Making the Jump from VP of Customer Success to Chief Customer Officer

This Article helps you understand the role, differentiate it from that of a CSM, and take deliberate steps towards your goal.


So, you've climbed the ladder to become a Vice President of Customer Success – kudos! But what if I told you there's a whole new summit to conquer? Meet the Chief Customer Officer (CCO), the visionary leader of customer-centricity within an organization. In this blog post, we'll explore how to make the leap from VP of Customer Success to CCO.


By the end of this article, you will:

► Understand the role of a Chief Customer Officer.

► Differentiate between the roles of a VP of Customer Success and a CCO.

► Learn practical steps to transition from VP of Customer Success to CCO.

What Does a Chief Customer Officer Do?

Before diving into the transition, let's clarify what a Chief Customer Officer does. The CCO is the North Star for everything customer-related within a company. They are the embodiment of customer-centricity, ensuring that the entire organization aligns with delivering exceptional customer experiences. Here's a glimpse of their responsibilities:

Strategic Vision: CCOs shape the customer strategy and vision for the company. They think long-term, focusing on how to create enduring customer value.

Cross-functional Leadership: CCOs bridge gaps between departments, encouraging collaboration to improve customer experiences. They're the glue that binds marketing, sales, support, and product teams.

Data-Driven Insights: Data is the CCO's best friend. They use it to uncover trends, anticipate customer needs, and drive decision-making.

Customer Advocacy: Advocacy programs, like customer advisory boards, often fall under the CCO's purview. They nurture strong relationships with key customers.

How Is This Role Different from VP of Customer Success?

Now that we know what a CCO does, let's distinguish it from the VP of Customer Success role you're familiar with. While both roles champion the customer, they operate at different altitudes:

Scope: A VP of Customer Success focuses primarily on post-sale customer interactions, ensuring customer satisfaction, retention, and growth. In contrast, a CCO takes a broader view, influencing the entire customer journey from acquisition to advocacy.

Cross-functional Leadership: While VPs of Customer Success collaborate with various teams, CCOs have a more strategic cross-functional role, impacting organizational culture and strategy at a higher level.

Customer Advocacy: VPs of Customer Success often engage in customer advocacy to some extent, but CCOs elevate this by driving comprehensive customer advocacy programs.

How to Transition from VP of Customer Success to CCO:

Ready to make the transition? Here are some practical steps to guide you:

Deepen Your Business Acumen: CCOs need a strong grasp of business strategy. Invest in learning about finance, marketing, and product development to understand how your role aligns with these functions.

Expand Your Network: Build relationships with executives and leaders from various departments. Effective cross-functional collaboration will be your superpower.

Master Data Analytics: Becoming data-savvy is essential. Invest in learning data analysis tools and techniques to make informed decisions.

Craft a Compelling Narrative: Your journey from VP to CCO should be a story of growth and evolution. Craft a narrative that highlights your experiences, skills, and passion for customer-centricity.

Seek a Mentor: Find a mentor who has experience in a CCO role or a similar leadership position. Their guidance can be invaluable.

Demonstrate Thought Leadership: Start sharing your insights and expertise on platforms like LinkedIn. Write articles, speak at conferences, and engage with the broader customer success community.

Our Personal Opinion:

Becoming a Chief Customer Officer is an exciting, challenging, and rewarding journey. It requires a broader perspective, strategic mindset, and a commitment to championing the customer across the entire organization.

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