Who is in charge of Customer Experience in a company?
Everybody is in charge of Customers’ Experience in a company! ‘Customer Experience’ has to be an enterprise vision, ambition and effort.
And with that generic but clear statement I could close the article already. 🙂
On the other hand, in reality, with the typical challenges of more or less complex organizations, I think the general statement deserves some more flesh to the bone …
Is ‘Marketing’ in charge of CX?
Typically, strategic CX leadership as well as any CX function will be homed in the commercial business unit of a company, e.g. in the ‘commercial excellence’ department. Some industries are not limited to that option (e.g. in pharma). But it generally makes sense to have CX co-located with the overall strategic planning to ensure an integrated and aligned approach.
The challenge with this practice is that CX might be internally perceived as “commercial” (only) and limited to the marketing & sales focus and activities. Especially in my branch of business, the pharmaceutical industry, this is a known derailment risk for enterprise-wide CX acceptance and adoption.
To overcome those (and other potential culture-bound) obstacles for a broader acceptance of CX across the organization, ‘marketing’, ‘commercial excellence’ or similar functions cannot be the only CX owner. If done smartly, they have the unique chance if not responsibility to lead the way, to inflame the whole company. But they should aim at co-ownership and a broader understanding of CX as a joint enterprise approach.
Are product teams in charge of CX?
In reality, most of day-to-day CX implementation will happen in the context of a product respectively the corresponding customer need. On the other hand, there are above-brand – or perhaps better: product spanning – aspects of CX. I am particularly thinking of consistency of experiences with the company. Plus, CX can reveal opportunities for new products and/or services which might go beyond the standard scope.
CX will fail without having full buy-in, support and enthusiasm of the product teams. But product teams alone cannot own CX, as the required enterprise approach goes beyond single products.
Is a dedicated CX team/function in charge of CX?
I fully understand that some organizations are tempted to “outsource” CX to a dedicated function. You give it to the experts, who know best what needs to be done, and who are mandated to get it done. The only issue is … CX doesn’t work like that and doesn’t make sense standalone.
Don’t get it wrong. You can really be happy in case you do have a well-versed CX team. I promise you that they will be a true asset, making things easier and quicker. But even the dedicated function cannot alone be in charge of CX and achieve the changes which might be required across the organization. BTW, for internal acceptance of your CX experts, you might want to consider being clear that their mission is to provide an integrated CX facilitation with business teams. And not vice versa. Being an additional support, not additional burden.
However, a CX function/team can be an internal facilitator, a guide, an inspirator, a driver, a supporting resource. But they will never be the (one and only) owner.
Is IT in charge of CX?
Without any doubt, a lot of the success of your CX framework will depend on the capabilities and value provided by IT colleagues. They need to contribute technology, access to data and innovative solutions. And their increased efforts towards improved UX (user experience with tools & interfaces) as well as consistent customer experiences across digital touchpoints are key contributions to the enterprise ambition.
But can IT own CX? I am afraid to say … no guys, sorry. Surely, it won’t work without you, full stop. But I think it is evident that CX should not be primarily driven by technology.
Is top level management in charge of CX?
Every successful strategic change needs management buy-in and active support. CX is no exception to this rule. So, yes, (top level) management is responsibly contributing to the success of a CX strategy by strongly supporting, emphasizing the priority and continuously calling to contribute to the enterprise-wide effort.
Does management alone own CX … certainly not.
So … who is in charge? Who has the mandate? Who owns CX?
All do, together! It cannot be “outsourced”, neither to a vendor nor to any internal function. No one can claim to have the one-and-only mandate for CX in the company. Sorry. This is just not how it works. And if your CX didn’t get full traction so far, this might be the first thing to check.
All employees need to own the CX vision, ambition & strategy to make it a success. All have the mandate to contribute to a joint effort. All are in charge of CX!