Curtis on…CCO Authority: 1. Positional Authority


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In this first of a three-part series, I explain the authority that comes from the CCO’s title and his or her position within the organizational hierarchy.

Video Transcript

Let’s face it! Authority is the currency of the C-suite.  Most chief customer officers don’t own all of the resources within a company. In fact, many of them own very few of the resources. Regardless of how much of the organization reports in to you, the CCO needs to lead by influence.

How do you resolve customer issues and improve customer experience if you can’t influence the rest of the organization?

Let’s talk about influence for a moment. There are three types of authority that a chief customer officer or other senior loyalty executives might be able to exhibit within the organization.

The first is positional authority. When the chief customer officer is named, the chief customer officer or EVP of customer success or customer advocate, whatever the title may be, have some degree of authority in the hierarchy, in the organizational structure. They may have some direct control over some of the customer-facing resources such as service, support, consulting or maybe even marketing.

Some of these CCOs have very broad line authority and others have much broader process or authority and very limited line authority.

The positional authority that somebody may have typically has a bump in the initial influence at its conception. So, when the chief customer officer is first appointed, everybody is drawn to this person. It’s a new and shiny thing within the organization. Everybody looks at it. Everybody is interested in how this new position or new person in the organization is going to influence them or affect them.

And so, they oftentimes, receive a lot more attention and are allowed to have more influence over the organization.

But this positional authority is fixed. After this initial bump, it’s fixed; and it may even wane. It doesn’t grow beyond this certain level throughout the organization unless something else happens.

Therefore, for chief customer officers or senior loyalty executives, it’s very important to ensure that you have a recognizable title and a very senior position in the organization. Because it’s fixed, it’s not going to change unless some of the other types of influence come into play here that we’ll talk about in a little bit.

Ideally, based on the research that I’ve done over the last decade, the CCO or the senior loyalty executive should report to the CEO directly or possibly one level down. This positional authority here, as we’ll see in the next segment here, is not quite as effective as other forms of influence; and, yet, it is still very effective; and it’s the constant effectiveness of the positional authority a CCO has that makes it so effective and that can make or break a chief customer officer.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Curtis Bingham
Curtis Bingham is the world's foremost authority on the customer-centric organization. He was the first to promote the role of chief customer officer as a catalyst for competitive advantage. He is the creator of the first CCO Roadmap and the Customer Centricity Maturity Model. He is the founder of the Chief Customer Officer Council, a powerful and intimate gathering of the world's leading customer executives. As an international speaker, author, and consultant, Curtis is passionate about creating customer strategy to sustainably grow revenue, profit, and loyalty.


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