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What Is a Chief Customer Officer and What Do They Do?

An image showing a chief customer officer performing the duties of her role.

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Looking for your next job in customer service management? A Chief Customer Officer (CCO) might be your calling. In this post, we look at what a CCO does and how to become one successfully.

Chief Customer Officer (CCO): Job Description

A Chief Customer Officer, also known as a Chief Client Officer, is the executive responsible for an organization’s relationships with their customers. The CCO is responsible mainly for developing and implementing a customer-first strategy for the business they work for.

This means that CCOs influence various departments and functions within the business such as:

  • Customer Success
  • Customer Service
  • Technical Support
  • Customer Marketing
  • Customer Retention
  • Customer Expansion
  • Onboarding

The main goal of a Chief Customer Officer is to increase customer satisfaction and lifetime value. To do so, a CCO should have on-field experience as well as practical and technical knowledge of how things work in their industry. A CCO is usually responsible for five key metrics:

  1. Revenue Retention — calculated by subtracting lost revenue, known as revenue churn, from total revenue in a certain time period.
  2. Customer Lifetime Value – the revenue that a business can expect from a single customer account.
  3. Customer Health Score – a high score indicates that a positive outcome is likely.
  4. Net Promoter Score – the percentage of customers that are likely to recommend your company.
  5. Renewal Rate – the percentage of revenue that was renewed in a certain time period.

What do CCOs Do?

Since the end goal is to improve customer success, a Chief Customer Officer might dabble in many aspects of a business’s functions. These may include:

  • Working with developers to create new products
  • Managing customer-facing employees
  • Overseeing customer marketing efforts
  • Encouraging customer service and customer success managers
  • Working closely with customer service reps

Chief customer officer organizational structure

Chief Customer Officer vs Chief Commercial Officer

There are differences between Chief Client Officers and Chief Commercial Officers. The first major difference is that Chief Commercial Officers are in charge of the entire customer-facing operation. This includes marketing, sales, customer success, and technical support. Chief Customer Officers, on the other hand, deal solely with existing customers. This includes customer success and support.

Another major difference between Customer Officers and Commercial Officers is related to the size of an organization. Chief Commercial Officers exist primarily in larger B2B organizations. On the contrary, organizations of all sizes and types are likely to have Customer Officers. So, the two roles are quite different.

Organizational Structure

In most organizations, Chief Client Officers are part of the c-suite. This means that they report directly to the CEO. In other organizations, the Chief Client Officer reports to the Chief Customer Officer, who reports to the CEO. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer management.

Objectives of a Chief Customer Officer

Since Chief Customer Officers work closely with all departments of a business, they need to establish clear targets and standards to achieve their goals. Some targets a CCO should aspire to include:

1. Setting Clear and Practical Goals
Unclear or unrealistic goals will lead to high expectations and low results. It is therefore important to set practical goals and ensure your teams understand what these goals are and how to achieve them. You may even choose to work with them closely and outline successful strategies they can adopt to reach their goals.

2. Encourage and Motivate Teams
Instead of ruling with fear, it is advisable to use positive reinforcement and incentives to encourage and motivate your teams. A team fearful of failing and struggling to approach its superiors for help will not lead to good results. Provide training, educational materials, workshops, and make yourself reachable and approachable.

3. Be Aware and Present
Show up. If you are not present and there for your employees, you will not be aware of their challenges, what they are struggling with, or what is happening in your company. And without this information, you won’t be able to create a healthy and supportive working atmosphere. A healthy and supportive workforce leads to happier customers.

4. Focus on Financial Targets
Lastly, focus on achieving financial targets such as the Gross Retention Number, Net Retention Number, and Services Gross Margin.

How to Become a Chief Customer Officer

As with every job, becoming a CCO means getting your priorities right and fitting the bill. Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your profile:

  1. Be customer-centric and customer-focused
  2. Position yourself to work with front-line teams
  3. Collaborate with teams as often as possible
  4. Place importance on customer feedback
  5. Demonstrate effective conflict resolution skills

There are many job boards where you can apply to become a Chief Customer Officer: Indeed, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor are among the most popular.

The Career Path of a Chief Customer Officer

The career progression of a chief customer officer involves a number of customer-facing roles. These roles can include being a customer support representative, a customer success manager, VP of support, and much more. However, some CCOs will assume the role without prior customer-facing experience, but with extensive business experience.

What is the Salary of a Chief Client Officer?

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a chief client officer or chief customer officer in 2024 ranges from $205,600 and $268,200. The job is well paid due to its importance.

CCOs Lead to Good Customer Management

The main goal of a Chief Customer Officer is to improve the way a business interacts with its customers. This ranges from product development to marketing to customer success strategies. If being a CCO is your calling, then it may be time to get the wheels moving in that direction and develop a strong foundation. Good luck!

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