Who is the “chief customer experience” officer, anyway?

There have been a couple of recent RetailWire panel discussions on the topic of retail organization charts. One of the hot issues is the buzz around the title of “Chief Customer Experience Officer.” What, exactly, does this mean? Which operating area does this person run — merchandising? marketing? stores? Isn’t the company CEO in fact the chief “experience”  officer if the goal is to get the entire organization aligned with this concept? In any event, here are some more of my thoughts on the issue:

The place to start is a clear definition of “customer experience.” Is it the type of “high-touch” service expected in a luxury or near-luxury retailer like Nordstrom? Is it the smooth integration of the in-store and e-commerce process into an “omnichannel” vision? Is it the overall branding message of the retailer? And — let’s not forget — the merchandise content is the most visible sign of any retailer’s “customer experience.”

So the entire idea of “customer experience” is a hot buzzword right now (like “omnichannel”) without a clear definition of its meaning. If a retailer can make up its mind about what the concept stands for within its four walls, then it makes the most sense to assign primary responsibility to the C-level executive with the budgeting authority to make it happen.

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