We've seen the C-Suite's stock rise considerably over the past few years, with a number of newfangled roles coming to prominence.
One of the newest role's to join the C-Suite is the Chief Customer Officer (CCO), a position that's meant to tie the technology, marketing and sales departments together.
Although many will see it as another unnecessary job title, there's evidence to suggest that the role will become essential due to the increased empowerment that consumers now hold.
This empowerment has meant that there has been a shift in marketing strategies towards customer-centric approaches which pay attention to all consumer interactions. Digital media has given customers a new platform to interact with organisations and has meant that many companies are now inundated with customer responses. Increased interaction isn't necessarily just about customer complaints, praise is there too, but regardless of the nature of the content, it needs to be analysed and individually responded to.
Engaging and listening to customers is a vastly different approach from what many marketing departments are used to. Commonly, strategies were designed around telling customers what they want and rarely listening to their suggestions - this however won't suffice in today's business environment.
This new way of doing things has meant that the marketing department has to call on people outside their own team, with many different sections of a company needing to be brought together for the good of the common cause.
With vested interests among departments often an issue, there's now a real need for companies to look at a CCO to act as the glue.
Many will wonder why the responsibilities that the CCO carries out aren't under the remit of the marketing department. Although marketing departments do have a substantial hand in the creation of a brand's image, they aren't always expected to execute on it.
This is where the CCO will come in, helping marketers communicate effectively with customers, using their expertise to deliver on the marketing team's ideas. Because the CCO role is so intertwined with the marketing department, it's not uncommon to see CCOs report to the Chief Marketing Officer, especially as CEOs expect their marketing departments to be fully in-touch with the customer experience.
With the CCO role being a fairly new role, the jury is still out on whether its application will work when implemented across a number of companies. What is important to point out however is that there should be someone within a company's team whose job it is to keep tabs on how customers are reacting to a brand.
There are numerous horror stories where companies have used robots to deal with customer queries on social media and this just won't do anymore. Some organisations might deem the role as an extension of the CMO's role, but it would seem that we've got to a stage where companies might need a CCO.
2015 could be the year that we see the CCO role come to prominence, and for many companies, it won't be a moment too soon.