Longtime readers will know that I don't normally write book reviews on this blog. In fact, this will be my first. But when I was asked if I would review Jeanne Bliss' new book, Chief Customer Officer 2.0, it was easy to say Yes. Jeanne is a bona-fide guru of customer experience, and this update to her 2006 Chief Customer Officer is a book I was probably going to have to read anyway.
Chief Customer Officer 2.0 is a good introduction to the principles and practices of customer experience, aimed at the executive who needs to make it work (or the manager who needs to work with the executive to make it work). Jeanne lays out the five major competencies of a customer-centric organization: managing customers as assets, aligning around experience, building a customer listening path, being proactive in the experience, and one-company leadership/accountability/culture.
For each of these competencies, the book provides a description of what's involved, the benefits to be gained by achieving competence, a few anecdotes from various organizations' journeys, and a few ideas to get you going.
What Chief Customer Officer 2.0 won't provide you is all the nuts and bolts of how to execute each of these competencies. You will learn the importance of managing customers as assets and a general sense of what that means, but there's no accounting formula for establishing what that means to your company. You will understand the value of listening to customers as they travel along your customer journey, but this book doesn't instruct you on how to write a good survey.
Instead, Chief Customer Officer 2.0 sticks to the big picture. This is, in my view, the right approach. Each of the five competencies requires a lot of experience and getting a lot of details right in order to gain maturity. Trying to include all that in a single book would get bogged down in a level of minutiae and make it hard to grasp the larger picture.
If I have one complaint about this book, it's that Jeanne presents the five competencies as roughly equal in importance. While all five are important, I would argue that the fifth competency, Leadership, Accountability, and Culture, is the most important of the group. In my observations, companies which have the Leadership, Accountability, and Culture usually develop enough competence in the other four areas to drive a customer-centric organization (even if they never embark on a formal Customer Experience program). But if that leadership element is lacking, even a high level of maturity in other areas can go to waste because the organization doesn't care.
At the end of the day, if you or your organization want to become more customer-centric, this is a book you want to read. It won't give you all the answers, but it will give you the framework to start asking questions.