A study into priorities driving marketing decisions, conducted by Vanson Bourne, has found more than two-thirds of marketers believe their organisation needs a chief customer officer (CCO).

The study, conducted at the behest of SPSS (an IBM company), found 66% of those surveyed understood the value a CCO could bring to an organisation, 39% believed the CCO should be based within the marketing department and 25% stated the CCO should be at board level.

The research suggests the CCO’s priority should be customer service rather than retention and acquisition. 

“Although attracting, retaining and growing customers are the key priorities for marketers, they see the recruitment of a CCO, with a customer service oriented role, as a natural next step to heighten the organisation’s customer strategy. Our research shows that marketers in larger organisations understand the importance of a CCO but are slower to recruit one,” said Colin Shearer, senior vice president of strategic analytics, SPSS.

Of businesses employing up to 1,000 employees 27% are planning to recruit a CCO within 12 months. However, of organisations with over 3,000 employees only 12% intended to fill the position in the next year. More than half of those surveyed have already employed a CCO.

“By definition a CCO offers in-depth customer insight to drive customer strategy that feeds the rest of the business. With direct ROI being a key focus point for organisations in today’s challenging economy, it is possible that a CCO may be seen as an unnecessary expense currently. While financial accountability is important, customer service and retention are increasingly vital in delivering return on investment and preparing to be ahead of the game for the imminent recovery,” added Shearer