In the Spotlight with the Emerging CCO: Harnessing Customer Insights to Aid Innovation, Drive Retention and Encourage Business Growth
After decades of struggling for buy-in, the customer experience function has finally started to secure a seat at the executive table. More organizations, regardless of financial merit, are beginning to appoint the emerging “chief customer officers” to oversee customer experience, or CX. The days of assigning strategic customer care and experience to other departments or solely mid-level managers are over.
In many ways, CX influences brand perceptions and impacts business performance just as strongly as a number of other departments, such as traditional marketing like media advertising and price promotions once did. A good customer experience makes a person five times more likely to recommend a company and more likely to purchase in the future. In many ways, the importance of a CCO’s ability to create quality consumer experiences is similar to a CMO’s ability to generate quality brand reputation.
As CCOs increasingly gain executive buy-in, greater value is being placed on the objective of their role - generating quality customer experiences. As of now, appointing a CCO, or CXO (Chief Experience Officer), is a strategic, competitive advantage that many businesses are capitalizing on. However, within the next few years, the competitive advantage provided by appointing a CCO won’t be a luxury, but rather a corporate staple.
As consumers are enjoying more buying power now than ever,
make no mistake - the importance of topics like creating personal experiences
and reducing customer effort are no secret. But it’s up to the emerging role of
the CCO to strategically amplify components of CX, like interpreting customer
insights to aid innovation, drive retention and encourage growth. In
preparation for CCW
Australia, we wanted to take a look at a couple successful CCOs (courtesy
of IQPC Australia) that highlight the
emergence and importance of what it means to be Chief Customer Officer.
Adam GeneaveO of AirAsia
The story of Adam Geneave, CCO of AirAsia, is nothing short of the future (or dare I say modern) inspirational tale of the “rise of a CCO.” Adam Geneave has been in the airline industry for twenty years, starting out as a cabin crew member, working his way up to cabin crew business analyst, inflight product manager and even a pilot (and many more positions), before becoming the CCO of AirAsia. In his interview with IQPC Australia’s Head of Content Marketing Nouha Elmasri, he gave us an inside look at how he gains actionable customer insights to aid innovation as a CCO. As he described, his role is to dominate the “customer happiness function.” But in making customers happy and giving them the FP3 (frictionless, personalized, predictive, and proactive) experience, a CCO has to strategically execute innovative ways to make the experience easier on everyone else involved, besides his or herself.
“So that includes all of our customer touchpoints, all our call centres, both voice and digital. It also includes all of our other touchpoints like social media, as well. And also includes our customer strategy team that looks after our customer journey across the airline. Also our insight… our customer system, so our chatbot, AVA, and Salesforce, which is our main corporate enterprise partner for our CRM as well, so we're very customer led.”
When it comes to customer insights, consumer data analytics is often times traditionally siloed across departments. As CCO of AirAsia, arguably one of the most innovative airlines in the world and winner of World's Best Low-Cost Airline 11 years in a row, Geneave ensures this is not the case.
“Historically that was all siloed into different areas of the business. So you really look at the customer role, but this role in any business is really designed to bring all those functions together under one leader, so we break down all those traditional silos that we had in the business before. And we do use the data we get from our customers through the contact centres and NPS [Net Promoter Score] and stuff like that to really drive customer-led change...”
The role of the CCO is a complicated one that involves utilizing technology and analytics, while creating personalized interactions, the way two friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time might interact, whether it be over the phone, in person, or digitally. From a digital perspective, which medium those two friends interact on might be an important factor in their communication, in turn, the quality and duration of their relationship.
“And depending on what country you're in, that might be WhatsApp; it might be WeChat; it might be LINE; it might be iMessage; it might be Facebook Messenger… And we have the technology, both from a bot perspective but also from a human agent perspective… What I say at a lot of conferences I speak at as well is, if businesses aren't already doing it, they're already behind the times because the reality is that there's 1.2 billion active users every day on WeChat, there's 64 billion messages every day that go through WhatsApp, and if their business isn't already engaged in those sort of channels, then--
Troy Barnes CCO Pizza Hut Asia Pacific
As Geneave described, the role of an effective CCO involves personalizing customer interactions and delivering quality experiences through understanding digital communication platforms, interpreting actionable analytics, and encouraging business growth through revenue generation. So it’s no coincidence that Troy Barnes, CCO of Pizza Hut Asia Pacific, started his career in IT support, followed by implementing databases, to sales and revenue forecasting, before ultimately joining the C-suite as Chief Customer Officer.
“In short, that role entails covering 15 markets throughout Asia and also down to and including Australia and New Zealand. And, the focus and spread of the role really looks around the customer experience piece in both the physical and digital elements. So, digital comes under me; website, e-commerce, apps, etc, etc. The physical elements of the store – the footprint, the service, the people in the store, things like food, ovens, products like pizzas and beverages, etc, etc – all come under me and inclusive of what we call food safety.”
In order to drive retention and year-over-year revenue increases, the customer experience must be understood throughout the entire consumer journey map. For Barnes, that’s navigating intelligence through digital components like website, e-commerce, and apps, as well as the physical environment of the restaurants. These concepts apply to a number of different industries.
“I think one of the things that continue to be a challenge is understanding that bringing new products to life includes a deep understanding and empathy for your consumer. I saw this in the insurance/financial services space, and I found it for 15 years before I came over to Pizza Hut, and the food industry is no different.”
Within the near future, the CCO will continue to grow as a necessity in the executive suite, combining, in many ways, all other departments, such as finance, data analytics, marketing, HR, and many more. While these departments may be more inclined to focus on their specified areas of expertise, strategic customer service departments emphasize customer centricity, which involves every touch point a consumer has with a brand, in turn, covering areas of each of those departments (revenue forecasting, machine learning and analytics, social media marketing, employee optimization, and more). While many companies that have a CCO are gaining a competitive advantage over other players in their industry, it’s a dwindling matter of time before the executive title of the Chief Customer Officer, as well as their exponentially growing departments, will soon be a corporate staple.
Interested in learning more about the emergence of CCO’s and customer centricity? Tune in to CCW Australia to gain competitive insights from world-class analysts and contributors.
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