Chief Operating officer

What is the difference between a CXO (Chief Experience Officer) and a COO (Chief Operating Officer)?

Have you been wondering why you should consider having a Chief Experience Officer (CXO) when you already have a Chief Operating Officer (COO)? If so, you’re not alone. The Chief Experience Officer is still a rather new role for the C-Suite and therefore, there’s some confusion about the roles of a CXO and how it can help your business. Before we go into the differences between a CXO and a COO, let’s take a look at the general roles of each.

Roles of the Chief Experience Officer (CXO)

As we all know, the digital age has put the success of your company in the hands of the customer. Before, yes, customers were the ones who bought your products or services but, today they are so much more. With the rise of social media, your customers have the power to spread the name of your company like wildfire. The great thing is that this can really enhance your image and customer base through word-of-mouth marketing. The bad thing is that if they have a negative experience, this can be detrimental to your word-of-mouth marketing and ruin your reputation rapidly. This is one of the many reasons why having a Chief Experience Officer is so critical. 

A Chief Experience Officer is mainly responsible for:

  1. Customer service strategy – The CXO creates, or improves, and executes an internal and external customer service strategy that aligns with the company’s overall business strategy.
  2. Customer relationship development – The CXO will help strategize, develop, and nurture customer relationships, as really knowing the customer enables even greater customer insight and understanding, which helps further solidify the relationship.
  3. Customer data analysis – The CXO will help implement systems and processes for the collection and analysis of customer data from all touchpoints along their journey. Doing so will provide insight into the customer experience and reveal the greatest opportunities for improvement.
  4. Customer base leverage – The CXO will help spearhead nurturing relationships to a positive place and on solid ground as this should be one of the primary goals for any organization. Customer relationships can be leveraged for customer referral and customer marketing campaigns and programs. 
  5. New customer acquisition – With having an in-depth understanding of customer data, the CXO will be able to help strategize and implement ways that all departments can nurture the customer base and come up with creative ways to acquire new customers with similar attributes, characteristics, pain points and needs.
  6. Product and service innovation – The CXO will use their customer knowledge to assist in the innovation of new products and services. A customer-centric organization stays competitive by continuously improving and modifying products and services to meet the ever-changing needs of customers.
  7. Culture management – The CXO will help improve and modify the company culture to fulfill the customer service strategy so that it is customer-centric on all levels and across all departments.

In summary, the Chief Experience Officer is at the forefront of the organization in regard to the customer experience and helps align the entire organization with the customer service strategy.

Roles of the Chief Operating Officer (COO)

There can be several different roles that a Chief Operating Officer has and some of them depend on the type of COO the organization wishes to have. According to Investopedia, there are typically seven types of COOs.

  1. The Executor – Oversees and implements company strategies created by senior management and has the responsibility for day-to-day as well as quarter-to-quarter results. 
  2. The Change Agent – Leads the strategy for a major turnaround within the organization.
  3. The Mentor – Counsels younger or newer company team members, mainly young CEOs
  4. An “MVP” COO – This person is promoted from within and knows the ins and outs of the organization. The promotion is meant to ensure that they do not go to a competitor.
  5. The CEO Complementor – Brought in to complement the CEO as they have the opposite characteristics and abilities as the CEO.
  6. The Partner – who is brought in as another version of the CEO
  7. The Heir Apparent – This person comes in to learn the CEO in order to ultimately assume the CEO position.

Although there are several types of COOs, the main objective is for them to help improve the organization overall and oversee the day-to-day operations. Therefore, their primary role is to work closely with senior management to create and implement operational processes, internal infrastructures, internal systems and company policies to improve the bottom line. 

Differences Between CXOs and COOs

While both the CXO and COO provide leadership and strategic vision to the organization and bring operational, managerial, and administrative procedures, reporting structures, and operational controls to the company, they are very different. Typically, the COO is internal facing. They work on internal infrastructure and processes that make the business more efficient and produce quality work. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the executive that is more of the public face of the company, the main communicator between the board of directors and operations, and makes the major decisions of the company. They are the highest-ranked executive, therefore, the COO and the CXO report to them. 

The CXO unites the internal and external worlds of an organization. They get a deep understanding of the organization’s customers and work alongside the COO and CEO to implement a customer-centric culture across the entire organization using their knowledge of the organization’s customers. While the COO is an important role, the CXO brings the customer experience to the forefront to make sure that customer interactions are positive. Without service excellence, a business cannot be sustainable. Therefore, having a Chief Experience Officer is critical for building brand loyalty and advocacy. 

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Customer Service Institute of America