Imagine a scenario where you walk into a room, an office or a business and see a hive of activity. You are keen to resolve a customer experience problem or have a question answered so you ask: “Who’s in charge here?”
One person steps forward, raises their hand, identifies themselves as the CEO and says “I am.”
However, many of the group that are standing behind her shake their heads and either point to themselves, or various other colleagues, to suggest that they are the ones who are, in fact, in charge of customer experience.
That’s a troubling conclusion that has emerged from a new research report, published in late June, from Genesys in conjunction with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) called “The Value Of Experience.” Through interviews with 516 senior level executives across 21 countries the report explores the impact of customer experience efforts and leadership on business performance.
The headline finding of the study showed was that there is a direct correlation between customer experience and profitability and CEO engagement. In fact, when CEOs are in charge of customer experience initiatives:
- 58% of all companies surveyed reported higher profitability than their competitors; and
- 59% experience better revenue growth as a result of prioritizing customer experience investments.
However, digging into the results, there is a very noticeable discrepancy between who CEOs think is in charge of customer experience initiatives and what their colleagues and reports say. The study found that whilst 72% of CEOs consider themselves in charge of leading customer experience transformation initiatives, only 27% of their colleagues believe this is the case.
Now, it may be natural for all CEOs to consider themselves in charge of, or responsible for, everything that goes on in their company. But the survey goes on to uncover further discrepancies in alignment with respect to customer experience initiatives through a cross-functional analysis. The report found that whilst:
- 32% of respondents in IT believe that their CIO (Chief Information Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives, only 5% of their colleagues in sales, marketing and general management agree;
- 35% of those in sales and marketing believe that their CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives, only 13% in general management and 6% in operations and production agree; and
- 19% of operations and production executives believe that that their COO (Chief Operations Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives, only 4% and 5% of their colleagues in sales and marketing and IT respectively agree.
This may not be a significant problem, or a problem that has manifested itself as yet, as around 80% of all respondents in the survey didn’t perceive a problem with the lack of leadership or organisational structure when it comes to customer experience initiatives. However, to leverage the clear link between the CEO being in charge and company profitability and to pre-empt any future problems, brands should clear up any organisational ‘grey’ areas when it comes to customer experience transformation initiatives and put the CEO in charge.
This post was originally published on my Forbes.com column here.