You've seen the show "Undercover Boss" by now, right? The premise is simple, but brilliant: Ask senior executives to go "undercover" within their own companies as frontline employees to investigate how their company is really doing and how they might improve and better satisfy their customers.

The executives get an up-close-and-personal look at how their company does business with customers—and what that customer experience looks like. From tip to toe.

As I watch the show, I'm constantly thinking: All CMOs should go through this experience. Why? So they can get a better handle on the customer experience their company fosters—from the eyes of the frontlines.

Many CMOs try to get at customer experience effectiveness by looking through a marketing lens. That's great, you'll get oodles of important information that way. But you won't get a look at the complete customer experience—and that's what CMOs need to see in this competitive business climate.

After all, they're sitting at the table with the CEO, CFO, CIO, and other C-level leaders. They need to know how the business is doing—not just how the marketing department is performing.

Since CMOs often struggle with this notion, here are four outside-the-box ideas to get a better handle on your company's customer experience.

1. Ask your product managers to answer one simple question

What are your customers able to do differently or better because of your product/service?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Linda Ireland

Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner at Aveus, a global strategy and operational change firm. Linda's book, Domino, covers how leaders can define customer experience and use it to tip everything in a business toward better financial performance.

Twitter: @LindaIreland

LinkedIn: Linda Ireland