Devil's advocate turns employees and customers into ambassadors
Chief Customer Officer on the verge of entering Dutch boardrooms
The Netherlands hesitantly counts one Chief Customer Officer. A recent study showing that this role can make a significant difference in the boardroom in these dark economic times, this stands to change. The U.S. and Europe now know two thousand CCO's. Devil’s advocates, who guided their organizations through large positive change.
"Executives who dare to think countercyclical, greatly increase their chances of winning strong in these times of recession. An important strategic consideration being to focus on the customer now more than ever. And to leave it to a specialist, the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). The Netherlands is hardly aware yet of the CCO-role. Time to introduce this role in every Dutch boardroom where customer value, loyalty and self-criticism are seen as differentiating factors. "
Nicolette Wuring observes how the Dutch boardroom struggles with pessimism in their own ranks and customers. She knows how companies can make that one strategic component “to put the customer at the heart of your business”, so often heard, but much less often successfully executed on in a meaningful way, work for a business and a brand. She studied the response organizations in other countries found. They appointed a Chief Customer Officer.
Meanwhile the pressure of the crisis has a major impact on the mindset of employees. “They become risk averse, they ‘dive’, biding their time, hoping to survive the crisis undamaged. At the expense of service. While precisely now loyalty and optimism can make a big difference. We live in the Age of the Customer. Businesses need a different mindset to fully take advantage of this opportunity. A CCO can bring the required change in mindset and behavior. Inspire with a strategy that gives meaning to customer value and deliver material returns on taking real care of the customer. A CCO first turns employees and then also customers into ambassadors who are authentically and passionately committed to the organization. "
A company considering to appoint a CCO has some thresholds to cross, recognizes Wuring. "The CCO-role has a lot of latitude and is not easy to embed into complex organizational structures. Moreover, there are not many CCO's available that can handle this heavy duty task. And ‘the issues of the day’ reign. Customer trust is still falling in our country. In our neighboring countries the CCO has created a tipping point for many organizations. Research shows that truly customer-driven organizations experienced the largest positive change in 2012. "
Wuring is a pioneer in this field. Among others, she was the 'architect' and 'catalyst' of the transformation that led to the turnaround of the reputation of the European cable operator Liberty Global (e.g. UPC Broadband Europe) and is an international author, speaker and strategic advisor.