Chief Experience Officer … it’s so much more than a title!

I’d like to reference Stuart Elliott’s column in today’s NY Times entitled “Wanted: Experience Officer. Some Necessary.”

I have probably held the title of Chief Experience Officer longer than anyone, since the inception of my firm almost two decades ago. It’s my belief that every CEO is the Chief Experience Officer.

This is because they ultimately drive the values, principles and actions of an organization, and the value that is created by the experiences that employees, stakeholders and customers have. The buck stops at the top. Until senior executives take responsibility for the experiential value their organization creates, we are in deep trouble.

Over the years I’ve seen growing popularity of the appointment of Chief Experience Officers. Many companies view the customer experience as a “bolt- on” to their business rather than their central value proposition.

The definition and interpretation of the role and function of a Chief Experience Officer tends to be all over the board, and in far too many instances, both the people appointing the chief experience officer ,and the individual that’s appointed, don’t have the foggiest notion of what that role and function entail. They just feel better creating a position, even though it is often powerless and of no real authority in an organization.

My belief is that you had better identify the value experience can create, and be very clear about aligning your business objectives and strategy to optimize that value, long before you create an Experience Officer position. Only after you’ve done that should you worry about titles.

A title by any other name is still a title. Actions speak louder than titles.