Customer experience: Who’s in charge here?


Share on LinkedIn

Imagine a scenario where you walk into a room, an office or a business and see a hive of activity. You are keen to resolve a customer experience problem or have a question answered so you ask: “Who’s in charge here?”

One person steps forward, raises their hand, identifies themselves as the CEO and says “I am.”

However, many of the group that are standing behind her shake their heads and either point to themselves, or various other colleagues, to suggest that they are the ones who are, in fact, in charge of customer experience.

That’s a troubling conclusion that has emerged from a new research report, published in late June, from Genesys in conjunction with The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) called “The Value Of Experience.” The report through interviews with 516 senior level executives across 21 countries explores the impact of customer experience efforts and leadership on business performance.

The headline finding of the study showed was that there is a direct correlation between customer experience and profitability and CEO engagement. In fact, when CEOs are in charge of customer experience initiatives:

  • 58% of all companies surveyed reported higher profitability than their competitors; and
  • 59% experience better revenue growth as a result of prioritizing customer experience investments.

However, digging into the results there is a very noticeable discrepancy between who CEOs think is in charge of customer experience initiatives and what their colleagues and reports say. The study found that whilst 72% of CEOs consider themselves in charge of leading customer experience transformation initiatives, only 27% of their colleagues believe this is the case.

Now, it may be natural for all CEOs to consider themselves in charge of, or responsible for, everything that goes on in their company. But, the survey goes on to uncover further discrepancies in alignment with respect to customer experience initiatives through a cross-functional analysis. The report found that whilst:

  • 32% of respondents in IT believe that their CIO (Chief Information Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives only 5% of their colleagues in sales, marketing and general management agree;
  • 35% of those in sales and marketing believe that their CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives only 13% in general management and 6% in operations and production agree; and
  • 19% of operations and production executives believe that that their COO (Chief Operations Officer) is in charge of customer experience transformation initiatives only 4% and 5% of their colleagues in sales and marketing and IT respectively agree.

This may not be a significant problem, or a problem that has manifested itself as yet, as around 80% of all respondents in the survey didn’t perceive a problem with the lack of leadership or organisational structure when it comes to customer experience initiatives. However, to leverage the clear link between the CEO being in charge and company profitability and to pre-empt any future problems, brands should clear up any organisational ‘grey’ areas when it comes to customer experience transformation initiatives and put the CEO in charge.


This post was originally published on my column here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


  1. Hi Adrian

    The Genesys/EIU survey’s findings that there is a ‘direct correlation between customer experience, profitability and CEO engagement’ is just that, a correlation. It is not a causal relationship. Rather than suggesting that the CEO must therefore be in charge of experience transformation, surely, that other CXOs also consider themselves to be just as responsible actually suggests that the CEO and CXOs must collaborate to identify the roles they respectively play in transformation. Transformation is, if anything a team game.

    The survey’s findings that different CXOs have different perspectives of transformation is absolutely normal in most large organisational transformations. I remember a discussion with David Rance of Round – the original customer-centricity company – about the results from his Customer-Centricity Audit. In practically all the companies audited, different CXOs had often very different perspectives on what a transformation was, the organisation’s current capabilities, the degree to which they need to be transformed and their role in driving the transformation. Successfully transforming the corporation is much more abut CXO collaboration than it is about the CEO being in sole charge.

    Graham Hill

  2. Hi Graham.
    Thank you for that particularly the insight from David Rance at Round. I agree that collaboration is key but would add one more element and that is alignment. Maybe that’s the best role for the CEO….to make sure everyone is aligned.



Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here