By Laura Patterson
Today’s highly competitive business environment is driven by the always-moving customer-centricity goal post. So, achieving sustainable growth requires more than just increasing revenue or market share. It requires creating customer value which in turn requires a customer-centric approach. Organizations that strive to be customer-centric and create customer value recognize the importance of understanding customer needs, preferences, and expectations and focus relentlessly on delivering exceptional customer experiences (CX), at every touchpoint. This is where the role of the Chief Growth Officer (CGO) becomes crucial.
In this article, we will explore:
- why growth through CX falls on the shoulder of the CGO
- how the roles of CGOs, Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs), and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) differ
- why CX is important to growth
- what capabilities businesses need to successfully achieve growth through CX
Why Growth Through Customer Experience Falls on the Shoulders of the CGO
To answer this question, let’s compare and contrast the roles of CGOs and Chief Strategy Officers (CSOs). Along with the CSO and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), CGOs are tasked with identifying opportunities for growth.
While all three of these people are focused on driving growth for their organization, their focus is different. The CGO has a more operational focus, whereas the CSO has a more strategic focus. The CGO is responsible for executing growth opportunities and driving revenue growth through various channels, by improving CX in each. In contrast, the CSO is responsible for developing and executing the overall strategy of the organization, which may or may not include a focus on customer experience.
Furthermore, the CGO is typically responsible for a broader range of growth initiatives, including new product development, market expansion, and customer acquisition, whereas the CSO is primarily focused on developing and executing the strategic plan of the organization.
Now let’s compare and contrast the roles of CGOs and CMOs. In comparison to the CMO, the CGO has a broader focus. While marketing is an essential component of growth, it is just one part of the overall growth strategy. By focusing solely on marketing, organizations may miss out on growth opportunities in other areas. The CGO, on the other hand, has a more comprehensive view of growth and is responsible for identifying and executing growth opportunities across all areas of the organization, including sales, marketing, product development, and CX.
Yes, the CMO must be customer-centric but they’re primarily responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies that drive customer acquisition and retention. While the CMO plays an important role in driving growth through marketing, the CGO is better positioned to drive growth across all areas of the organization and develop a comprehensive growth strategy that includes customer experience as a key component.
The CGO is responsible for taking a more holistic approach to growth. It falls on their shoulders to develop and execute the overall customer-centric growth strategy for the organization that creates sustainable revenue streams for the organization, builds brand loyalty, and gains a competitive edge in the marketplace.
Why Customer Experience is the Best Growth Driver
Several studies reveal the financial impact of CX on growth and profitability:
- A study by Forrester Research found “revenue growth through increased retention and enrichment makes up more than 90% of the top-line impact from improving CX.”
- “The Value of Customer Experience, Quantified” published in the Harvard Business Review, found companies with strong customer experience management programs had higher customer retention rates (up to 140% higher) and higher customer lifetime values (up to 50% higher) than those without such programs.
- The Temkin Group study, “The ROI of Customer Experience,” found that customers who have a positive experience are more likely to repurchase from a company (86%), recommend it to others (77%), and forgive it for mistakes (74%). On the other hand, customers who have a negative experience are less likely to repurchase (13%), recommend (16%), or forgive (9%).
Customer-centricity is the only way to achieve sustainable, profitable growth.because it drives customer loyalty and advocacy. These numbers demonstrate the importance of CX in building customer loyalty and advocacy. Therefore, it is essential for the CGO to prioritize and execute CX initiatives as part of their overall growth strategy.
9 Capabilities to Hone for Successful CX Growth Initiatives
It is the CGO’s responsibility to ensure that their organization has the capabilities to succeed at growth through CX. To do so, businesses need to develop and hone nine primary capabilities:
1. Customer-centric culture
This requires a mindset shift from product-centricity to customer-centricity, where the customer is at the center of everything the business does and every decision the business makes. HubSpot provides an excellent example of a company that has a customer-centric culture. They have a dedicated customer success team that is responsible for ensuring that customers get the most value from their platform. HubSpot also has a customer-first approach to product development, where they prioritize features based on customer feedback.
2. Customer insights
CGOs need to be able to gather, analyze, and act on customer data to understand their needs, preferences, and expectations. Salesforce excels at gathering, analyzing, and acting on customer insights. They have a dedicated team of data scientists who analyze customer data to identify trends and patterns. Salesforce also has a customer community where customers can share feedback and ideas.
3. Customer journey mapping
The CGO owns customer journey mapping and identifying pain points, opportunities, and a focus on delivering exceptional experiences along customer channels and touchpoint preferences.
Airbnb has a deep understanding of the customer’s journey. They have mapped it from booking to check-out and have identified key touchpoints where they can deliver exceptional experiences, such as personalized recommendations and local guides.
