The CCO & Company Sustainability

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As companies take stock in their past customer strategies in order to set a new course to weather the economic storm, it would appear that the notion of having a senior executive amongst the senior ranks with a customer focus would be a prudent idea. Others, however, don’t agree.

Only a very small number of Fortune 500 companies have a CCO within their executive hierarchy, and even the companies that do have one run into issues when it comes to their authority and accountability. Issues may include overlap with the CMO, or one of reputation relative to those of their CFO or CIO peers.

I think that the benefits of having a CCO far outweigh the negatives. Some would argue that essentially all executives focus on the customer, so why bother with a CCO. Based on my experience, I’ve discovered that giving lip service toward a thin veneer of customer centricity and a truly customer-centric philosophy, culture and strategy are two very different animals.

In addition, the primary concern on just about everyone’s mind is one of sustainability through the economic downturn. If sustainability is all about being different and retaining that difference, then the challenge for most companies will be their ability to change from the status quo including change in the corporate philosophy and culture supported by senior executives.

So then, can the role of CCO be instrumental in helping companies survive the current economic downturn? Will this role be effective at championing a company’s philosophical, functional and financial commitment to customer centricity? Will the role be able to ensure that a focus on the customer is not the exception but the rule and is an essential competitive strategy that is especially important during an economic downturn and recession?

I think the role of CCO is a step in the right direction toward company sustainability.

Do you?

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