chief experience officer

chief experience officer

Julie Roehm: How Chief Experience Officers Promote Customer-Centric Success

Julie Roehm: How Chief Experience Officers Promote Customer-Centric Success

The role of a chief experience officer is becoming more common in the C-suites of modern businesses. Not familiar with the role? A CXO is dedicated to understanding the consumer’s needs and steering a company’s operations to maximize customer experiences. The CXO’s interdepartmental nature makes it drastically different from other C-suite positions. Due to changing consumer behavior, many believe it to be vital for continued growth.

One of those believers is award-winning marketer Julie Roehm. Roehm has led as CXO at multiple firms, including Abra Auto Body & Glass and Party City. She’s led customer-centric initiatives at global companies like SAP and DaimlerChrysler, and she’s received honors including BrandWeek’s Marketer of the Year and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Distinguished Alumni Award, among many others. Julie Roehm is currently a digital marketing and strategy consultant for Gorilla Grip.

Roehm believes that the CXO position is not only essential for understanding rapidly evolving markets, but also for spearheading companywide transformations.

The Role of the CXO

Put simply, the CXO is responsible for aligning a company’s operations with its customer experience goals. Still confused? Julie Roehm laid it out on the publishing platform Swaay: “The role of the chief experience officer can be interpreted differently for different industries in terms of span and scope, but an ‘experience’ mindset is crucial to continuous innovation and growth.

“The CXO is responsible for developing, maintaining, and strengthening an organization’s relationship with its customers and overall customer experience (CX) and is often at the forefront of growth and transformation within an organization.”

Unlike traditional roles such as CEO or CFO, the CXO’s primary focus is on fostering and enhancing the relationship between a company and its clients.

The C-suite, which tends to focus on meeting short-term financial goals and improving operational efficiency, can often lose touch with the end customer. A lack of communication between departments — which is all too common — exacerbates this problem.

The CXO helps an organization maintain focus on the user experience and grow with them as their expectations evolve. According to Julie Roehm, “These executives must have strong strategic and financial business acumen, an excellent understanding of the company’s operations, an acute marketing and sales awareness, and, above all else, strong communication and analytical skills to understand and develop innovative solutions in concert with her peers.”

Removing Departmental Barriers

Today’s businesses must develop omnichannel solutions to meet customers’ needs on digital channels, social channels, and traditional physical points of sale. The barriers that traditionally exist between departments can make developing omnichannel solutions a considerable challenge.

The CXO plays an important role in breaking these barriers and restructuring companies to better serve clients. The CXO fosters communication between executives and their teams, aligning their efforts to meet customers’ needs across channels.

Julie Roehm outlines the multifaceted responsibilities of the role. “The chief experience officer builds partnerships and touches upon every aspect of the business,” she noted, adding that a CXO must possess a unique blend of strategic, financial, operational, marketing, and communication skills. They must understand customer behavior and preferences and leverage this knowledge to guide company strategy.

Julie Roehm: CXO Is an ‘Always-On Job’

Central to the CXO’s mission is the pursuit of customer satisfaction, a task Roehm describes as an “always-on job” due to how quickly expectations can change in a digital, post-pandemic world.

The role goes beyond analyzing customer satisfaction scores, which can be completely disconnected from the nuances of the client’s experience. It involves delving deeply into individual perceptions and preferences to cultivate genuine happiness and loyalty.

Roehm’s experience at Party City is a good example. The brand’s vision, “Make Joy Easy,” was a direct reflection of its commitment to customer satisfaction.

At Party City, Roehm worked with executives, manufacturers, and individual retail employees at the firm’s brick-and-mortar locations to align the team’s vision. This vision was to deliver not just products but joyful and memorable parties — experiences, if you will.

Chief experience officer isn’t just a role. It’s a vital strategic element that can significantly influence a company’s trajectory. As businesses navigate an increasingly competitive and customer-focused marketplace, the insights and leadership provided by a CXO are critical in steering them toward sustainable growth.

As Julie Roehm puts it: “At the end of the day, if your decisions are not furthering the customer experience, they’re likely the wrong decisions.”