Sandy Miranda explains her three rules for how to elevate from your existing role to a CCO Role in your organization. Sandy tells of her deliberate path from Customer Care Manager to CCO and how she took actions to earn the role and ensure she could be successful in it.
From her LinkedIn:
Having spent my entire career in service I have naturally and happily found a home in the Customer Success space. Assisting organizations and professionals not only to learn but execute business strategies that will refocus company efforts to Customer Success. By creating a unified focus on the most important asset of the organization – The Customer.
Utilizing today’s most useful tools such as Customer Journey Maps, Health Metrics, Customer Advocacy and a holistic Support approach I have been able to deliver consistent results for my employers and most importantly their customers.
My current life-project is to share my findings and experience achieved over my 17-year career in service, to helping others in reaching complete Customer Success competence across their organization and not only within their department.
Feel free to reach out if you would ever like to chat about your customer success strategy. Together we can make every day better for our customers and I am happy to help.
How Do You Take Steps To Achieve A Chief Customer Officer Role?
In short: the success of prior projects, especially if your organization is already customer-focused. Sandy had other titles, such as Customer Care Manager and a VP of Customer Success role. She volunteered for some big projects, including those outside the present scope of her role, which gave her access to multiple teams (i.e. sales) and stakeholders (i.e. C-Suite). Visibility and relationship-building are crucial, especially in bigger corporate settings.
She was able to take on a big training project at PowerDMS that helped them have growth but not become bloated (i.e. 10 new departments all reporting to each other, which makes meetings abysmal). She needed to keep customer need at the forefront — and determine what elements a new customer would need. This new customer onboarding required multiple silos to work together, so she had to coordinate those processes. And what about communication from new and existing customers? How would that info get to the right people?
Her work with onboarding was one of the main ways she got noticed in earlier roles before she was advanced several times.
What’s Your Power Core?
If you want a Chief Customer Officer role eventually, you’ll need to be able to speak the language of the power core of the organization. For PowerDMS, they were a software company. The stakeholders thought of themselves that way. You need to match that vocabulary and discussion of business need. This is really important because without the language and context of the power core, you can’t get very far.
Most organizations have a power core of sales (as that generates revenue) or marketing (if that’s how they get attention), but some might be Operations, Supply Chain, etc. You need to know what it is, who runs it, how they speak, and where the intersection points are. Build relationships around the power core and you’ll usually be fine with time.
Going From Director Of Customer Relations To VP, Customer Success
This was the final jump before the Chief Customer Officer role.
Sandy didn’t want to do as much business development at this point, but did want to work with the needs of PowerDMS’ partners. She wanted to be responsible for re-creating the customer success methodology with partners, as opposed to bringing in the new business in the form of partners.
Think about it: they had defined approaches to customer experience. Why not apply that to partner experience? And since she had been there to craft the customer initiatives, wouldn’t she be a logical person to work on the partner side?
Frame yourself in terms of the proof being in the proverbial pudding.
And What About Getting The Chief Customer Officer Role?
To note: Sandy didn’t leave behind any functions. She just layered on.
It began with a realization that much work still needed to be done on the customer front.
No one in the C-Suite had that background, however.
What was the impact of not making a decision to have a customer-centric person in the C-Suite?
She was very connected with the leadership team (relationship-building) and had always been vocal about customer needs.
A named CCO would make it easier to incorporate feedback at the stakeholder level, instead of doubling back to find her after their meetings.
The need for a formal person gave her a strategic voice at the table — and you can see the steps above to see how she positioned herself for it.
The Pay It Forward Question
“What do you know NOW that you wish you knew THEN?”
Sandy’s words of wisdom about the Chief Customer Officer role:
- “It will happen. Don’t lose the steam or excitement of what you’re trying to do just because it’s not moving as fast as you want it to.”
- “There are certain things you can continue to do, even if just within your team, to create momentum and visibility about what a good customer success experience looks like. But still be vocal and share the needs back to the leadership level.”
- “It’s easy to lose momentum and excitement. But it’s important to continue on and tell people what’s important and why it’s important.”