5 Customer Leadership Competencies:  How to Architect Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine

By Jeanne Bliss Posted August 6, 2015

Intro from Curt & Erik: 
Jeanne Bliss is an industry thought leader on customer experience and building customer-centric organizations. She is co-founder of the Customer Experience Professionals Association and president of CustomerBliss. Jeanne has spoken to and worked with our own customer service teams in the past; we asked her to share some thoughts on customer experience leadership as food for thought for forward-thinking customer service leaders. For more information, check out Jeanne’s new book Chief Customer Officer 2.0.



To build a customer-centric organization, you need to rise above the fray of being defined by problem solving or chasing survey scores. There are 5 Customer Leadership Competencies that define leadership behavior of world-class organizations focused on customers and employees.  Leaders who display these Competencies will impact how their organization decides to grow, leads in unison, how they identify and resolve issues, and how they collectively build a ‘one company’ experience.


Know the Growth or Loss of Customers and Care About the ‘WHY?’

With this Competency, the goal is to align leaders to make a defining performance metric – the growth or loss of your customer base. Customer Asset Measurement is about knowing what customers actually did to impact business growth or loss versus what they say they might do via survey results.  For example; how many new customers did you bring in this quarter, volume and value (power of your acquisition engine); how many customers were lost this quarter, volume and value (power of the experience and value perceived); how many increased their purchases; and how many declined in their level of engagement with you?

As a Customer Leader, your role  is to bring leaders together to establish Customer Asset Metrics and customer growth behaviors they will stand behind as a united leadership team. 



Give Leaders a Framework for Directing the Work of the Organization.

Unite Accountability as Customers Experience You, Not Down Your Silos.

The second Competency gives leaders a framework for directing the work of the organization: requiring cross-silo accountability to deliver deliberate customer experiences. It unites the organization in building a framework for “Earning the Right” to Customer Asset Growth.

Your role is to unite leaders and the organization in building a one-company version of their customer journey. It includes focusing the organization on priority ‘one-company’ experiences.  And on changing the conversations from silo driven conversations to collaborative conversations about customers’ lives – their experiences across the journey they have with your organization.  



Seek Input and Understanding, Aligned to the Customer Journey.

Competency #3 unites your organization to build a ‘one company’ listening system that is constantly refreshing with multiple sources of quantitative, qualitative and experiential feedback to tell the story of your customers’ experience, guided by the customer journey framework.

You must engage leaders and the organization to want to be a part of  ‘one company’ story telling to unite decision-making and drive cross-company focus and action. That’s why I’ve coined this competency as building a customer ‘listening path.’ 



Know Before Customers Tell You, Where Experiences Reliability is Out of Sync.

Deliver Peace-of-Mind, Consistency and Innovation.

Competency #4 builds out your “Revenue Erosion Early Warning System” and your evolving experience innovation process in “marquee” moments in your customer journey.  These are the intersection points which impact customer decisions to stay, leave, buy more and recommend you to others. 

Here you build your discipline to know before customers tell you.  This is about whether your operation is reliable or unreliable in experience delivery in the moments that matter most, and how you’ll embed a customer experience innovation process to evolve past current state to future state.

Your role is to drive executive appetite for wanting to know about these interruptions in customers’ lives, simplifying how they are delivered, and facilitating a one-company response to these key operational performance areas.  



Leadership Behaviors Required for Embedding the Five Competencies.

For this work to be transformative and stick, it must be more than a customer manifesto.  Commitment to customer-driven growth is proven with actions and choices.  People need examples to emulate culture.  They need proof. The fifth Competency is the glue that puts into practice leadership behaviors required by a united leadership team to enable and earn sustainable customer asset growth.   

You must work with the leadership team in building the consistent behaviors, decision-making and company engagement that will prove to the organization that leaders are united in their commitment beyond words.