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  • Writer's pictureRiikka Tanner

The next wave of CXO:s – Chief Customer Officers

Updated: Jul 30, 2018

You can test yourself whether you should read this blog post or not in just 3 seconds. Answer this question real quick: Who pays your salary?

Unsplash / Breather

If you answered your employer’s name, yes you should read this article. If you are among the few who has an inkling what I am about to write and were thinking about your customers, it might still be worthwhile reading this piece.

So who does pay your salary? It does come from your employer’s bank account, for sure but the only way your employer has the means to provide you with that income is that it has customers who in turn pay your employer for its products or services. So ultimately, it is your customer who pays for your efforts. And with the shift in consumer and buyer behavior ever since digitalization kicked in, this area of digital transformation is fast becoming the leading one.

Or is it? Let’s take a look at some facts from recent research in Finland.

Customer experience as primary driver for digital transformation?

Imagine my astonishment when I read survey results from Finnish service sector decision makers from this year’s February (2017) the answer to question “What is the added value from digitalization for your business?” and only 10 % of those that answered, named customer experience as their primary driver?

Mind you, a whopping 42 % didn’t answer the question at all. Then again, in light of the fact that 53 % of respondents of the same survey said that digitalization is not part of their strategy at all, I am not so surprised.

To be fair, 75 % of the respondents are from businesses smaller than 10meur which explains a great deal but somehow offers only a small consolation.

I did take a double check with a similar research conducted by Marketvisio just a couple of months earlier where majority of respondents are from companies employing over 100 people and with revenue over 50meur and it shows that 59 % of all respondents consider customer experience as their primary area for digital transformation.

Quick analysis? Seems like bigger companies actually have already understood the meaning of customer experience for their business and are putting emphasis on that one whereas smaller companies may be lacking information and understanding around this topic.

Shift from B2B to B2BC?

There are, naturally, also some variance when you look at different industry sectors. In manufacturing industries, the emphasis is more on new technology than customer experience but in services and retail almost half of the respondents consider customer experience their primary concern. This is perfectly in alignment with the fact that the other industry deals mainly with B2B and the other one more directly with consumers.

Especially in business to business landscape I would we following this trend closely as we are also seeing a lot more B2C action from traditional B2B players, which means adopting a whole new play book how to engage with your customers.

Referring to what I wrote in my previous article that digital transformation efforts fall usually into three different categories of process development, customer experience and business model innovation, you can definitely sense a shift, albeit a slow one from process development towards customer experience. It is also a sign that the level of digital maturity is rising. So how will we be able to track how this trend is evolving?

I am predicting that the next big wave of CXO:s in executive rooms will be Chief Customer Officers.

We are learning the hard way that plain product experience won’t just cut it anymore. Consumers and to a growing extent, also B2B customers are demanding outstanding service experience from service providers. In bigger companies, this means breaking down the silos and aligning sales and service to drive consistency throughout the whole corporate experience.

To achieve this, you will need someone with a holistic view and understanding of your customer touch points to gather up a 360 view point on your customer’s journey with the organization.

Ah, there is already a whole discussion around this topic on the web where we are debating to whom does this responsibility belong to and do we really need separate Chief Customer Officers to begin with? Your views are just as important as mine so you are more than welcome to join in the discussion!

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