Who Owns the Customer Perspective?

Monday, November 10, 2014 - 13:55

I’m constantly asked the question: “Who should own the customer perspective? Marketing, sales or customer service?” Simply asking the question indicates there’s a problem. All of these business unit definitions are company-internal: a way to divvy up work, tasks, effort, manpower and budgets. Which means there may be an advantage for one or another internal group to “be the owner” of the customer perspective.  But from the customer’s perspective, marketing, sales and customer service simply do not exist.

Or at least, the distinctions are VERY blurry. There’s only a need to interact with an organization via the customer’s chosen touchpoints. At most it’s a brand identity. But it’s absolutely not a department!

In Chapter 13 of the book, we spend a lot of time talking about the kinds of participants needed to define a customer perspective for a given organization. It requires a variety of individuals from all those departments that “touch” the customer, and it’s only the sum total of their insight that allows the proverbial blind man to describe the elephant accurately.

When it comes to ownership, the best-case scenario is when it’s “owned” by the entire executive management team. A good example here would be Lichtblick, the 100% green energy provider in Germany: the management team there constantly uses the customer perspective to optimize customer-relevant processes and ensure that ALL the relevant departments are able to delight the customer.

So how do you do manage the customer's perspective in your organization? And who "owns" it (and exactly what does that mean?).   I would love to hear from you!