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Who’s watching over us to make sure we have a great experience?

We’ve all been there, whether it’s that moment you walk into a reception, receive an email, call someone, visit a website or complete an online survey, and it can go one of two ways. The touch points we have with an organisation are all ‘moments of truth’ and they matter. We rate our experiences on TripAdvisor, vent to our Twitter followers and write to the editor of The Times.

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Traditional CMO roles focus on the tangible aspects of a brand, such as design, print, language, events, signage and advertising, while your average CIO has web, mobile, email and VOIP environments to take care of. A larger organisation might have a head of facilities responsible for front of house, dining, security and buildings. So who’s watching over us to make sure we have a great experience? Well, in reality, it’s lots of different people, and therein lies the challenge: how to ensure a great, consistent experience. Oh, and to add more to the mix, customer service agents, call centres, receptionists and security staff are mostly outsourced roles.

“There’s little doubt that providing a great client experience adds profit.”

Google Trends started to track ‘Chief Experience Officer’ as a search term at the beginning of 2011 and new hires are on the rise. LinkedIn has over 700 members with Chief Experience Officer as their current or past title. Despite the odd sideswipe at vanity ‘C-suite’ titles, there’s little doubt that providing a great client experience adds profit. In 2005 Bain & Company published their report ‘Closing the delivery gap’ and one stat stands out: “80% of companies believed they provided a superior proposition yet only 8% of customers agree”. In August this year, SalesForce compiled ‘18 Interesting Stats to Get You Rethinking Your Customer Service Process’ and there at number 7 reads “a customer is 4 times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service related vs. price or product related” (Bain & Co).

So what makes a good Chief Experience Officer? Well, we think it’s quite simple: a relentless focus on listening to clients and making the delivery as important as the deliverable. Appoint somebody with the single objective of optimising every part of the delivery process and all of its touch points so that no matter what, the client experience is the best it can possibly be. Whether it’s the way you answer the phone, deal with a complaint, take a brief or present the ‘kick ass design’, put yourself in their position and ask whether you’d be blown away. And when you think you’ve cracked it, keep listening and keep tweaking because you’re only as good as the client says you are.

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