A Quote about the CCO Council from Curtis Bingham
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Information for CEOs and Board Members

The first CCO was hired in 1999 at Texas Power and Light. In 2003 there were fewer than 20 people in the world with the obscure title of Chief Customer Officer. There are now more than 500 officially titled Chief Customer Officers in the world and perhaps hundreds more serving the same role but without the formal title. Fewer than 35 of the Fortune 500 companies have a CCO The CCO is responsible for profitably aligning the company's deliverables with strategic customer needs and values. It is far easier to install a CCO in a smaller company of perhaps less than $100M in revenue, often because the CCO can directly influence all the employees. The CCO role is the most fragile in the C-suite, with an average tenure of 29.4 months, with some notable exceptions on either side of the average. It takes at least two years for the CCO's activities to flow through the company and make a significant impact on top and bottom-line results. Approximately 60% of CCOs are promoted from within and the remainder is hired from the outside. The CCO has a three-fold mission: 1) increase profitable behavior, 2) increase customer centricity, and 3) drive sustainable growth. Jasmine Green, Chief Customer Advocate, Nationwide, named 2012 Chief Customer Officer of the Year, Read More The hallmark of the CCO is the ability to create and drive customer strategy across the company. The technology sector alone accounts for 26.7% of all CCO employment.

While the reasons are varied, CEOs hire a CCO for one of three primary reasons.

To address unresolved and chronic customer crises

In 2001, Sun Microsystems had a rude awakening. A quality problem had plagued them for months. It was crippling customers’ mission-critical operations. A large number of quality initiatives were launched but none were fixing the problem. Marissa Peterson was tapped to become the Chief Customer Advocate with a clear mandate to find and eradicate the root cause of these issues. Employing Sigma techniques, she and her team were hugely successful in a relatively short period of time.

Like Sun, companies experiencing unresolved customer crises that they have not been successful in fixing on their own, such as extremely dissatisfied customers due to chronic product issues, customer lawsuits arising from unmet expectations, etc. turn to a CCO to focus their customer initiatives and drive immediate results.

To create competitive advantage and help acquire new customers

In small and mid-cap companies, CEOs recognize that they need to differentiate themselves from their (oft-times larger) competitors. They appoint a CCO to prove to their customers and prospects that they are singularly committed to customer success. Many a deal has been inked after a visit from the Chief Customer Officer.

To better retain existing customers

CEOs recognize they can grow revenue & profitability by reducing customer churn. Customers were defecting, revenues were plummeting. The Chief Customer Officer was able to provide operational stability by focusing on retaining customers to protect revenue. Rudy Vidal is the CCO of inContact which provides contactcenter software under the Software as a Service (SAAS) model, meaning that they pay for web-based software on a monthly basis, promised to defend 80% of his company’s recurring revenue by focusing on making these customers extremely loyal. In doing so, he was able to smooth out variability in revenue fluctuations and ensure the company could grow intelligently.

Interestingly, there are a handful of CCOs that were hired by a newly-appointed CEO that had come from a highly-customer-centric company. These CEOs hired the CCO as part of their overall growth strategy to change culture and help reach revenue, margin, and operational goals.


"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