According to Cambridge Dictionary, C-Suite is “the group of the most important managers in a company whose titles begin the letter C, for ‘chief'”. We all know CEO, CFO, COO and many other C Suite, but what is CCO and how to find a good CCO??
CCO stands for Chief Customer Officer. But do you need a CCO sitting on the C Suite executive position?
We are all familiar with Customer Service Officer. Almost every big companies have Customer Service department. However, when you try to call customer services, it is almost impossible to talk to real people these days. Companies try to use every possible technologies to reduce the human cost. After choose couple of numbers on the phone, you are luckily talk to someone in India or Philippines who just read the customer service menu. Most of them are poorly paid and they do not have the passion to serve customers. They just do their jobs: answer the phone and close the case in minimum time to meet their KPI.
The customer is King. The internet and social media give the King much more power than before to choose their servant. To keep the King happy, a C Suite executive CCO is essential to look after the most important company asset – customers. This is especially true for export business for three reasons:
- Your local distributor is your most important customer because it brings you new customers in local market. It is critical to keep a close customer relationship.
- The export customers have different language and culture, what you are successful domestically may not work internationally.
- Most of Asian consumers like to communicate with the boss. A CCO title will help improve customer relationship.
A CCO is not focusing on increasing sales directly, a CCO tries to improve the customer experience.The goal of CCO is to keep the loyalty of the current customers and attract new consumers. At the end of the day, it is the customers that pay all the bills.
CCO is different with CMO (Chief Marketing Officer). CMO is more common in the business world. This traditional role put a lot of efforts on marketing and sales but not on services. CMO is pushing, CCO is pulling. CCO plays more important role in future business. Millennials hate to be pushed. Who doesn’t?
CCO is relatively new in C Suite and not so many people have CCO experience. How to find a good CCO? Below are three key skill set for CCO:
- The ability to look at the business from the customer’s angle and have the brave to represent customers under the pressure of other C Suites and the board.
- The mindset to help customers other than sell to customers. Listen their concern, understand their needs and solve their problems together with other departments.
- The communication skills with cultural awareness. A CCO should be a bridge between external customers and internal departments. The communication should be two-way.
If export is important to your business (which is true for most companies), then a CCO with an international mindset and multicultural experience is highly recommended.
CCO is important, but not so many companies can afford to add another high-pay C Suite position. Based on the tasks of the CCO, an external contract should be more preferable.
In our post “How can an export consultant help?” we mentioned that as an outsider, export consultant are bias free and can observe the company from the eye of a consumer. This is the same for a contracted CCO. A contracted CCO can also be easier to say “No” to the CEO and other C Suite peers. As an outsider, it is also easier for consumers to tell the truth which they will never tell the sales manager and even the CEO.
A contract CCO can also reduce the company cost dramatically. Normally, you do not need a CCO sitting in the office 9-5. It is more like a project management. A CCO keeps regular contacts with consumers but do not give them too much pressure.
If you want to improve your customer relationship in Asian, please contact us.