Reviewing Chief Customer Officer By Jeanne Bliss
I recently completed a journey through the book, Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action by Jeanne Bliss. Jam packed with customer experience wisdom, it took me a bit to chip my way through it. In the book, Bliss shares a game plan for breaking down silos in our organizations in favor of working together to develop a laser focus on our customers and the way they experience our product or service.
Rather than summarizing the entire book, I want to take a few moments to highlight my three favorite takeaways. Here goes:
1. Weaving customer focus into the company’s power core
Bliss introduces the concept of a Power Core. She defines a power core as “the strongest skill set in the company or the most comfortable to senior executives.” The six power cores are product, marketing, sales, vertical business, information technology, and customer.
As the area of greatest strength in the organization, she warns against trying to change the power core. Instead, Bliss says that “the end game is to incorporate the drive for managing customer relationships and profitability into the power core.” She goes on to define each power core in detail and give strategies for infusing customer focus.
One example I found particularly interesting was in her description of the product power core. A company like Microsoft fits in this group and she showed how incorporating error reports into their software allow Microsoft to get on the spot feedback about their software directly from customers.
2. Begin tracking Guerilla Metrics
In my favorite section of the book, Bliss lays out the metrics necessary to gauge the success of the customer focus. She calls them Guerilla Metrics “because getting them into your organization as a regular part of the discipline and conversation is a campaign you’ll need to forge.” The five guerilla metrics are as follows:
- Volume and value of new customers
- Volume and value of lost customers and the reasons they left
- Which customers renewed their service and why
- Revenue and profitability by customer group
- Referrals by customer group
Bliss goes on to talk about the importance of consistently tracking these metrics, reviewing them regularly, and setting up systems of accountability to ensure that someone champions them. Many organizations track a variety of KPIs but it’s so easy to lose sight of why they are tracking them and what results they actually drive. This clarity around the most important metrics is critical.
3. Who drives the change?
My final takeaway from the book occurs near the end where Jeanne Bliss identifies the likely areas in the organization that will drive the customer focus. These groups include:
- The office of the president
- Customer Service
- Companywide hoopla
- Grassroots uproar
While the customer effort can have varying degrees of success with any of these, the office of the president is the best because it reaches the entire organization and can most effectively bring about this change. She goes on to give a job description for a chief customer officer, shares guidelines for determining who in the organization should play that role, and gives possible organizational structures for the department.
Chief Customer Officer is full of real life stories of companies that successfully focused on their customers, many of which come directly from Jeanne Bliss’ wealth of knowledge and experience. This book deserves strong consideration for anyone serious about delighting their customers. By the way, there’s a Chief Customer Officer 2.0 and you can bet that it’s now on my reading list.
For customers to recommend, they feel so strongly about a company that they have created their own words to describe it.
— Jeanne Bliss, Chief Customer Officer
Head of Quality
Jeremy Watkin is the Head of Quality at FCR. He has more than 15 years of experience as a customer service professional. He is also the co-founder and regular contributor on Communicate Better Blog. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.