Claire Burns is rising to the top ranks of customer Relevant Products/Services relationship management executives. The Chief Customer Officer Council has named Burns, a senior vice president of MetLife, as its 2014 Chief Customer Officer (CCO) of the Year.

The council's award recognizes the CCO who has made the greatest strides in improving customer relationships, driving profitable customer behavior, creating a customer-centric culture, and helping other customer-focused executives drive similar results. The award is presented each year at the Annual CCO Summit.

"I'm delighted to recognize Claire Burns and MetLife this year," said Curtis N. Bingham, founder and executive director of the CCO Council. "Claire has done a fantastic job of engaging customers in the creation of an enterprise Relevant Products/Services-wide customer strategy. She has clearly established ROI of customer centricity, created organizational accountability for improvement, and is sharing best practices around the world."

A Mission-Critical Role

A global provider of insurance and employee benefit programs, MetLife serves 90 million customers worldwide. As senior vice president of Customer Centricity, Burns is leading the company's efforts to enhance its focus on the customer.

"Successful senior-most customer executives engage the entire company in their mission to become customer centric as they seek to understand and meet customer needs," Bingham said. "In the case of Claire and MetLife, that endeavor touches millions of customers, agents, and partners across markets as diverse as those of the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Claire has set a powerful example for her company and her peers."

For its part, the CCO Council is working to elevate the role of the CCO in business Relevant Products/Services strategy, helping its members grow professionally, and most importantly, helping drive solid, customer-focused results in member organizations. Executives like Burns help its cause -- and the CCO Council isn’t the only organization taking notice. MetLife is also applauding Burns’ work.

A Customer-Driven Business

"Claire is changing how we do business. Her enthusiasm and dedication are infectious; her ability to connect with our people and customers is central to her success," said Michel Khalaf, president MetLife EMEA. "She cares passionately about providing all of our customers with the best possible experience."

Burns' entire career has been focused on driving growth through increased customer focus and loyalty. She was chief strategy officer at Alico, a subsidiary of AIG, where she helped create the Office of the Customer and attendant programs. At Aetna, she led efforts to re-engineer customer-facing processes. While at Lincoln Financial, she established customer metrics Relevant Products/Services as part of a balanced scorecard and led the design and delivery of customer retention strategies. Interestingly, she has also held positions in communications and publicity for Columbia Motion Pictures and U.S. Senator John McCain.

"Claire has made tremendous progress in propelling our customer-centric journey," said Deborah Krautheim, vice president of Global Brand & Marketing at MetLife. "She has rallied both senior executives and rank-and-file employees to 'walk in the customer's shoes' -- resulting in improved customer experience."

Congratulations to Burns on the award and especially for her achievements as an outstanding role model for other sales, marketing Relevant Products/Services and CRM Relevant Products/Services professionals.