Meet the ‘X-Suite’ – the job roles shaping Experience Management
As more and more organizations look to Experience Management (XM) to grow their organizations, the c-suite is evolving to put ‘experiences’ front and centre and make sure XM gets visibility and support at the highest levels.
It’s led to a new breed — the X-Suite — taking its seat at the top table to help shape how organizations are run and make Experience Management the key growth lever.
Here’s the key job roles at the heart of the X-Suite:
Chief Experience Officer (CXO)
One of the newest C-Suite roles, the CXO is the person responsible for bringing together all the core experiences of the business.
Our own CXO Julie Larson Green describes it as: “The role of the CXO is to unite two very important jobs of the C-Suite: Universal Listening and Universal Action across the entire organization.”
The CXO is the one responsible for listening to customers, employees, product users and the market in general and using that feedback to drive action at the highest level. They are usually the owner of the entire XM program, with other ‘XM’ roles reporting into them or having direct responsibility for functions such as product design, people ops and brand.
It’s a key role that helps to provide a holistic view of the experiences across the organization, breaking down silos and connecting the work of various departments to drive consistency in both the design and delivery of those experiences.
Chief People Officer
Also known as: Chief HR Officer, VP People Operations, Employee Experience Officer
What do they do?
A Chief People Officer is perhaps one of the newest roles in the experience age, not in terms of the job title but in terms of their responsibilities and their impact on the organization.
In the past, a CPO would have been defined as an HR role but today they are seen as a much more strategic position, managing everything from organizational design, executive coaching and development, and learning and development programs.
As the title suggests, they are responsible for everything to do with the people within the organization from their engagement and productivity to their career development and the impact they have on the organization’s bottom line.
While that may bring in some more traditional elements of HR, a CPO tends to take a much wider view to impact the employee experience as a whole whether that’s developing and building the culture, building the employer brand to help attract the best candidates or leading a people analytics team to help optimize the total workforce management of the organization.
Chief Customer Officer (CCO)
Also known as: VP Customer Experience, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Head of Customer Engagement
What do they do?
The CCO is responsible for the total relationship an organization has with its customers, and plays a vital role in driving both acquisition and retention strategies in the organization. It’s a relatively new role still, with the first CCO role believed to have been created by Texas Power and Light in 1999.
The CCO is typically the person in the organization who is the ultimate authority on customers — it’s their role to understand what they need and drive actions across the organization in order to deliver on it.
In recent years the CCO’s role has evolved from one primarily focused on the customer service side of the business to one which now includes multiple different customer-facing touchpoints.
It’s a realization that customer experience goes way beyond just support, and brings in areas like sales, marketing, finance and even parts of HR as they look to help foster the kind of customer-centric culture that’s essential to delivering world-class customer experiences.
With influence across such a diverse range of departments in an organization, it’s important that the CCO is a senior position in order to be able to influence decisions that impact customers with multiple stakeholders.
Chief Product Officer
Also known as: Chief Product innovation Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Head of Product Development
What do they do?
The ultimate aim of a CPO is to deliver products that delight customers and deliver value back to the organization's bottom line. They typically manage the product across the entire lifecycle from conceptualization all the way through to post-launch iterations and updates.
The most successful CPOs work hand in hand with the rest of the ‘X-Suite’ - for example, they’ll have a close relationship with the CCO to understand customer needs, pain points and how customer feedback can be used to deliver more successful products.
Their role is to take all the data points available, from customer feedback to customer segmentation and market trends and operationalize it to put the people, processes and systems in place to turn it into a finished product.
In many organizations they’re public-facing evangelists for the product and will often be used in PR and marketing efforts, speaking at conferences or in the media about the product.
Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)
Also known as: Head of Marketing, Chief Brand Officer, Head of Brand
What do they do?
The CMO is probably the best known role in the X-Suite, responsible for the marketing, advertising and external representation of the brand.
Their role is to effectively communicate the experience proposition to customers, and their focus is more on growth through customer acquisition rather than retention (although there is a huge knock-on effect on the latter).
In the past, CMOs had more responsibility for areas now covered by others in the X-Suite, such as customer service or even product management. However, as organizations have begun to understand more about how each experience impacts another, those responsibilities have been shared with others such as the CCO or CPO.
One of the most important roles a CMO plays in Experience Management is optimizing the brand experience. This brings together all the different experiences a customer or potential customer has, whether it’s through the organization’s advertising, its products or the employees they interact with. Each experience impacts a user’s perception of a brand, and so the CMO plays a key role is helping to drive consistency across the organization to drive brand recognition and create positive associations with the brand that in turn lead to increased sales.
Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Also known as: IT Director, Technology Director, Head of IT
What do they do?
Experience Management is all about the interplay between the different core experiences of an organization, and we’ve seen already how much shared responsibility the X-Suite has whether it’s the CCO and the Chief Product Officer working together to put customers at the heart of product development, or the CMO and the Chief People Officer working to foster an internal culture that matches the brand.
None of that happens without the CIO. Responsible for the technology infrastructure within the organization, it’s their role to help break down data silos to enable the organization to deliver world-class experiences.
That covers the entire organization, from the systems customer service teams use to gather customer feedback and close the loop with customers, to systems and platforms that allow key customer, employee, product and brand data to be shared and accessed by the right people across the organization.
Learn how to get company buy-in for Experience Management (XM) through our webinar:
Webinar: Building a business case for Experience Management
March 26, 2020
Social distancing in market research: Pivoting in-person methodologies
March 20, 2020
4 things market researchers need to think about in the time of COVID-19
December 5, 2019
Disruptive innovation: 4 times brands disrupted their own business models
October 23, 2019