In every one of our companies, we have people who are assigned to customer service. Their responsibilities cover things like customer inquiries, requests for support, fielding complaints, remedying problems, and responding to electronic correspondence. If our team is already doing all of these things well, is our job done? Not if we want to position our companies at the forefront of a list of the most beloved companies. In order to do that, we need to add a very important position to our teams: Chief People Officer.
JetBlue Airlines consistently scores well in customer service, and their dedication to an excellent customer experience is reflected in their appointment of a Chief People Officer. Years ago, social media started exploding with stories of a Chief People Officer suddenly standing up on a JetBlue flight, tossing out trivia questions to passengers, and awarding them with free flights for their answers. He then launched into a question and answer session, soliciting feedback from the passengers, and shared information about future deals the airline was working on. Could these stories possibly be true? In fact, they were. JetBlue later confirmed the existence of the fabled Chief People Officer in a blog post and has continued to appoint people into the position.
By mixing an executive position with a laser-like focus on the customer experience and encouraging that person to have fun with it, JetBlue not only conveys to its customers how much it values their patronage and makes being a customer a unique experience, it also sets the tone for every customer-facing employee in the company.
Appointing a Chief People Officer in our own companies is a great way to encourage more meaningful interactions with our customers and may inject a new level of fun as we challenge ourselves to follow the CPO’s lead. Let’s think about who would best fill the position within our own organizations. Who is the most friendly and creative? Who is the most spontaneous? Let’s give them the authority to find new ways to wow our customers and see how it affects our customers’ perceptions of our companies and how it supercharges our entire service teams.