In the past two years, we’ve seen the emergence of Chief Customer Service Officers, a new kind of executive in the c-level suite. While this role is growing more and more popular, there are still lingering questions about where it is necessary to an organization. As I am a Chief Customer Service Officer, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I agree with the role’s necessity.
While it can be argued that all organizations are relatively concerned with customers wants and needs, efforts can become fragmented across an organization through its departments or leaders over time. A financial department, for instance, could be modeled to provide an excellent customer experience but limited resources, staffing changes or other department-specific events could shift priorities. Now take this example and multiply it across each and every department or leader within an organization, each with an equal chance to lose sight of the customer due to unique circumstances. This is why a Customer Service Officer is essential, to drive customer-centric initiatives and to coordinate efforts across departments so that these initiatives stay intact.
Marchai Bruchey, the Chief Customer Officer of Thunderhead.com describes the need coordinated effort:
“It is really important to look at the customer from across the organisation, because as a customer if I am calling my bank and have a conversation with a call centre agent after having just finished a web transaction, I would like that agent to know about this activity. If they know about all the conversations I have had then they will have a different dialogue with me than just having insight into one channel. Customer service doesn’t own the customer. The customer owns the company. And that means we touch them across it.”
In an organization like a major city government, such coordination is vital to maintaining a high level of customer service. We have tried to facilitate this coordination through the Customer Service Officers Program, naming specific CSO’s for each department. While this effort helps to keep customer service as a priority across the organization, the Chief Customer Service Officer guides the actual effort, making sure that it too stays completely customer-centric and does not waver.
The most important takeaway is that there absolutely cannot be silos for customer service throughout an organization. Customer service needs to be “silo-less.” A Chief Customer Service Officer can help, initiate and coordinate to create the absolute best experience for customers, across an organization, whatever their experience might be. What have your experiences been with having (or not having) a designated executive for customer service? Help me out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below and the best answer will be rewarded with a $5 Starbucks gift card.
Rosetta Carrington Lue is the Chief Customer Service Officer and Senior Advisor to the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director. Follow Rosetta on Twitter @Rosettalue.