What is a CXO? The Chief Experience Officer Explained

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In today’s fiercely competitive business landscape, where customer satisfaction and loyalty are crucial for success, the role of a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) has emerged as a key position. So much so that 90% of organizations are set to have their own CXO – according to Gartner.

In this article, we explore what being a CXO means – including the skills, qualifications, and responsibilities, and how the role differs from other senior roles in customer service.

What Is a Chief Experience Officer (CXO)?

The CXO is a senior executive responsible for driving and overseeing the overall customer experience strategy of a company.

According to Indeed, the benefits of having a CXO include “improving customer retention, helping improve sales, providing a customer-focused approach, establishing a brand and voice, and encouraging more consistency”.

This strategic leadership role focuses on creating and maintaining positive interactions between a brand and its customers across all touchpoints.

A Chief Experience Officer is essential for businesses seeking to differentiate themselves in the market and build strong, lasting relationships with customers.

What’s the Difference Between a CXO and CCO?

“Although there are some CXO roles that might look a bit more like a Chief Customer Officer (CCO), or a Customer Experience Director, this isn’t always the case.

One well-known airline, for instance, has both a CXO and a CCO. The former is more digital/ marketing analytics, whilst the latter is customer operations. However, this isn’t the same across all companies.

The CXO tends to work more on strategy, design, agency, creatives, digital, marketing, and on innovations, as opposed to a CCO, CSD, or CXD – certainly in an advertising or software B2B market.

Ultimately, the CXO could also look after EX and stakeholder experiences, creating a holistic, cohesive experience across all interactions – internally and externally.”

Says Michelle Ansell, Managing Partner at Douglas Jackson Recruitment Consultants

What Does a Chief Experience Officer Do?

The typical responsibilities and meaning of a CXO include:

1. Developing the Customer Experience Strategy

The CXO is responsible for creating a comprehensive customer experience strategy aligned with the organization’s overall goals and values.

2. Customer Journey Mapping

Analysing and understanding the customer journey to identify pain points and opportunities for improvement in the customer experience.

If you are looking for advice on customer journey mapping, read our article: How to Improve Your Customer Journey Mapping

3. Customer Analysis and Insights

Using customer data and feedback to make informed decisions, and continually enhance the customer experience.

4. Innovation

Introducing innovative and creative initiatives to surprise and delight customers, setting the company apart from competitors.

5. Employee Training and Engagement

Ensuring that all employees understand the significance of delivering exceptional customer experience (CX) and providing the necessary training and support to achieve this goal.

6. Performance Measurement

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of customer experience initiatives and regularly reporting progress to the wider executive team.

7. Cross-Functional Collaboration

Working closely with various departments and stakeholders to ensure a consistent and seamless customer experience across all touchpoints, including:

  • Marketing: Aligning customer experience efforts with marketing campaigns and ensuring brand consistency.
  • Sales: Coordinating efforts to provide a seamless experience from the first point of contact through the sales process.
  • Product Development: Providing customer insights to inform product development and enhance product offerings.
  • Customer Support: Working closely to address customer concerns and optimize support processes.

8. Responsibility for Direct Reports

Whilst the organizational structure may vary, typically the following roles report to the Chief Experience Officer, including:

  • Customer Experience Managers: Responsible for implementing CX strategies and initiatives.
  • Customer Support Managers: Overseeing the customer support team and ensuring timely issue resolution.
  • User Experience (UX) Designers: Collaborating to improve the usability and desirability of products and services.
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How Are CXOs Different From Other Senior Customer Experience Roles?

Michelle Ansell at Douglas Jackson
Michelle Ansell

The CXO role can be very similar to other senior customer experience roles, depending on the size and needs of a company.

However, in an ideal scenario, you should expect to see the following distinctions – according to Michelle Ansell, Managing Partner at Douglas Jackson Recruitment Consultants:

Chief Customer Officer (CCO)

Also a board-level appointment, with scope and reach across the business, but instead with more limited responsibility for customer-centric strategies. The CCO should focus on driving customer loyalty, satisfaction, and advocacy.

Customer Service Director (CSD)

Specifically managing customer contact operations, responsible for ensuring efficient and effective customer support, resolutions, and complaints, as well as (perhaps) sales through service.

A Customer Service Director (CSD) will also lead on measurements, service standards, and continuous improvements, working closely with technology, resource planning, training, and recruitment teams (for this function).

Director of Customer Experience (DCE)

More involved in enhancing the overall customer journey and interaction with the company’s products, services, and brand.

This role may or may not incorporate customer service and operations, or it could be a more technically specialist function with technical teams including, Insight, Journey Design and Analytics.

Watch the video below where Michelle explains this:

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What to Look for in Your Next CXO

Key Skills

A Chief Experience Officer will need the following skills to succeed in their role:

  • Customer Empathy: The ability to understand and empathize with customers’ needs, pain points, and desires is crucial for crafting meaningful experiences.
  • Strategic Thinking: CXOs must think strategically to align customer experience efforts with the company’s long-term goals and vision.
  • Data-Driven Decision-Making: Expertise in analysing data to derive insights and make informed decisions that positively impact customer experiences.
  • Leadership: CXOs must be adept at leading cross-functional teams and inspiring a customer-centric culture throughout the organization.
  • Communication: Strong communication skills are vital for collaborating with various stakeholders and articulating the customer experience strategy effectively.

Qualifications and Experience

Whilst there is no one-size-fits-all qualification for a CXO, successful candidates typically possess a combination of the following:

  • Education: A degree or master’s degree in business administration, marketing, or a related field.
  • Experience: Extensive experience in customer experience management, marketing, or related fields is crucial. CXOs may have previously held roles such as a Head of Customer Experience or Director of Customer Success.
  • Industry Knowledge: A deep understanding of the industry in which the company operates and the factors that influence customer behaviour.
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Should You Hire Your Next CXO Internally or Externally?

It can be a tough decision as to whether to recruit your next CXO internally or externally, so here are some pros and cons to help you decide what’s best for your business:

Type Internal Candidate External Candidate
Pros

Company Familiarity: An internal CXO is already familiar with the company’s culture, processes, and customer base.

Existing Relationships: They likely have established relationships with key stakeholders, which can streamline collaboration.

Cost-Effective: Internal promotions can be cost-effective compared to external hires.

Fresh Insights: External CXOs can bring new ideas and best practices from other organizations and industries.

Objective Approach: They are more likely to approach challenges objectively, unencumbered by internal politics.

Experience: Experienced CXOs can quickly make an impact without requiring extensive onboarding.

Cons

Limited Perspective: An internal CXO might be biased by existing practices and may lack fresh perspectives.

Skills Gap: They may require additional training to excel in the new role.

Cultural Adjustment: It may take time for an external hire to adapt to the company’s culture.

Higher Recruitment Costs: Due to recruitment fees and higher salary expectations.

For tips and advice on improving you job adverts, read our article: Are Your Job Ads Holding Back Your Contact Centre Recruitment?

If you are looking for information on other contact centre roles, read these articles next:

Author: Megan Jones
Reviewed by: Jonty Pearce

Published On: 20th Oct 2023 - Last modified: 26th Mar 2024
Read more about - Call Centre Life, , , , ,

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