John DiJulius: Just who is losing sleep over the customer? Featured

4:01pm EDT February 6, 2013
John DiJulius:  Just who is losing sleep over the customer?

During the 2012 Secret Service Summit held recently at the Intercontinental Hotel Cleveland, one of the most often discussed topics was who is in charge of the customer service department.

Regardless of your company’s size, someone in your organization has to be in charge of the customer experience and all that goes with it. That someone should not be the president, CEO or owner, but someone who reports directly to them.

Our company has heads of operations, marketing, accounting, sales and human resources, but our second biggest asset (other than our employees) is our customer. How happy they are is determined by the customer experience we deliver.

Until recently, the vast majority of companies had just anyone in charge of the customer experience. If you are a mid-to-large company, you may want to consider creating a position, i.e. chief xperience officer (CXO) or chief customer officer (CCO).

The fastest growing C-Suite position is the CCO/CXO. “More and more companies are reconfiguring their C Suites to accommodate a new kind of chief: the chief of customer.” Here’s an article in Inc. magazine titled, “Make Room for the Chief Customer Officer.

For what should a CXO/CCO be responsible? The CCO should be an executive who provides a comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximize customer acquisition, retention, and profitability.

They should influence strategies of all areas of the business that impact the customer, and ensure the service strategies are built around, and for, the customer.

What does a CXO/CCO look like? One of the biggest mistakes I have seen companies make is hiring, promoting or delegating the CCO position to people who have zero genuine hospitality characteristics.

This person has to live and breathe hospitality, internally, externally, and in all areas of his/her life. If they do not meet the criteria below, pass! It is so much better to leave the position vacant than to fill it with a mismatched person.

  1. Passionate customer experience and the customer.
  2. Extremely high service aptitude.
  3. Lives world-class hospitality personally and professionally.

What if you are not a large organization? If you are a small company or a start-up, I don’t suggest creating a brand-new position dedicated to the customer experience, but you do need to have it be a major part of someone’s job title and responsibility.

For example, at John Robert’s Spa, we promoted a rising star, a manager in training, to director of secret service. Her responsibilities are to manage and monitor all aspects of the customer experience and lead John Robert’s internal secret service agent team (front line employees who wanted to be part of the John Robert’s experience team).

In his book "What’s The Secret?" DiJulius focuses on what a chief xperience officer’s job description could look like. Details here: Chief Xperience OfficerJohn DiJulius is the founder of The DiJulius Group, a customer experience consulting firm. He is an international consultant, best-selling author and is regarded as an authority on world-class customer experience. Go to www.thedijuliusgroup.com for information.