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Interview with CCO, Nick Frunzi of Esri on the Role of the CX Leader

Stephanie Clarke
Posted by Stephanie Clarke Director of Content Marketing Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 12:52

Stephanie Clarke is the Director of Content Marketing at Quadient, responsible for developing and executing Quadient’s global content strategy. Stephanie has more than 14 years of experience in the software, technology and manufacturing industries. She has a proven track record for designing and implementing winning and profitable B2B marketing strategies for global technology brands. Stephanie holds a B.A. from Wilfred Laurier University. She is very active on LinkedIn and Twitter – please connect with her by clicking the icons above.

Customer Experience Update
Interview with CCO, Nick Frunzi of Esri on the Role of the CX Leader

As more and more products become commoditized, the key brand differentiator has become the customer experience.

And as a result, many organizations have made room for a new seat at the C-level boardroom table - the Customer Experience executive.

You’ve probably seen various titles for this C-level position, including Chief Customer Officer (CCO)Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCXO)Chief Experience Officer or Customer Experience Officer (CXO), etc. Don’t be confused by the alphabet soup; they all refer to the same role or position: The C-level executive who champions, or advocates for the customer and their needs throughout the organization. 

But what does this customer-focused leadership role entail, really? Does every organization need a CXO? And how do you know if your company needs one?

A eBook, authored by renowned customer experience expert Annette Franz, "Rise of the Customer Experience Executive" features interviews in which several global customer experience leaders share compelling insights into the challenges and opportunities they face as CX leaders, and where they see CX headed in the future. Here's a sneak peek of our interview with Nick Frunzi, Chief Customer Officer at Esri.

If you enjoy it, be sure to grab a complimentary copy of the eBook here.


Nick Frunzi

Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Esri

How did you land in your current role?
"I landed in the role when we determined we needed one. I had been managing Esri’s Customer Training and Technical Support operational units since 1999, so becoming the CCO was a natural role to add to my work.

In what state was the company’s customer focus when you took over the role?
"We were very customer focused, but irregular in that focus. I have often said that Esri is a company full of heroes who want to help customers be successful. What we lacked was repeatable processes."

Was there a CCO in place before you? If not, why now? What was the catalyst to hire you/fill this position?
"No, I’m the first. The catalyst was through conversations with a Digital Experience firm that made it clear that we would be better off as an organization if we had a CCO to help unify customer experience.

What was/has been your biggest challenge in the role? And how have you overcome it?
"My biggest challenge is that I’m an introvert, so one of my natural tendencies is not to consistently share what we’re doing as well as our successes. I would say I still have not entirely overcome this. The way I’ve mitigated it has, in fact, been one of my greatest accomplishments which I’ll discuss below."

What are critical success factors of the CCO role?
"There are several factors that I believe are critical to the success of this role. You must be part of the executive team and have a direct line to your CEO. You must get mindshare with your fellow executives so that when you want to move work forward you can have support and gather resources from their organization to design holistic solutions. You must work across the silos, leveraging their competitive advantages - and not try to destroy them."

What has/have been your greatest accomplishment(s)?
"My greatest accomplishment is enabling others to be successful in serving our customers. I have been able to bring understanding of the Customer Experience discipline to staff across our organization, enabling them to put the customer first and lead initiatives in their areas of business without my direction."

Against which KPIs are you measured?
"In general, we’re using CSAT, CES (customer effort score), and NPS as quantitative measures. We’d like to add revenue and retention data alongside these, but that is still a work in progress."

Any advice for future CCOs?
"You can’t do it all yourself. You must teach and empower others to do this work with and for you. Don’t be afraid of that, if you get the executive mindshare, educate colleagues, and make the customer essential to the DNA of your organization, you will work yourself out of a job.  If you do, consider yourself a tremendous success, and don’t worry; there will be plenty of other organizations that still need your help and guidance on this journey."

Want more to hear more? 

Download a complimentary copy of the ebook here.

Rise of CX