“WHAT’S BEST FOR THE CUSTOMER IS BEST FOR THE BUSINESS.”

Although the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) is a fairly recent development in terms of a C-Suite position within most companies, there are key characteristics that are essential for the person in the role to be successful.

To complicate matters for the company in assigning the right candidate to the role, the diverse arrangement of skills required to be a successful CCO are generally not found in-house in a multi-national as it requires an array of varied, and sometimes uncommon situations and environments, that your customers encounters in dealing with your company.

Not only is the understanding of the organisation and recognising how it works across all departments (Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Operations, IT, Legal, HR, Sales, Finance, etc.);  but a deep understanding of how those different departments interact with each other, and how all those elements drive the company forward is critical for its success.

Additionally,  you have to consider and add in the elements of developing an effective customer-centric culture – both internally – for example, from the perspective of the employees and if/how they empowered in dealing with your customers (Employee Engagement); as well as external facing behaviours to truly connect with your customers — effectively not only rolling them out across the company but ingraining them within the DNA of the company.

They involve looking at a number of areas including strategy, culture, core behaviours, leadership capabilities, processes, support tools, and metrics.

Organisations have started to try to implement ways to measure the effectiveness of their customer strategy (if they have started down the path.)  For example, execution or revisions of Net Promoter® score (NPS®) is an existing key metric within large organisations for measuring customer experience.  The problem is that NPS will attempt to tell you (in a somewhat limited scope) how you are performing as a company – but not how to fix the apparent (and not so apparent) problems.

A key fundamental aspect in terms of capturing the proper CX strategy is to have a deep knowledge of the digital sphere and all that it encapsulates (including mobile technologies, social media, web, etc.) – this is decisively significant for the simple fact that not only is it the main method that you communicate to your customer, but further threefold importance:

  1. It is the core channel that a majority of customers now choose to communicate their views back to you — providing multiple points of feedback that should be fed back across the organisation.
  2. Customers now use the digital channel to communicate with other potential customers directly — leaving you out of the direct messaging loop.
  3. Of the massive amount of information that can (and should be) collected and disseminated across the organisation, a vast majority of it will come across the digital channel.  One of the many collection practices has been dubbed “Big Data”…and let’s now talk it a bit more

Areas of Concentration

Big Data

All of the data created in the entire history, up until 2003, is less than what humans create today in just 2 days through their “digital lives.”  Therefore Big Data has become very prominent in many business-focused magazine articles over the past couple of years — and remains a very “buzzworthy” topic of conversation within companies looking to develop an edge in their business results.

According to Wikipedia, “Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.” And the reason there’s so much buzz around big data is the things that people are aiming to do with it. Specifically: crowdsourcing, data fusion and integration, genetic algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing, time series analysis, and visualization.

Another big driver is the Internet of Things, the term used for wireless communication between appliances, vehicles, and other interconnected machines and objects. According to the research firm Gartner, there will be 26 billion connected devices that aren’t PCs or phones in the world by 2020, up from less than 1 billion in 2009. All of them will be creating and transmitting data.

What does it all mean for businesses? For starters, it necessitates a smart, cost-effective, and forward-thinking strategy for handling this massive and growing amount of information. It also means employing tools like Hadoop, an open-source software framework used to process large-scale data sets. And, of course, it means hiring people with the right skills to make sense of it all.

The basic proposition in Big Data, at least in terms of global corporations, is its rise in importance is that it is the repackaging of a number of existing data-focused ideas (segmentation, analytics, data modelling, data cleansing, data quality, etc.) that uses collected information to help define trends on where customers have focused their interests – and help to determine where they want to go.

The recent developments in this area are the ability to both collect and process a vast amount of information – an exponentially larger pool of data than in the past — in a shorter amount of time and process it in usable forms that can be used by business groups.

Big Data FunnelAccording to the research firm IDC, there are 2.9 million so-called server farms in the U.S. alone, stretching from Oregon to Iowa, where Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have spent billions of dollars building out their own facilities. And that’s just the beginning.

The latest variant in terms of Big Data software will allow for the results to be visualised effortlessly – so that businesses are able to quickly look at the results in visual form and enact that feedback into the development of new strategies going forward.

There are a smattering of case studies flowing in showing the power of “Big Data” and the possibilities that it presents for large corporations.  AT&T claims to collect 30 billion data points per hour in order to measure network quality that it feeds back into improving overall customer experience — and that this effort has helped to drive a “59% improvement in customer experience.”

Despite the hype, it’s still early days for big data. Last year only an estimated 22% of digital information was a candidate for analysis, and just 5% was actually analyzed, according to IDC. A lot of data still sits in fragmented systems that don’t “talk” to one another, which renders the information almost useless. But as enterprises take advantage of new, more efficient data center technologies and analytics tools, the future for big data could be bright. And much, much bigger.