With the rise of the customer-centric enterprise, the chief operating officer is taking on a new role — the chief customer officer.
Customer experience is overtaking price and product as the number-one brand differentiator. Customers today expect 24/7 access, mobile availability, quality, low prices, fast shipping, easy returns, and instantaneous service. These expectations demand that every business function be customer-centric—including operations.
Creating customer-centric operations involves the rethinking of fundamental business functions. Because they have a finger on the pulse of the overall internal workings of the organization, the chief operating officer (COO) is in a unique position to be the change agent that can bring about a customer-centric organization.
Companies can leverage the COO to realign their metrics toward delivering on the company’s brand promise to customers. To do so, the COO must align and integrate the front office (such as sales, and marketing), the middle office (such as delivery and operations), and the back office (such as HR, finance and IT) so they work together to effectively and efficiently deliver on the customer’s wants and needs.
Recognizing this new model, many organizations are already renaming the chief operating officer the “chief customer officer,” transforming the position from an exclusively operational role to one that can enable the organization to attract, engage, and interact with customers and ultimately drive growth and create value. To execute this model successfully, the COO and Chief Information Officer (CIO) must work closely together to enable customer-centric process and technology innovation.
COOs have a special insight into a business's functions. As companies transform toward customer centricity, COOs must evolve beyond their role as the monitor of metrics and help break down silos to ensure that all departments—R&D, procurement, marketing, sales, customer service—are working together to ensure customers receive the company’s brand promise through the best experience possible.
Learn to start embracing a new role as the chief customer officer and transforming the company into a customer-centric organization here.