The Rise of the CXO

Written By
Derek Szopa

It can be hard to keep track of new executive titles for senior leaders across the corporate landscape. Some grow out of a need to oversee new technology, like the CTO. Others spring from an evolution in business priorities, such as the Chief Safety Officer. While still others might simply be looking to put a more updated spin on the classic c-suite – Chief Troublemaker, maybe? However, regardless of the industry we find them in, the rise in new roles reflects a shift in business priorities – customer experience is the new hallmark of business today. And for no role is this more true than the Chief Experience Officer (CXO).

What is a CXO? Why do we need them? And what does it say about the future of customer experience? According to Harvard Business Review, a good experience makes a customer 5x more likely to recommend a brand and more likely to purchase in the future, and PwC found that 32% of all customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. It’s no surprise that customer experience is being given more consideration and CXO roles are on the rise: Forrester predicted the number of CXOs would grow as much as 25% across industries in 2020.

But what is it that a CXO actually does? Kurt Schroder, CXO of customer experience solutions company Avtex Solutions, puts it well when he describes his job: “I wake up every morning and I think about, ‘How do we continually improve and deliver a better experience for our customers?’ You really need someone solely focused on the experience and bubbling up opportunities to improve the experience.”

This all begs the question, don’t we already have a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) to worry about that?

CMO vs. CXO? Doesn’t have to be so

Previously, we might have seen the customer experience fall under the purview of the CMO, and in many cases it still does. But where more traditional marketing worked through media advertising and price promotions to lure in and retain customers, this new evolution is increasingly focused on customer experience as a way to build the brand and attract and keep customers.

PwC’s Global CXO, David Clarke, even goes so far as to suggest CMOs should be replacing the M in their title with an X - that marketing should fall under experience. This might seem a bit radical for most traditional brands, but his point is valid. If appealing to the consumer is the primary goal, then it shouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that even other parts of the business, such as operations – even the supply chain – also come under the umbrella of experience.

One way to ensure customer experience doesn’t need to compete for consideration is to build it into the organizational story from day one. A company’s values demonstrate its priorities both internally and externally, creating a set of expectations that employees and partners can build towards, and its customers can expect to see. A commitment to customer experience here sets the tone for future growth and development, including in hiring and partnering decisions.

While a CXO may serve to defend the interests of the customer in high level decisions, employees and service partners fulfill this promise in their own work. Furthermore, companies that pay attention to customer experience from the very beginning are able to build their business around these priorities, ensuring they set the tone for any and all decisions, and are less likely to struggle with an uncomfortable transition later on.

The future of CX might be a return to the past

Sam Walton once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

If businesses took Walton’s advice to heart and structured their priorities with the customer’s interest at the very top, perhaps we wouldn’t even need a CXO to champion the needs of this most valued audience. Maybe priorities became a little diluted over time with the flood of innovation and corporate modernization. And maybe this is the beginning of a new era in which corporations will focus once again on that ultimate goal - building a better customer experience.

CloudSort prides itself on its commitment to the experience of both its clients and their customers. From dock to doorstep, CloudSort offers more efficient, affordable and smarter shipping solutions, designed thoughtfully and built on core values that prioritize a better vision for customer experience.