From Chief Experience and Chief Customer Officers to Customer Experience leaders, more companies are creating customer leadership roles. These positions can greatly impact customer-centricity, but they bring a common question: where do you start?
Jim Weber, Chief Experience Officer of Comerica Inc, stepped into his current role in late 2019 with a goal to build and expand a customer experience team. Weber says one of the most crucial parts of his job was ensuring he tasked the right person with running customer experience on a daily basis. At Comerica, that’s Maria Adams, the director of CX, who Weber says can see everything and process it strategically.
One of the most crucial foundational steps in customer leadership is creating a system for gathering data and feedback. One of Weber’s first steps was to build a best-in-class customer satisfaction measurement process. He says having that intelligence to make decisions more consistently helped make customer experience a company-wide focus.
From there, Weber moved to customer segmentation, especially around their small business and personal banking customers. Segmenting customers helped Weber and his team truly understand what their customers needed and would need soon. Breaking customers into smaller groups helped the team discover their unique needs and niche services they could offer, especially when finding the intersection between technology and relationship-building.
Weber says the next big question is How do you use that information to differentiate yourself, especially in a commodity industry? It came down to delivering real, tangible value. Instead of just creating fluff that customers could see through, Weber challenged his team to find ways to prove Comerica cares for its customers and offers valuable tools and services that will make a difference to them.
Customer segmentation also helped create a clear definition of Comerica’s customer-facing goals, which Weber shared with sales, marketing, and other departments that impact customer experience. Creating a clear view of the company’s target customers and how it can serve them built consistency across departments. Weber says it’s essential for other departments to understand how customer experience applies to their work.
Part of a customer experience leader’s job is also getting other leaders and departments on board with a customer focus. Weber’s advice is to immerse business unit leaders in the process by educating them about the true meaning of customer experience and the role their teams play.
Weber looks at customer experience as all-encompassing, but employees and departments often hear customer experience mentioned one way in one context and then another way in another context. That lack of cohesion can cause confusion about what customer experience actually is. Weber recommends ensuring leaders have a strong change management program and providing education and ongoing communication to all departments to understand customer experience, why it matters, and their role in the process.
Customer leaders have many responsibilities, especially when stepping into a new role. But prioritizing data and feedback, understanding customers, and creating cohesion in the company sets the foundation for customer-centric success.