are employees’. Delivering differentiated, consistent customer experiences are a strategic priority to build loyalty, retention, and advocacy. Companies can integrate the CX and EX disciplines under a chief experience officer role to ensure these critical forces are prioritized within the organization.
In summary, a CXO elevates the customer experience, educates employees, empowers them to make customer-centric decisions, and facilitates cross-functional collaboration and the co-creation of a unique, sustainable competitive advantage.
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