Who’s Leading Customer Experience Efforts?

We asked large companies if they had a senior executive in charge of their customer experience efforts across the company. It turns out that 62% of our respondents have one of these leaders in place…

We also asked about the organization that is leading their customer experience efforts. The largest group driving these efforts, at 38%, is a dedicated customer experience organization. Marketing and customer service were next on the list…

The bottom line: Customer experience is a real “function”

About Bruce Temkin
I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, marketing, interaction design, customer service, and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

9 Responses to Who’s Leading Customer Experience Efforts?

  1. Ray Brown says:

    Hi Bruce I think customer experience is a great phrase but it still feels like an “outcome” to me. As to it being a function I’m not sure. You can do sales, accounting, marketing, HR but does it makes sense to say you “do”customer experience. I’m afraid that we could be in danger of going down the CRM hole i.e. one phrase for two distinct concepts.

  2. Having a “Customer Experience Group” or Department reminds me of “Innovation Group” or SVP Innovation at a bank. Many banks in Australia have these departments – have we ever seen innovation from these banks – only in their own mind to win at the own “bank club” award nights! That’s the danger.

    On the other hand when something is new and it requires both a champion and training then some focal point, as a transition phase, is very helpful. I’m thinking social media as well as customer experience, for example. Although I’m not sure why many firms would suddenly “discover” customer experience, whereas social media is a relatively new challenge to bring into the customer experience mix.

    Walter Adamson @g2m

    http://xeesm.com/walter

  3. Eric Jacques says:

    Great point Ray! However, I think Beruce is simply pointing out the results of the survey.
    It demonstrates that companies are still confusing function and outcome and they still believe that they can control it.
    Cheers
    Eric

  4. Eric Jacques says:

    To clarify the question of whether customer experience is an outcome or a business function (re: Twitter discussion with @wimrampen and @deliverbliss) I’m adding my position.

    Customer experience is an outcome.

    However, customer experience management (CEM) may be a business function.

    Companies can influence the customer experience outcome by implementing customer experience management. But the customer experience itself is an outcome.

    We really shouldn’t try to change the meaning of words based on what we want them to mean. The customer experience can be positive or negative. Refer to my post from a few weeks ago for more – http://ericjacques.org/2010/05/22/what-is-customer-experience/

    Cheers
    Eric

  5. Tim Sanchez says:

    Everything is a function AND an outcome. Yes, you “do” accounting, sales, marketing, etc, but HOW you do them creates the outcome.

    Do your accounting poorly and the IRS will come knocking. Do your sales and marketing poorly and you’ll starve for new customers. Do your HR poorly and you’ll lose your best talent and be unable to hire new talent.

    The same is true with customer experience. You can choose to make customer experience a function within your company and thus steer, improve, and measure the eventual outcome, or you can choose to ignore it and let the outcome have large variations (some really good, some really bad, most very mediocre).

    Take Apple, for example. The Apple Store customer experience has been meticulously designed from beginning to end.
    The entry into the store, the greeting, the hands-on with products, the employee help, the purchase/checkout, the exit from the store, the unboxing of the product, and the post-support have all been designed, measured and improved in order to create the best possible experience. Repeat visits into the store (or with their products or online) lead to a positive momentum that can (and do) create extreme brand loyalty.

    Perhaps Bruce can chime in here with some insight and experiences.

    • Kancha says:

      WHAT are the experiences your customers have ?

      WHERE is improvement needed ?

      HOW can this be brought about ?

      WHO is responsible for making it happen ?

      I agree with Tim

  6. I think given the appropriate context CE could probably be justified as either an outcome or a business function. In fact with enough context, it could be many things.

    However, the issue lies in it being BOTH. For example – if management determines that “Customer Experience needs to be improved”. Does this mean the process or the outcome? It could mean refining the process or improving the outcome – two very different undertakings.

    Having clear and specific terminology for both the practice and the outcome will lead to greater understanding, less confusion and greater efficiency. There is already enough confusion (in the Customer Management Space) around reorganising company structures, technology, the development of new skills and shifting KPI’s. Lets avoid adding terminology that has multiple meanings to the picture.

    Tim
    http://www.ClienteerHub.com
    @trmcdougall

  7. Eric Jacques says:

    I agree Tim McDougall and that’s why I respectfully disagree with Tim Sanchez and Kancha.

    As I replied to Tim S. on my blog, the customer experience per se exists whether you manage it or not. And, we all know that many companies simply don’t manage it, leading to the variations that Tim S. mentioned.

    As Tim M. mentioned, there’s already enough confusion. Let’s not give multiple meanings to a simple expression.

    Cheers!
    Eric

  8. Kancha says:

    perhaps its worth looking at this from a customer perspective

    organisations don’t have customer experiences. customers do.
    (unless organisations are themselves being customers)

    this is all about monitoring and improving the quality of experience an organisation offers its customers at a particular place and time

    would anyone dispute the need to manage (or measure) product or service quality ?

    the quality of an individual customer’s experience is the outcome of a complex interaction of policies, processes and capabilities.

    I note Bruce describes himself as a Customer Experience Transformist.

    this suggests the really important question is how to go about transforming the quality of the experience the organisation offers each of its customers

    what do we want to do ?
    improve the quality of experience we offer our customers

    how do we want to do this ?

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