In the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of Government Chief Customer Experience Officers, a new kind of executive in the Mayor, City Manager, or Secretary’s cabinet. While this role is growing more and more popular, there are still lingering questions about where it is necessary for a government agency. As a former Chief Customer Experience Officer for the City of Philadelphia and Senior Contact Center Advisor for the Veteran Administration, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I agree with the role’s necessity.
While it can be argued that government agencies are relatively concerned with customers to want and needs, efforts can become fragmented across an agency through its departments or leaders over time. The financial department, for instance, could be modeled to provide an excellent customer experience but limited resources, staffing changes or other department-specific events could shift priorities. Now take this example and multiply it across each and every department or leader within an agency, each with an equal chance to lose sight of the customer due to unique circumstances. This is why a Chief Customer Experience Officer is essential, to drive customer-centric initiatives and to coordinate efforts across departments so that these initiatives stay intact.
Marchai Bruchey, the Chief Customer Officer of Thunderhead describes the need for coordinated efforts for successful customer experience strategy:
“It is really important to look at the customer from across the organization, because as a customer if I am calling my bank and have a conversation with a call center agent after having just finished a web transaction, I would like that agent to know about this activity. If they know about all the conversations I have had then they will have a different dialogue with me than just having insight into one channel. Customer service doesn’t own the customer. The customer owns the company. And that means we touch them across it.”
In the public sector, like a major city government, such coordination is vital to maintaining a high level of customer experience. We have tried to facilitate this coordination through the Administration’s Department Customer Experience Officers Program, naming specific DCXO’s for each department. While this effort helps to keep customer experience as a priority across the administration, the Chief Customer Experience Officer guides the actual effort, making sure that it too stays completely customer-centric and does not waiver.
The most important takeaway is that there absolutely cannot be silos for customer experience and service throughout an agency. Customer experience needs to be “silo-less.” A Chief Customer Experience Officer can help, initiate and coordinate to create the absolute best experience for customers, across an agency, whatever their experience might be.
What have your experiences been with having (or not having) a designated executive for customer experience?