What every Chief Customer Officer should be worried about

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It starts with “s” and ends with “s” and, at one time or another, sends shivers up every Chief Customer Officer’s spine. Of course I’m talking about silos – organisational silos, channels silos, product silos, all wreaking havoc on the customer experience.

In their favour, silos promote internal accountability, focus and expertise. But in today’s business world, where customer experience has displaced product and price as the key competitive differentiator, companies need to re-evaluate the raison d’ĂȘtre of an inward-looking siloed approach.

Just think of the times the contact centre is not informed of a campaign by marketing; or the credit card company calls a business owner about a business card without knowing they’re speaking to one of their most loyal Platinum card members. There are a million scenarios of disjointed, dissatisfying service experiences because the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand’s doing.

While silos are difficult to break down completely, it’s still the Chief Customer Officer’s (CCO) role to build and communicate an overarching set of customer outcomes across the organisation. Secondly, the CCO is tasked with building a culture of collaboration to achieve the desired customer outcomes.  This will almost certainly involve cultural change management, new team-based KPIs and reward programs, and cross-functional working groups.

Office politics and individual egos are perhaps the biggest barrier to implementation. It’s imperative that the CCO have the necessary power and authority to overcome these, in order to successfully instigate reform.
Office politics and individual egos are perhaps the biggest barrier to implementation. It’s imperative that the CCO have the necessary power and authority to overcome these, in order to successfully instigate reform.

Given the employee sensitivities which invariably arise from “silo shake-ups”, it’s important to show fairness and transparency. Employees are themselves all customers at the end of the day, and if shown in a logical way (without finger-pointing) how their actions or processes are causing customers to be unhappy, they are more likely to co-operate with proposed changes. Whether it’s through dynamic dashboards on every employee’s desktop or wallboards on every floor of the office, employees should be able to track results of the CCO’s efforts to make the customer experience easier and happier.


Be part of the premiere event for Customer Experience Executives - Chief Customer Officer Forum, Sydney happening on 28-29 November 2016. For more information, visit www.chiefcustomerofficersydney.com   

By Sharon Melamed:  

Sharon Melamed is a digital entrepreneur with 25 years’ experience in contact centres and customer experience.  In 2012, she launched Matchboard, a free website where companies can enter their needs and find “right-fit” vendors of solutions across the customer lifecycle. In 2014, she launched FindaConsultant, an online portal of business consultants.  She holds a double honours degree and University Medal from the University of Sydney, and speaks five languages. Contact Sharon on LinkedIn; Twitter; Email 

3 comments:

Well said! The other important factor is to sustain an integrated customer experience framework across functions and work groups within the organization. Customers in their engagement with a company are oblivious to the fact of you having one or many internal functions, people, process and technology capabilities. For customers each interaction point or interface represents the company itself and hence ensuring a consistent and unified experience across these points is a must for companies. That's where CCOs need to think about alignment of the organization from all 4 directions i.e. functions, people, process and technology. This can further enable the organization to sustain that integrated framework for long or else if one of these pillars is missed, the entire customer experience agenda may go haywire.

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