What to prioritise in your first six months as a CCO

By Tobias Pasma

What to prioritise in your first six months as a CCO

Your first six months as a CCO (Chief Customer Officer) are generally a challenging time. However, the role has gained much recognition and is now equal to the CMO in some companies. Anyhow, there will still be some resistance to overcome. To make the journey more manageable, I've collected some of the main bits of advice I've picked up while w

The position of a CCO is relatively new, which brings challenges. For example, the average tenure as CCO is less than 30 months, which is partly down to a lack of understanding of what a CCO can be worth, and a dangerous desire to see immediate results. Therefore, it's essential to make a quick impression and prove value right from the start.

What does a CCO do?

The definition by the CCO Council is: 

"An executive that provides the comprehensive and authoritative view of the customer and creates corporate and customer strategy at the highest levels of the company to maximise customer acquisition, retention, and profitability. 

And the expectations and duties of the CCO have changed over time. CCO's mainly have focused on customer service and related business activities, and today the role is more complex and demanding. Modern CCOs are essentially practical business strategists and change leaders. Their desired objectives are to acquire, retain, and serve the right customers for greater profits.

The main initial goals of the CCO

Create and foster a customer-centric culture. 

A customer-centric culture involves building support at all levels of the organisation and overseeing and leading a shifted mindset that places customers and customer experience at the heart of your company.

Increase profitability. 

The CCO must aim to increase revenue and profitability by improving customer experiences, reducing churn, and acquiring more of the correct type of customer.

Demonstrate value. 

CCOs typically have a lot to prove. But, first, they must convince management of their value and the importance of improving customer experience in general. To succeed in doing this, you must use data smartly and effectively.

Reduce friction as much friction as possible. 

It is an ongoing target, and the new CCO should focus on putting all needed measures in place to enable reduced friction in the first six months.

Get to know the team and organisation. 

Finally, your should spend your initial time as CCO getting to know the company. That is the only way to work cohesively, gain insights, and achieve results as a team. Still, it's also crucial for winning the support of the broader organisation and gaining credibility.

The process

To achieve the desired goals and outcomes, the incoming CCO should spend the first few months of their role engaged in a learning process.

The three stages might look similar to the following:

Talk to others at the company. 

Get to know your customers, team members, stakeholders, superiors, and the organisation's processes. You must focus on listening and learning, collecting as much information and insight as possible. In your first 30 days, you should have complete focus on this.

Determine sales, service and marketing. 

To do this, you must look at customer growth, loss and retention, customer satisfaction, and other metrics to understand how the company performs from a sales, service, marketing, and customer perspective.

Identify problem areas and learn the causes.

For example, why does your company have high levels of customer churn? Look for the possible causes of friction, common complaints, and areas that concern staff members.

The first six months are crucial and can make or break you as a CCO and your company's customer strategy.

Once you have covered the initial ground and have a firm understanding of the situation at the organisation, it's time to start laying more concrete plans and preparing a commercial strategy driven by data.

As an adviser, I have worked with CCOs from all backgrounds who saw very different outcomes at their companies, so if you're looking for more advice, it's coming soon. 

Over the coming weeks, I'll be publishing more articles aimed at CCOs and other customer-focused B2B professionals who want to revive their sales and marketing departments. 

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Tobias Pasma
An experienced HubSpot specialist with many HubSpot certifications under his belt. Born in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 2019.
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