How to Make Customer Experience a CEO Priority

customer experience priority

Where in the organization does emphasis on the quality of the customer experience originate?  It depends on who you ask.  CIO Magazine asked Mark Hurd, the CEO of Oracle, and he put the onus on CEOs to make it happen (   

CEOs already have plenty to do, but Oracle chief Mark Hurd is suggesting they take on one more task -- becoming customer experience evangelists.

It’s great for CEOs to speak out about making customers happy, but can they really have any direct impact?  Hurd rightly points out that they can remove the obstacles to making customer experience a priority.  They can get the technology in place, they can align the organizational structure, and they can make sure customer experience gets an aggressive budget.   I agree with that.  Those are meaningful actions that only the CEO is sure to accomplish.

On the other hand, every employee should be making the customer experience a central focus, because it’s all about the brand, and every employee’s actions define the brand.

"In a company of 1,000 people, there should be 1,000 customer experience evangelists.”

That’s how Lisa Arthur, CMO of Teradata Corporation, prefers to look at it, and her view is hard to argue with.  It’s all about customer engagement, which is a task that people perform, sometimes with the help of technology.  This can be accomplished in person or through social media. 

It’s important to note that engaging customers proactively  is “moving from nice to necessary in many industries,” according to Dan Farkas, instructor of Strategic Communication at Ohio University.   How is your industry changing with the trend towardf online customer engagement?

I’m a believer that CEOs should evangelize for the vision that every employee’s job is to help deliver the ideal customer experience.  If the CEO not only talks about it, but lives it, then the culture will change.  And the results will be measured—by asking customers and tracking their responses over time.

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