A Quote about the CCO Council from Curtis Bingham
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Curtis on...Chief Customer Officer: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?

Curtis N. Bingham, Founder and Executive Director of the Chief Customer Officer Council, shares new data that offers insight into whether or not the CCO role has a future.

Transcript for Curtis on...Chief Customer Officer: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?

Many people have asked whether or not the chief customer officer is just another passing fad or another example of title inflation within the executive ranks. I have to say that based on the recent analysis that I've done of over 509 CCOs dating back to the beginning of 1994 when the chief customer officer was appointed, it doesn't look like it's a passing fad; instead, it looks like it's here to stay.

Here's an example of a chart showing CCO activity over the last decade. The top bars are the appointments of new chief customer officers by year. And the bottom bars are the departures of chief customer officers each year; this includes terminations or retirements.

There is a dramatic jump in 2006 and 2007 as to the awareness of the chief customer officer role and the impact that it can have on the organization and on customers. This growth here tapered off in 2008 as the number of departures escalated. It worsened through the recession. What so often happens is that as soon as you hit a revenue road bump, the CEO and other executives will look at those functions and those executives that aren't contributing to immediate short-term revenue; and then they'll throw them out of the pool.

What happens here is that the chief customer officer, traditionally, has been a role that's been very necessary and hugely valuable, but it's been very hard to measure the impact of the CCO role; and it's been even harder to point to the direct impact of the CCO on the bottom line.

Mid-sized companies are fairly stable. And, yet, it's the enterprise and the small companies that had the greatest churn through the recession.

The green line on the chart here shows the average tenure of the chief customer officer over time. It shows that it's steadily increasing to an average right now of about 33.2 months overall between the small, medium, and enterprise level chief customer officer.

The enterprise tenure is the one that we're most interested in, and that's at 35.5 months, which is up from the 29.4 months that we saw last year.

We're seeing an upswing in appointments this year. There are 20 more that have already been named so far this year, and there are fewer departures for this year. So we're on track to see significant growth in the CCO role coming throughout the end of this year and in the future.

I think that the thing that this shows that's very important is that the chief customer officer role however you define it and however you implement it is growing in popularity. More and more companies are realizing that their single, most important competitive advantage is the improved customer centricity, and they're pointing an executive to lead this challenge, lead this cause and help the companies become much more customer centric.

So the chief customer officer is not a passing fad. It is here to stay. And it's worth looking at to see whether or not the chief customer officer might be right for your company.


"At SAVO, we are dedicated to our customers' success. We have organized our teams around it, developed programs to promote it, and we measure ourselves based on their success. I look forward to working with other members of the council to explore innovative ways to drive the imperative
of customer success to
the forefront of an
strategic initiatives."

Brian Study
SAVO Group