For the better part of the last decade, we’ve seen a new role added to the c-suite: the Chief Customer Officer, or the CCO. Brands like Starbucks, Jet, Gap, and Kohl’s asked themselves, “Who owns the customer experience in our enterprise?” and in an effort to create more customer-centric organizations, the CCO role was born.

CCOs have begun to replace CIOs, leading product strategy, systems strategy, and overall product delivery. From being hailed as the human duct tape of an organization to leading the charge in building a better experience for customers, CCOs have an array of different priorities depending on their organization. But at the end of the day, the customer is at the center of their every move.

Around the same time CCOs were becoming commonplace, the mobile revolution was gearing up. Fast forward to 2017, where CCOs and mobile have had an incredible impact on shaping the ways brands big and small approach customer happiness, retention, and ROI. With CCOs moving customers to the center of their organizations’ product roadmaps, and mobile making it easier than ever before to understand and connect with customers in real-time, parallel between the two efforts has undeniably helped companies succeed.

But there’s still more work to do. Companies can better leverage mobile to provide world-class experiences for their customers, and the CCO will likely play a key role in making it happen for most companies. In a 2016 study done by Russell Reynolds Research, only 39% of companies have one or more senior-level executives leading the charge on customer experience. Conversely, it’s nearly impossible to find an company that doesn’t have at least one KPI tied directly to improving customer experience. The gap between need and real investment in customer experience has widened, and mobile will be a key component in helping CCOs and their organizations drive it closed.

5 ways Chief Customer Officers should leverage mobile

The parallels between the growth of mobile and the rise of the CCO have yielded some pretty spectacular improvements to customer experience, but there’s still room for improvement. Let’s look at five ways CCOs can leverage mobile to reduce spend, increase retention, reach KPIs, and most importantly, provide a customer experience that brings real value.

1. Improve omnichannel experience

Customers don’t think in terms of channels; they expect a pleasing, helpful experience no matter the channel they’re engaging in. As a CCO, your goal is to make your product’s omnichannel experience seamless for customers. If your mobile experience falls short (still likely, unfortunately), customers won’t hesitate to look for a company or experience that better fits their needs. Don’t let customers fall out of your funnel due to mobile; instead, use it to your advantage!

Omnichannel experience
Image source: AdRants

Whether your company offers a mobile web or mobile app experience (or both), it’s important to make the experiences as fluid as possible. Take a peek at your customer data to see where engagement points are highest across your digital channels: where are customers completing the most high-value actions? Where are they converting, purchasing, or leaving? From there, think about how your team can implement the learnings into your mobile offerings. The more streamlined your digital experience is across channels, the better chance you have to improve your overall customer experience.

2. Use mobile customers as a focus group

Focus groups are a great way to test new products, features, and ideas, but they aren’t without their flaws. Leveraging mobile customers as a focus group can save CCOs time, provide more implicit customer data, and increase the speed of feedback collection, just to name a few benefits.

It’s also important to note that more customers are flocking to mobile than any other channel. Mobile is becoming the leading channel for customer engagement, with 51% of digital time now being spent on mobile. Additionally, at Apptentive, our customers (across industries) have reported that even though they have more web-based customers by volume, their mobile customers are much more engaged than their desktop web-only customers.

3. Lower costs and increase revenue

There’s no arguing a CCO will likely have a positive fiscal impact on a company. The role of the CCO isn’t all about fixing problems and lowering cost; it’s also about accelerating growth. Leveraging mobile customer data to make better informed decisions is key to growth for most organizations, and CCOs have the ability and influence to spearhead this effort if it isn’t already in place. In a recent study done by the CCO Council, 67% of evaluated companies saw positive fiscal effects during the tenure of a CCO, with an average growth excess of 5.98%. Given the minimum threshold of companies surveyed was $1B in revenue, this represents a difference of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Revenue and cost

In addition to growth, lowering the cost to acquire customers is at the top of a CCO’s KPI list. Enhancing and optimizing the mobile experience is a great way to lower customer acquisition cost, and the CCO’s team will likely drive this effort, along with the company’s marketing org. By enhancing mobile customer value and placing more value on improving customer relationships, your lifetime acquisition costs will likely take a hit (in a positive way, of course!).

4. Improve customer communication speed

CCOs help fuel customer obsession across their companies, which tends to drive up the amount of feedback the company wants to collect from its customers. Mobile is the fastest delivery channel for communication, so seeking and receiving feedback at an increased speed is completely possible when CCOs leverage mobile as the medium. Take Starbucks, for example. “Over 10% of all orders at our busiest stores are made through mobile order and pay,” said Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ Chief Digital Officer, in their Q2 2016 earnings call.

Whether your products are physical or digital, the speed at which customers can connect to their favorite brands over mobile is faster than any other channel. When a customer engages with your brand through mobile, you’re in their pocket and with them wherever they go. Customer connection is constant; there are no constraints around time of day, access to physical goods, or access to a desktop to put a divide between customer and company. Whether you are interested in feedback around feature prioritization, product-specific inquiries, or anything else, leveraging mobile for feedback is key to building a customer-centric brand.

5. Map a more accurate customer journey

CCOs, CMOs, or both can be tasked with understanding customer behavior to assess needs, and empathizing with customers is crucial to mirroring customer behavior—and ultimately, building a better mobile product. Customers engage in unique ways depending on the channel, and understanding mobile engagement will help your customer journey become more accurate.

Customer journey map

The data you can pull around mobile customers is endless. You know what device they use, how long they’ve had your app, and you may even have demographic data if that’s associated with their login. This means you can ask your audience for the exact explicit data you need in order to expand the customer profile data you already have. Gradually, you can ask them for more data and combine that with their behavior and actions they take in the app to create a comprehensive customer profile.

Looking ahead

Growth in mobile and the addition of CCOs to the c-suite may have begun separately, but they both serve to help companies provide the best possible customer experience. Putting the customer at the center of the product is top-of-mind for today’s CCOs, and mobile is the best channel to gather feedback from customers for future product iteration.