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The Role of the Chief Communications Officer

The criticality of business communication to an organization's long term success continues to grow and will drive many organizations to expand the role of the Chief Communications Officer (CCO). Today's CCO focuses primarily on the public and investor relations. This role should be expanded to be responsible for all customer interaction. If customers are not happy, public and investor relations are difficult in the age of social networking.As organizational growth becomes more dependent on long term potential customer value, a CCO can help with:

* Consistency--Coordination across all business functions (Sales, Delivery, and Service) and communication channels (Web, TV, Voice, and Messaging) to make sure the information and experience are consistent.

* Personalization--Knowing the who, what, when, where, and why a customer wants something and meeting their specific need on their terms.

* Collaboration--Instead of creating a product and finding customers, using customers to create products and interacting not only 1-1 with customers, but with groups of customers that share common attributes.

* Exception Handling--Integrating every interaction with a business process and the ability to quickly handle deviations.

* Speed--The near real-time, instant gratification, and notification economy demands that every interaction have a quick and accurate response.

* Real-Time Reputation--Customers, friends and family, and industry reviews that are all updated real time. Any significant issues are addressed quickly.

* Customer advocate--A champion with the focus on the long term customer potential, not a short term quota; and setting priorities accordingly.

The article in January's Harvard Business Review on "Rethinking Marketing" suggested that companies shift their focus from building brands to cultivating relationships. Core to this strategy is increasing customer interaction. To provide a consistent, efficient, effective, and great user experience over the lifetime of the customer, this interactive communication needs to be centrally coordinated by the CCO.