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Should  you have a Chief Customer Officer on the Board?


Its an interesting question isn’t it? Here we are midway through 2020 and much is being made of the CEO of Sainsburys promoting the CMO to the Board as he promises to ‘listen more to customers’.  According to Marketing Week June 1st 2020 – Sainsbury’s has promoted its Chief Marketing Officer – Mark Given to the board in a strategic move designed to help the supermarket get closer to its customers. Simon Roberts the new CEO has been quoted as saying “Mark’s appointment to the operating board will ensure that we really understand how customers are feeling, what they’re thinking and how this affects the way they shop,” Mark Given is quoted as saying “Starting today, I will be spending more time with customers and listening to their feedback. I am really looking forward to hearing directly from people about what they want from us so we can change and adapt to ensure we are always meeting their needs.” Isn’t this brilliant? But why are we celebrating this so much RIGHT NOW?

ALL businesses serve customers – they are there and survive because of the customers who buy the product or service. This is irrespective of sector, whether you are B2C or B2B. So why is it only NOW that Sainsburys have someone on the board who has the remit to ensure that they are always meeting their customers needs? Whose needs have they been meeting to this point? It’s so obvious isn’t it? If you don’t listen to your customer – how will you ensure that you are doing the best for them?  Making sure that their needs and requirements are at the centre of strategic business decisions.  If you aren’t doing the best for your customer – they will go elsewhere. New customers are a lot more expensive to find than the retention of existing ones! Existing customers often make recommendations to friends and family and businesses get more long term custom because of this – a cost effective way of marketing!

Businesses have become so process orientated – but those processes often aren’t to benefit the customer. They are to benefit the business – making it easier for the business to function, but not necessarily making things better for the customer. Having a Customer Champion at the top table surely will help organisations to stop and think about whether implementing or changing something operationally will ultimately make the experience their customer has with the business better. Love him or hate him – Jeff Bezos from the very earliest days of Amazon always had an empty chair at the table at meetings. That empty chair represents the customer – if the something didn’t work for the customer then it didn’t happen at Amazon. That chair was critical in decision making! You have to look at Amazon now – they are at the forefront of Customer Experience and making things as easy as possible for the customer. They are simply getting bigger and better all the time – because the customer is at the heart of their strategic business decision making – why would you want to go anywhere else?

Sainsburys have made the sensible step to put a Customer Champion at the top table. We are all acutely aware of how businesses need to adapt, meet and ideally exceed customer expectations at the moment in order to survive. Do you think that NOW might be the time to consider doing the same? Organisations investing in Customer Experience will be able to navigate their way through this stage time and live to tell the tale. 

CX Talent Ltd is an Independent Customer Experience Recruitment Specialist. We have candidates at all levels. We would be confident of filling any Senior Customer Experience role, in fact we are so confident that we have THE VERY BEST candidates that we don’t work on retainer for Executive Searches. Get in touch today. 01279 550102, 

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