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Are “Chief Customer Officers” a fad, or part of a promising future?

“Chief Customer Officer” is a newer job title – what is it, and will it fade away or go mainstream?


chief customer officers

Have you heard of “Chief Customer Officers”?

The titles and job descriptions of officers at your business say a lot about your company’s culture and values. As social media and digital technology are rapidly transforming how businesses operate, there has been a trend towards creating new positions, often with unexpected titles.

For example, the social shopping company Collective Bias once announced that one of their executives would be known as the “Chief Hugs Officer.

A slightly less goofy sounding job title on the rise is that of the Chief Customer Officer, or CCO. The number of companies with a CCO has steadily risen over the past two years, especially in the U.S., but also in the U.K. and worldwide.

A recent study by the CCO Council found that 6.7 percent of Fortune 1000 companies, 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and 22 percent of Fortune 100 companies had a Chief Customer Officer. A Gartner survey of brands found that 77 percent of respondents had a CCO.

The move toward customer-centric business

This trend reflects a general desire for businesses to become more customer-centric. Although this may seem like a no-brainer for any company, a Harvard research study released this summer showed that customer-centrism wasn’t necessarily the most effective strategy for businesses in industries with lots of competition and low-profitability.

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But for the most part, focusing your efforts around the needs and desires of your customers makes solid business sense. But isn’t this what CEOs and other executive officers have already been doing?

Sure, but because of the rapid changes in technology these days, many businesses are finding the need to create a role that integrates several different channels, including both the traditional and the digital.

Chief Customer Officers oversee several arenas, including technology, digital insights and data, customer service, and in some cases, physical operations.

The long-term shelf life of the title

As companies learn how to integrate these various channels, the role of the CCO may eventually be subsumed under the duties of the CEO, rendering the CCO unnecessary.

In the meantime, businesses are finding it helpful to designate a CCO while they work towards making their businesses more customer-centric.

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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