Recently there has been a huge increase in the creation of Chief Customer Officer (CCO) positions within organizations.
In simplest terms, the Chief Customer Officer occupies the top-most position in a company’s Customer Success department. They are responsible for advocating for organization-wide customer experience initiatives that increase buyers’ lifetime value for their companies.
If this opportunity sounds interesting, transitioning from a leadership position in Customer Success may be a promising career move.
What Does a Chief Customer Officer Do?
Chief Customer Officers are responsible for instilling customer-centric values into the culture and operations of the business they work for. Reporting directly to the CEO, a CCO is essentially an agent of change, advocating for the best outcome a customer can have from your company.
As a Chief Customer Officer, you ensure that the mission to elevate the customer experience has complete buy-in from all teams and stakeholders within a business. In doing so, you also play a crucial part in a company’s revenue growth and customer retention rate.
How Is a VP of Customer Success Different From a Chief Customer Officer?
The overarching goal of these two leadership positions is essentially the same: keeping customers happy and loyal. However, from this point, the responsibilities of each position begin to diverge.
The Role of the VP of Customer Success
The VP of Customer Success is responsible for customer onboarding, building customer rapport, overseeing post-purchase follow-ups, and nurturing the customer relationship.
They, along with the Customer Success team, are sharply focused on managing the experience a buyer has with a company over the complete customer lifespan. Through nurturing and engagement at various touchpoints, they help customers attain a positive outcome with a company’s products or services.
The Role of the Chief Customer Officer
If the VP of Customer Success has a micro-focus on the customer experience, the Chief Customer Officer must view the customer journey with a much broader scope. As CCO, you encourage cross-company collaboration to deliver the highest value to customers. You build an enhanced view of the customer for your organization so that your company knows how to better serve them.
Chief Customer Officers work internally to align departments behind customer satisfaction goals, and they act as C-level representatives for Customer Success. In this role, you would also push for accountability from all teams that impact the customer experience by identifying gaps in the customer journey and designating key performance indicators (KPIs) and other specific metrics that determine success.
Chief Customer Officer Salary vs. VP of Customer Success Salary
These two high-value leadership positions draw an impressive salary. According to Salary.com, the VP of Customer Success role pays an average salary of $275,515 in the United States. While the same source indicates that the median compensation for a CCO stands $231,400, Glassdoor estimates total compensation for a Chief Customer Officer to be well over $400,000.
How to Transition from VP of Customer Success to CCO
The events of 2020 and 2021 have allowed companies to clearly see the benefit of having strong relationships with customers. Those who invest in the customer experience can survive economic downturns while those who don’t, perish. Organizations worldwide are now motivated to enhance the customer journey which means the role of the Chief Customer Officer is in demand.
Typically, it’s easier to be hired into a new leadership role from within a company. If there is currently no CCO position within your organization, the absence of the position presents the opportunity for you to advocate for its creation.
In your current position as VP of Customer Success, start developing goals and roadmaps that put your company on course to being more customer-centric. Maximize the ROI you’re able to capture in your current position, and with this evidence, make your interest known to C-Suite. You might also use this article as a guide to learn what it takes to succeed as a Chief Customer Officer so that you can strengthen your case when you pitch the opportunity.
If the role already exists within your company and is already occupied, see if there might be any interest in cross-training or collaboration on projects that would allow you to gain greater insight from the current CCO. With this knowledge, use professional networking platforms like LinkedIn to search for openings outside your current company or to connect with hiring managers who may need a Chief Customer Officer in the near future.
Having a dedicated C-level advocate for the customer journey is still a relatively fresh idea which means demand is likely to continue to increase. This presents an incredible opportunity for ambitious Customer Success leaders who want to play a more significant role and work within an organization to unite teams and executives behind Customer Success goals.