How can CXO roles help our Social Impact sector scale, more sustainably? Insights from Kate Wheeler - Future Leadership

How can CXO roles help our Social Impact sector scale, more sustainably? Insights from Kate Wheeler

By Kate Wheeler

Kate leads the Fisher Leadership Social Impact team and is a renowned champion of a more sustainable Social sector.

 

For nearly two decades I have worked with many of Australia’s leading Social Impact organisations, seeking out and placing top talent in pivotal roles to build a better future for our society. True to form, the Social Impact sector tends to place humans first, but as I see the digital transformation taking place across the adjacent sectors of education, government, health, and of course the private sector, I feel compelled to raise my voice encouraging the Social Impact sector to leverage technology advancements in order to scale more sustainably.

How? Enter the Chief Experience Officer.

Social impact organisations, by nature interface with many stakeholders. Often sitting at the nexus of government, research and corporate partnerships, Not For Profit or For Impact brands are heavily reliant on communicating a strong message, delivering a meaningful experience, and advocating for change. Add to this a tight budget and the make-or-break nature of funding security, and suddenly the ability to optimise the stakeholder experience of the interaction becomes critical. The bottom line is this: a negative brand experience leads to stagnation and loss of market share. Whereas a positive experience leads to top-line growth.

Imagine if your organisation was able to harness the know-how of a brilliant CXO to build a seamless, cohesive, and data-driven experience of your brand for all stakeholders?

I recently worked with a leading social impact organisation in the mental health sector. Amongst a long list of roles sought, was a Director of Customer Experience. The talent pool we sourced proved to be an abundant, highly educated and refreshingly engaging group of leaders. The more I learned about the CX role, the more I understood the criticality of having a tech-savvy, change-manager working alongside all teams to bring quality and cohesion to the client, customer, employee, and community experience of a brand.

People today expect interactions to feel authentic and personal. Brought up on a diet of Netflix, Amazon and Uber, expectations for a seamless interaction are high. A brand experience can be easily sabotaged on one hand by having to fill in contact details again (!) and on the other, by the creepy feeling that a brand knows a little too much about you… Our communities want interactions to inform, but not dictate, future conversations.

What are the signs that you might want to consider a search for a CXO role in your organisation?

  1. Strategic decisions are made without customer data being intrinsically considered
  2. The customer journey is understood as a one-off engagement in the value chain
  3. Customers are actively listened to only when something goes wrong
  4. Personalisation is not embedded in the organisational technology stack
  5. There are no business metrics in place to measure customer service across the value chain.

Mike Gozzo, VP of Product at Zendesk stated in a recent report on the value of CX specialists, “So many rich conversations are happening with customers, yet this valuable context ends up being locked within a particular department and isn’t visible to others who could benefit from this information” (Zendesk, 2022).

Pro Bono recently released their strategic report for the Australian Not For Profit sector (Pro Bono, 2022). They note that current everchanging and economic environments are the biggest barriers to organisations achieving their strategic goals. Recruitment and retention of skilled, experienced people continue to be a challenge with 76 per cent of organisations having a turnover rate of higher than 11 per cent over the past two years. More than 20 per cent of participants said that loss of reputation was the biggest risk to their organisation and two-thirds of organisations were looking at new partnerships in 2022 or 2023.

The work of a CXO is about capturing the entire experience—from when a person first engages with a business, visits a website, is onboarded as an employee, or even walks into a meeting room. From this point on, the conversation with the person engaging with your brand should be ongoing, and able to be picked up at any time.

The reality for the social impact sector is that Business-As-Usual is already a thing of the past. Future Leaders in the sector are competing on the quality, cohesion and consistency of the experience they can offer all stakeholders.

Our talent data tells us that the Australian CX leader landscape has nearly 2.5K people, 20% of whom have changed roles in the past year. A tiny percentage of these professionals are currently engaged in the Social Impact sector. Is it time to re-experience your own brand with a CXO?

Get in touch to learn more about tapping into our active pools of CXO talent.

For nearly two decades I have worked with many of Australia’s leading Social Impact organisations, seeking out and placing top talent in pivotal roles to build a better future for our society. After the impacts of COVID-19, organisations in the sector are rethinking the sustainability of their operating models. I believe you should consider embedding a Chief Experience Officer to amplify your revenue growth, customer attraction, and talent retention strategy. Contact me to appoint a Chief Experience Officer to your leadership team.

Kate Wheeler

Partner, Social Impact Practice, Fisher Leadership Executive Search


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