4. Cross-functional collaboration
Breaking down silos and fostering collaboration across departments to deliver seamless and consistent customer experiences. Building cross-functional teams is a good way for CGOs to facilitate collaboration. Collaboration is Slack’s brand promise. They have a dedicated customer experience team that works closely with product development, marketing, and sales teams to ensure that the customer experience is seamless and consistent.
5. Agile experimentation
Testing and iterating on customer experiences to continuously improve and innovate. Chief Growth Officers should foster a passion for continuous experimentation and innovation to drive growth through customer experience. Amazon is an excellent example of a company that fosters a culture of experimentation and innovation. They have a dedicated team of data scientists who test and iterate on CX to continuously improve and innovate.
6. Customer-Centric Process Design
Businesses run on processes. The CGO should know every process that impacts customers, map the processes, and ensure these processes can deliver exceptional customer experiences. Nordstrom is a well-known American luxury department store chain that has built a reputation for going above and beyond to deliver exceptional CX by focusing on processes.
Nordstrom’s processes empower employees to:
- make decisions that benefit the customer and encourage them to go the extra mile to provide personalized experiences.
- take the time to get to know their customers and their preferences and use this knowledge to provide personalized recommendations and advice.
Nordstrom has streamlined its processes to ensure that they are efficient and effective. They have implemented technologies like mobile checkout, which allows customers to check out from anywhere in the store. Nordstrom continuously strives to improve its customer experiences. Nordstrom listens to customer feedback and uses it to make changes to its products, services, and processes.
7. Define customer experience goals and measures
The CGOs define what exceptional customer experiences look like and how they will be measured. Depending on the goals, possible customer-centric measures include customer satisfaction, customer advocacy, customer effort, first contact resolution, and customer retention rate. American Express, a financial services company, has set customer experience goals and measures for each of the mentioned measures. By focusing on these customer experience goals and measures. They have built a loyal customer base and has become a leader in the financial services industry.
8. Gather and use customer feedback
This involves gathering feedback from multiple sources, such as primary customer research and social media. CGOs need to have access to the data and be able to analyze it to identify patterns, trends, and areas for improvement. They prioritize the feedback based on impact and feasibility and incorporate the feedback into key strategic decision-making, such as product/service development, customer service initiatives, and channel and touchpoint preferences.
Gathering customer feedback is not a one-and-done. Customer preferences change. Develop a customer feedback process that is implemented on a regular basis.
Caterpillar, a leading manufacturer of heavy equipment for the construction and mining industries, is good at gathering and using customer feedback to improve customer experience and drive growth. The company gathers customer feedback through a variety of channels, including customer surveys, focus groups, and customer advisory councils. The company uses this feedback to make improvements to its products, services, and processes. For example, based on customer feedback, Caterpillar has made changes to its equipment to make it more reliable, efficient, and easier to maintain. The company has also developed new service offerings to better meet the needs of its customers. In addition, Caterpillar has a dedicated customer experience team that is responsible for analyzing customer feedback and identifying opportunities for improvement. The team works closely with other departments to ensure that customer feedback is incorporated into all aspects of the business.
9. Engage and regularly communicate with customers
The economy, customer and market requirements and competitors can impact your company’s product development, marketing, and selling strategies. Part of being customer-centric is the ability to effectively engage and communicate with your customers. IBM has a strong track record of engaging with customers. They actively involve customers in the product development process through beta testing, customer advisory councils, early access programs, roadshows, and user groups. This approach has helped IBM to build strong relationships with its customers and maintain its position as a leader in the technology industry.
Responsible for Growth Through CX? Your First Step.
Whether you’re the CGO or carry another title, if you are responsible for driving growth through CX, the first step is to conduct a customer experience audit. This involves evaluating your current customer experience against industry benchmarks and identifying areas for improvement. You can do this by collecting customer feedback, analyzing customer data, and competitive benchmarking. Once you have identified areas for improvement, you can prioritize them based on impact and feasibility and develop a roadmap for implementation.
Ready to drive growth and success through your customer experience? Ask about how an ISBM Membership can help your company grow now, join us at our next Member’s Only Meeting or visit ISBM today to learn more!
Laura Patterson, ISBM Practice Fellow and founder and president of VisionEdge Marketing, is a powerhouse of growth and innovation. Leveraging her innate knack for customer-centricity, she’s transformed over 250 companies in diverse industries from technology to bioscience. An award-winning thought leader, LinkedIn Influencer, and acclaimed speaker, Patterson blends her expertise with an unwavering energy and spirit.
You can meet Laura at our next Member’s Only Meeting. Hope to see you there.