A recent Wallstreet Journal article discusses the idea that some customer experience officers are aspiring to make their roles obsolete. Best Buy Co chief customer officer and executive, Allison Peterson, is quoted as saying: “My goal is to create an environment where we are so obsessed over the customer that a separate person or team doing it doesn’t need to exist.” While some leaders are raising doubt on the longevity of the role, people like myself believe the customer experience officer (CXO) job is increasing in importance and far from ending.
The Trend of Customer Experience Officer (CXO) Role
If you search on common job sites, you’ll see companies are hiring CX managers and related executive positions at a faster rate than ever before. The trend is rising and paving the way for change management. That’s because a CXO has unique skills and training to guide a company’s direction and investments (tools, resources) that are in the best interest of customers. Likewise, a customer experience officer knows how to influence people to feel that they have a customer experience job, even when they don’t interact directly with customers. Without such a culture, loyalty goals can’t be achieved.
Besides my observations, research indicates organizations are taking customer experience (CX) seriously by committing more resources and talent to the discipline. Gartner reveals:
In 2017, more than 35% of organizations lacked a chief experience officer (CXO) or chief customer officer (CCO) or equivalents, but in 2019, only 11% and 10% lacked one or the other role, respectively.
Golden Rule for Customer Experience Officer
A CXO can’t live on an island alone. Like any other executive position, collaboration and partnerships with every department are essential for positive changes to happen. CX needs to be methodical, intentional, consistent, and a shared passion; the same holds true for EX (employee experiences). You can’t have CX without great EX, which is why employee engagement and driving commitment to customer excellence is part of the CXO job and not a short-term strategy.
Conclusion: Will the Need For A Customer Experience Officer End?
I believe the answer is maybe when my kids have kids. We have a long way to go as technology advances and dehumanizes experiences. A CXO ensures that the Internet of Things (IOT), artificial intelligence (AI), and other ways of doing business enhance customer experiences, and not supersedes actions like sending a personalized handwritten letter. That’s irreplaceable.
For those who have a goal to become a CXO or in the job now, I give you a standing ovation because it’s not an easy career and requires a “high level of effort.” There’s a lot of obstacles, yet it’s a leadership role that is so important not just for business but also for the greater good.
What are your thoughts? Do you think CXO and related leadership roles will go away at most organizations in the foreseeable future?
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