What is a CXO and Why Do You Need One in 2021?

5 min readDec 8, 2020



What is a CXO?

A CXO is shorthand for Chief Experience Officer, a role that focuses on creating a customer experience (CX) that meets or exceeds expectations at every stage of the customer journey.

This position is responsible for a company’s CX at every touchpoint (before, during, and after a purchase), and effectively communicates a company’s unique value proposition with a loud and clear message across multiple channels.

Companies like Amazon and Netflix have invested in CX to acquire and retain loyal customers. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, the strength of your CX strategy will ultimately determine the success of your company in the upcoming years.

Why Do You Need a CXO?

Companies tend to work in silos when they don’t have a CXO on the leadership team. This important team member helps break through the silo-mentality and keeps everyone working towards the ultimate goal: creating a customer experience that builds loyalty, creates a positive brand identity, and generates sales.

Not only that, but the increase in channel fragmentation means that it’s incredibly important for companies to choose the right communication channels and use them effectively. Every customer has their preferred communication channel, whether it be email, text, or chat.

An expert CXO will be able to determine which channels you need to use during your customer’s journey, then create and implement a plan with these channels that nurtures customers before, during, and after a sale. The customer journey doesn’t end with a purchase — it continues throughout the lifespan of a customer; encouraging them to make more purchases and spread the word about your product or service.

According to Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers tell 6 people or more if they have a great experience. On the flip side, 67% of customers cite bad experiences as a reason for churn. In order to continue building word-of-mouth buzz and keep them coming back, it’s necessary to have an expert managing your CX strategy.

CX spans across all touchpoints, resulting in the overall feeling or opinion a customer has about your brand. Ultimately, the customer experience is the total sum of a customer’s interaction with you on multiple channels — and it’s surpassing marketing as the main goal for many brands.

In other words, CXOs are in demand.

CXOs in Large, Medium, and Small Companies

In 2019, Mastercard hired their first-ever CXO… and they’re just one of the many businesses creating space for this unique C-Suite role. According to Gartner, nearly 90% of organizations now have a CXO in place. Companies of all sizes are shifting their focus to the big picture, hiring industry leaders for this role, and putting their customers at the forefront of their business.

“Providing customers with a clear, consistent and rewarding experience is what differentiates leaders from the rest of the pack.” — Michael Miebach, chief product officer at Mastercard (source)

Other companies with a dedicated Chief Experience Officer

According to Diane Magers, a CX expert who helped AT&T build their CX strategy, the most detrimental thing a company can do is to keep their CXO in a silo rather than have them touch multiple parts of the company. In order to be successful, a CXO needs to have the ability to zoom out and look at the whole organization, including the customer’s journey and the processes or infrastructure that’s in place.

A CX team may consist of multiple people or just one, depending on the size of your organization. These specialists may also perform under the job title of Customer Experience Manager, Customer Success Manager, or CX Strategist.

What Experience Should a CXO Have?

CXOs are responsible for multiple parts of the customer experience, from mapping customer journeys to implementing a marketing strategy that continuously nurtures customers while generating sales and word-of-mouth buzz. This means that the person who fills this role needs to have a variety of skills, but ultimately, they need to be an excellent leader, communicator, big-picture thinker, and problem solver.

As this new role emerges, various qualified people are stepping forward to provide excellent CX for forward-thinking companies. Although someone might have a background in customer support, marketing, operations, sales, or user experience (UX), that doesn’t mean they can’t be a great CXO.

In fact, most people who now own this title have an extensive background in other areas. Because the “CXO” role is so new, it’s normal for CX experts to come from a background in marketing, operations, or customer support. The key is to look for someone with experience in an executive role and has the ability to step back and look at the big picture: the customer journey.

Download a Sample Job Description

Hiring a CXO on a Budget

According to Raconteur, it’s necessary to ‘obsess’ over customer experience in order to stand out from the crowd (and keep customers coming back). Some companies recognize this but aren’t able to hire a dedicated person to act as CXO. When this is the case, CX duties are often spread out between their Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Customer Officer (CCO), or another person in the organization.

Although this might work temporarily, having multiple people handle one role is bound to get complicated over time. If there isn’t wiggle room in your budget to hire a CXO, you may want to consider the more cost-effective solution of hiring a CX services firm.

CX services firms, like Flow, specialize in designing, building, and operating customer experiences that create raving fans throughout the customer journey.

Whether you decide to hire a CXO or outsource the job to a firm like Flow, your company needs to have a CX expert on your team if you want to create a positive customer experience that builds customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and brand recognition.

Want to talk about how you can step up your CX game? Schedule a 30-minute discovery session.

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