Retail Customer Experience: The CXO: Why the Time is Now for Customer Experience Officers
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from Retail Customer Experience, a daily news portal devoted to helping retailers differentiate the shopping experience.
With so many organizations struggling to effectively manage all of the customer touch points and the resulting experiences in today’s multi-channel, multi-device, multi-national world, many category-leading organizations — like USAA, Allstate, Dunkin Donuts, Cigna, and Oracle — are dedicating a single executive in charge of their customers’ experience.
Most companies lack a defined customer experience strategy and building one often requires integrating across traditionally stand-alone departments. While organizational silos have been developed over the years that foster operational efficiency, this has unfortunately come at a cost to the customer experience. Organizations today cannot build channel-specific customer experiences. Smartphones are already multichannel devices that allow customers to phone, email, chat, browse, text, and in some cases, videoconference.
Retailers can learn from the direct-to-consumer approach the insurance companies are taking with customer experience strategies. For instance, imagine the operations inside a typical auto insurer. From an operational view, when a customer gets into an accident, the agent is dispatched, the claim needs to be reported and processed, and the policy needs to get reviewed and updated. The customer is touched three different times from three different organizations. There is an agent experience, a claims experience and a policy experience.
Now imagine the same scenario from the perspective of a customer who has just gotten into an accident. They are probably anxious and uncertain about next steps — especially if this is their first accident. This is where a Customer Experience Officer would step in to the picture, ensuring the customer’s needs and expectations are met and their interaction with the auto insurer is seamless and they have all their questions answered in a timely manner.
Successful customer experience officers will start with their firms’ overall strategies, which define competitive positions and set customer expectations of the brand. Using that foundation, it is critical to understand each customer touchpoint, the organizational department accountable, and the experience delivered.
To build this strategy, there are five primary steps for companies to consider:
- Analyze your customers’ journeys as they interact with your organization
- Identify moments of truth for each interaction
- Assess the customer opportunities, trends and risks
- Develop a list of initiatives that address the scenarios
- Kick off a pilot program to build momentum and capture a quick win
Companies need to adapt and change their view from the inside out, to outside in. This will likely pose a daunting challenge to organizations; appointing a CXO is simply the first step.
Discussion Questions: What do think of the promise and the practicality of establishing a ’customer experience officer’ role for companies? What’s the most effective way to structure such a job?