Give Customer Experience Leaders Authority as well as Responsibility


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In Part 3 of the Handbook, What Roles You’ll Need to Implement Your Strategy, Patty stresses the importance of making sure that the role (or roles) that lead the customer experience charge has clout in your organization. Her suggestions for a new customer-centric organizational structure include:

1. Put Your Top Execs in Charge of Customer Experience Governance

2. Give Customer Segment Owners P&L Responsibility

3. Nurture Customer Communities by Customer Segment

4. Drive Company-wide Priorities based on Customer-critical Issues ACROSS Segments

Sound advice. But many organizations have already put people and projects in place that don’t necessarily follow these guidelines.

In our experience with client projects, the most successful co-design and customer innovation initiatives always have high-level executive support. But in those projects that die on the vine (before even getting started) or get stalled after a promising start, the person given the mandate to improve the customer experience is lower down on the corporate totem pole, and doesn’t have the unfailing support of the powers that be.

Customer-Centric Initiatives that Never Happen

Getting a customer experience initiative off the ground requires proper scoping of the project and defining valued deliverables, all of which requires deep and thoughtful listening to the sponsor’s requirements and ultimate goals. However, a well conceived project doesn’t necessarily get approved. This is especially true when the sponsor is below the VP level and isn’t responsible for a line of business with the associated P&L. Typically, someone at the C level recognizes that the company should be doing some customer experience programs, and puts the onus on a VP level exec to figure out how to make that happen. The VP looks for someone to take ownership, and often turns to someone at mid level in marketing, who either doesn’t have other specific responsibilities but is a good worker, or someone who has a lot of responsibilities, but makes things happen.

Unfortunately, by the time this customer-experience program leader gathers all the information on what type of project can be done and can be successful, the senior executive has moved on to other priorities and is loath to commit any significant budget to the initiative.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ronni Marshak
Patricia Seybold Group
Ronni Marshak co-developed Patricia Seybold Group's Customer Scenario® Mapping (CSM) methodology with Patricia Seybold and PSGroup's customers. She runs the CSM methodology practice, including training, certification, and licensing. She identifies, codifies, and updates the recurring patterns in customers' ideal scenarios, customers' moments of truth, and customer metrics that she discovers across hundreds of customer co-design sessions.


  1. Great article and right on the money. So many companies come up with grand ideas to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty and then fail to follow through. Front-line staff and managers need to be empowered to effect the necessary changes. This article ( makes the case for empowering employees to apply some commonsense to rules that impede success.


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