Why Customer Experience Must Start at the Top

Providing a good customer experience is increasingly important in this era of the empowered consumer. That’s why so many organisations are investing so heavily in customer experience and that’s why roles such as Chief Customer Officer (CCO) are becoming more widely seen.

Customer experience needs to begin at the top and brands are appointing the right people to inform the customer experience across their company.Or so you would think. We recently conducted research into all companies on the FTSE 100 and FTSE AIM 100 and it revealed a worrying lack of senior focus on the customer experience.

The PeopleTECH FTSE Audit

We searched each company board and senior management team, looking forjob titles such as for Chief Customer Officer. If someone did not have this, but their biography mentioned customer experience as a significant part of their role, that made the cut.

Just 1% of FTSE companies had a chief customer officer on their board, while a further 15% had someone on the board with a specific customer-focused remit. The high-growth firms on the FTSE AIM 100 had even less focus on customer experience – none of those had a chief customer officer (or equivalent) on the board.

We appreciate that this exercise isn’t 100% scientific, and that an organisation without a Chief Customer Officer on the board (or senior management team) can still offer a first-class customer experience. But with just one firm out of the 200 analysed having a board member with a customer-focused job title, it does surely indicate a general lack of senior focus on this hugely important business discipline.

This is why it is so important to have someone focused on the customer at a senior level:

Customer experience can be complicated

Providing a good customer experience is a complex combination of people, processes and technology. It doesn’t just happen, and needs someone to drive it forward at all times.

Employee engagement is key

An organisation’s employees are a significant part of delivering a good customer experience. If your customer-facing employees aren’t engaged, then the customer experience will inevitably suffer. And to keep employees engaged needs someone leading from the front and demonstrating that customer experience is a senior priority.

It’s just too important not to

Customer experience is growing in importance all the time, and can have a true impact on the bottom line. To not have someone responsible for this at a senior level is an oversight, and one that shouldn’t really be happening in 2016.

Are brands doing enough at board level to ensure that providing a high quality customer experience is a priority for them? Not just yet, but expect this to change over the next 18 months, with more and more brands adding CCO to the board.

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