We talk a lot about customer experience at Premier Contact Point, and for good reason.
Firstly, creating a positive customer experience is fundamental to your success as a contact centre, and finding the right technology and creating the right internal culture is critical to winning your customers’ hearts and minds. But as business models shift and evolve in an increasingly digitised marketplace, you need to make sure you’re continuing to maintain trust and loyalty, by empowering them to connect where and when they choose.
Anticipating those needs is a big job, and it’s growing bigger every day. So much so that, according to Zendesk’s recent CX trends report, companies that started in the last five years were 63% more likely to say they have a Chief Customer Officer, or CCO.
Zendesk refer to these companies as “forward-thinking”, as they not only recognise the “value of investing in the customer experience”, but prioritising it. CCOs are business leaders whose sole focus is the customer – what they need, and what they want – and how the business can best meet their expectations, from an internal cultural perspective, as well as in the external market.
This is no passing fad, either. Zendesk’s research crossed 140 countries and encompassed 45,000 businesses, identifying in the Top 5 global trends. The customer experience is finally getting a seat in the C-suite.
Customer experience – people first
Now, it’s important to remember as always that technological advancements aren’t an end in and of themselves. We utilise the different tools and platforms to help people do more, connect more and enjoy more. Giving people the power to choose how they interact with us and with their businesses is how we show them we are listening to them, and doing our best to help. But this terrific tech amounts to little more than unnecessary expense if the interaction itself is below par. It’s all function with no form.
Everything we do in business comes back to people. It’s vital you have a strong, customer-centric culture made up of capable, well-supported people who care about those they work with – be they customers or colleagues. Our article “Are Contact Centres the Hub of CX Management” sets out five specific steps that will help you (and maybe even your CCO) get the jump on building a stronger customer focus into your teams.
Leading the charge for customers
It’s not surprising that Zendesk’s research showed customer experience ownership falling into more traditional C-suite roles – like the Chief Operating Officer, or the Chief Marketing Officer. But those roles have a specific remit that may limit their capacity to take a deeper focus into the customer experience; they may also be limited by the individual’s specific experience and skillset.
Not to mention the fact that these roles are all primarily internally focused, with the customer only playing a functional role as a number on the bottom line.
Creating a dedicated leadership role in the form of a CCO is, essentially, establishing an advocacy role specifically for the customer. The CCO actively seeks their input and engagement – Zendesk’s report showed the highest performers leveraged customer feedback to help them measure performance and make improvements – and feeds that back into the business.
Zendesk found that most companies with fewer than 500 employees still weren’t collecting customer feedback, and were less likely to quantify their performance. While Zendesk didn’t specifically refer to these companies as laggards, their markets may be less diplomatic as customers start to vote with their feet, and their wallets.
In the words of Michael Gerber, “What you can measure, you can manage.” Measuring and analysing customer satisfaction data, call handling times, and resolution rates, among other vital information, is fundamental to helping your business build and grow its customers’ experience – and their loyalty and advocacy, while you’re at it. Having a leader within the business who is dedicated to the customer’s cause may prove a distinction that sets the real market leaders apart.
Not only, but also: Different facets of the CCO’s role
As well as being a voice for the customer, the CCO’s position means they can take a proactive role in directing policies and procedures, and in developing teams through training and empowering individuals to do more. Our post on “Why CX Strategies Fail” discusses specific issues that can only be addressed at a leadership level. It’s important for everyone in your executive team to be aware of these issues and their impacts, but actually dealing with them isn’t just a once-and-done project for one person or their team. True success in the realm of customer experience needs dedicated, ongoing leadership that will connect and integrate performance measures across all aspects of the business.
 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, Zendesk