Customers Don’t Care Who’s In Charge, Just That Somebody Is

You have to wonder sometimes if the average consumer is aware of how much marketers and technology people are talking about customer experience and customer-centricity. Do they think most brands care about their experience? Do they feel like their happiness lies at the very center of everything corporations do?

Probably not.

“Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.” -Kevin Stirtz

But we as businesses are at least increasingly aware of the power, voice, and choice the social revolution has given the customer. And because of that, thoughts are turning to how to use the same technology that’s empowering the public to serve them and meet their needs.

Of course, major corporate organizations don’t naturally drift toward this collective realization and total commitment to putting the customer at the heart of every development and decision. That’s just not the nature of the beast. A customer champion is needed on the inside to alter not just the way things are done, but also the culture in which they’re done.

The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing. -John Russell

Who is this champion? They come bearing many titles; Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Client Officer, CMO With a Renewed Commitment to Customer Experiences, CEO Who Has Seen the Light and Wants to Be Known as the Customer’s Friend, etc. (Okay, I made a couple of those up). What they’re called is less important than their passionate belief that utterly delighted customers positively affect the bottom line.

Then, that passion has to be combined with the leadership skills to affect change in environments often deeply resistant to change. Here’s the baseline, Forrester says over 6% of S&P 500 companies have a CCO, but it’s a position that’s so new, many look on it as an experiment. Tricky turf, and probably not for the weak-willed.

There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman down, simply by spending his money somewhere else – Sam Walton

Jeanne Bliss, author of "The Chief Customer Officer," points out 80% of buying decisions come from 3 customer perceptions: experience, reliability and "how did you feel" afterward. We hope you'll take the time to listen to a recent Oracle Social webcast featuring Gannett Chief Digital Officer David Payne, Oracle Chief Customer Officer Jeb Dasteel, and Oracle Social VP Erika Brookes, who tackle this question of who owns the customer. Who is best suited to drive these positive customer perceptions? How can they make the entire org, across department walls, put the customer first? What happens to areas of the business that don’t buy in to customer centricity?

We are always eager to help those brands that are indeed committing to the idea of “happy customer as good business” and that are seeking their own customer champion.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial


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