Across solar systems, galaxies, oceans and industries, firms are finally realising that they key to longevity and success is focusing on customers and investing in making sure that every touchpoint is seamless and gorgeous. With Countless review sites and social media channels at everyone’s fingertips it takes less than 60 seconds for someone to share a negative experience and so, for better or worse, for the first time in history, there is nowhere to hide. Organisations need to live and breathe their mantras and make sure what they’re promising in the advertising campaigns is what is actually being delivered on the front line – and that’s not just for the customers, all of the employees need to truly buy-in to what the company is trying to achieve and that means they need great experiences too.

No one is there yet, they never will be. Unfortunately, there is no nirvana, it’s about having a vision to continually evolve, be agile and having confidence and conviction to live by those values but also know when to change them and bend the rules. Drumroll please…. enter the Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Slowly appearing in different industries and firms this emerging role could be another trend and understandably some people might shudder at the thought of another exec C-Level position. But if we are agreed that the attitudes towards business are changing, then we have to consider whether this could be a genuine role which might hold the same gravitas at the board table as say, the CTO or the CDO.

So what does the role of a CXO look like?

  1. Ultimately every business is about making money and being successful, and that isn’t going to happen without customers. Number one on the agenda must be a solid understanding of the customers. What they want, what they need and what makes them happy?
  2. Following closely at number two, is to understand what makes a great customer experience. There is no magic formula, it is unique to your business and it will change overnight in response to new technology developments. The CXO needs to be abreast of what is happening in the industry and what the competitors are offering so that the firm in question is always keeping pace.
  3. So, we know the customers want something gorgeous, but how does that impact what the business functions are trying to achieve? It’s all well and good creating a really cool banking app but what if they are advertising themselves as the best bank on the high street? I’m not saying it’s a choice between one or the other – it’s definitely not – but highlighting how it’s really key for the CXO to be aligned to all of the business objectives and make sure that in the mission to make great experiences nothing else is being conflicted.
  4. Next thing – DATA. It’s driving the world these days and every C-Level person needs present their ROI and work to a set of KPIs. How can implementing new technologies derive actionable data? It’s all well good having great reporting but having the culture and mechanisms in place to be able to respond rapidly to insights or requests is what sets you apart.
  5. In at five… ‘culture’. We just mentioned it and by no means is number five in order of importance. Culture is the fuel that is going to make any of this come to life. The CXO needs to not only promote the customer-centric mission internally but they need to make sure it’s actually happening. This takes time, a unique personality and trust from all of their colleagues. Everyone needs to believe that this isn’t hot air and words alone won’t cut it – tangible and visible changes and positive attitudes are the only way. I’ve said it before, there is nowhere to hide. The new world of business is about integrity, do as you say and say as you do. And no one needs to believe this more than your own team.
  6. And then finally, day to day execution and tasks. Conducting customer experience reviews, loyalty programmes, staff retention, the list goes on…

So, if you read back points one to six it seems like a pretty comprehensive job role. In my view a mountain that is too big for one person to climb. They need a dedicated team and strong relationships with the customers, the business, the board and the technology oh, and every employee. That takes a huge range of skills and personality traits. The CXO for me is a wrapper that we should put around every C title, every Director, every architect and every line manager. The experience is at EVERY touchpoint, there is not one person in any organisation of any size who can be responsible for that.

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