Customer Experience

Who Should Own the Customer Experience?

By Engage Hub expert 20 June 2018

There’s no question that customer experience (CX) is critical to business growth – 42% of consumers say they’d turn away from a brand after just 2 negative experiences. And in today’s competitive market, more than 50% of organisations are redirecting investment to customer experience innovations.

Shifting your organisation’s CX priorities involves digital, organisational (and in some cases cultural) change. And as with any change management exercise, there need to be clearly defined responsibilities to embed the changes.

But customer experience touches so many aspects of an organisation. So who should ‘own’ it to ensure maximum effectiveness? Here we look at the common choices.

Option 1: Customer services and the Customer Experience Manager

This is often the first choice for businesses looking to focus on CX because the services team (and by extension, the call centre) is the front line for customer interaction.

There are 2 key pitfalls with this approach, however. First of all, these interactions generally take place because a customer is having a problem with their experience. After all, if your experience with your bank was perfect, you wouldn’t need to call up for help with online banking or missing payments. As a result, this service/aftersales-driven approach to CX misses out a huge chunk of the customer journey.

The second issue is that customer service teams are generally busy firefighting, and many have issues dealing with the volume of enquiries. A recent report found that 62% of companies ignore customer service emails and only 20% are able to answer questions in full on the first reply. Leave customer service to drive CX and you risk compounding resource and capacity issues.

Option 2: Marketing and the CMO

According to a Marketo report, 90% of CMOs believe that they will be responsible for the whole customer experience by 2020. And it’s great that that marketing (and the C-suite) are taking the initiative here.

After all, marketing represents a huge portion of customer interaction – and is often the first touchpoint with your brand. Plus, marketers tend to be adept at using digital tools and data to optimise campaigns, which is a skill set that easily transfers across all stages of the customer experience.

Option 3: Sales and the Commercial Lead

The internet is full of blogs proclaiming the death of the traditional salesman. And there’s definitely truth to this given how much information and how many suppliers people can access at the click of a mouse.

Effective sales teams have definitely evolved to focus on more personalised relationships that align to specific customer wants and needs. And that requires leveraging a new degree of synergy between marketing and customer service. The best sales teams are now taking a more holistic look at the entire customer journey to leverage sales opportunities.

Option 4: Look beyond traditional departmental silos

When we look for a departmental ‘owner’ for CX, are we actually asking the wrong question? Given the overlap across teams, are you creating risk and missing opportunities if you don’t share the CX responsibility equally?

You can see a key indicator of this with HubSpot – a major proponent of the marketing funnel – now advocating what it calls its ‘flywheel’ approach, where sales, marketing and service surround the customer:

There’s no question that this inter-departmental approach is more challenging because it means process changes and data sharing that can seem harder to embed initially. But it pays dividends in terms of the revenue, loyalty and growth you get from CX improvements. And with the right data orchestration technology, the change management process is easier than you think – and can lead to greater operational efficiency.

If you’re truly committed to your customers and your staff, why not help teams work together, freeing up resources and processes to deliver the best experience?