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Who Owns The Customer In An Org?

Updated: Feb 28

CX permeates almost all parts of a typical Organisation. A crucial decision for CEO’s and Leadership Teams is to agree on where the ownership of the customer would sit.

Quiz- Who in your organisation owns the entirety of your customers; experience?

Is it –

a. The people in customer service

b. Folks in Marketing

c. Data and Insights Team

d. None of the above!

e. All of the above!

Chances are, nobody in the organisation, sees the entirety of the experience!

The traditional functions of Service & Ops, Marketing, Sales and Distribution typically manage the highest volume engagement with customers and play vital roles in enabling consumer relationships. Marketing has traditionally managed “customer Pull” whereas Sa;es teams have been driving “customer Push” strategies. Sometimes these align, sometimes they don’t! To top it, customer service is usually responsible for experience of customers are multiple touch-points like the app, website, call centre (voice, chat, messages etc).

In an NPS conversation with the CX head of a leading bank (the CX head reports to COO in that structure),- he had access to customer verbatim data from the call centre, but when it came to measuring brand voice in social listening – his answer was – “that’s not my job. The marketing guys have to set that up”. This is ironical, isn’t it? Is the customer voice complete without either/ both data sets? No.

Hence placing the customer ownership in any of these so-called line functions of sales, marketing, service - is only a fraction of the entire picture, since the others are equally important stakeholders as well. And even so, is this sufficient?

What about the newer age functions like IT and Digital that are increasingly playing a leading role in digitising customer journeys, creating online transactions, and selecting apt tools and technology to address customer concerns. They job is to select tools to fulfill customer expectations. Do they even understand it well enough before they invest in technology and projects?

Data and Analytics teams work entirely on data democratisation and insight mapping to generate actionable projects to enhance revenue with customers or lead to retention and lifetime value. Do they appreciate minute nuances of customer qualitative insights as they work through gigabytes of data to churn quantitative information and convert them into actions for front line teams.

Clearly there is a challenge in terms of multiple stakeholders from both classic and new age functions. To top it, there could be issues wrt collaboration between them since priorities are not always aligned. In some organisation cultures, it might even become a tall order to have cross-functional teams work cohesively., due to a silo-ed culture.

There is also the question of requisite skill sets being available to own something as vast as CX. In the foreseeable future of work, there could be new capabilities like Design thinking, Agile management, UX/UI approach to product design, use of upcoming technology like AI, ML, RPA, Block-Chain, IOT, AR/VR which are very potent weapons to transform CX.

Then there is the question of Innovation itself - which is so pertinent to re-imagine and remain relevant to customers at all times. Who owns innovation? Who deploys innovation for customers?

There is no simple answer to this and the solutions could be very different based upon the type of category or business, its scale, ambition and maturity. Some evolved organizations have now created CX vertical heads or in some cases, CoE (center of excellence), that cut across all functional lines and take important decisions.

Another good recommendation would be to create cross-functional alignment and set up a governance process such that the ownership lies at the very top of the rung, in the leadership team. Then set a charter in line with the CX strategy and roadmap, while mobilising capabilities across teams to deliver the goods.

This might sound like a simplistic question, but is a very important debate to have, internally. Owning the customer, building the intent and managing the lifecycle, cutting through the rungs of the organisation (vertically, horizontally and laterally) is absolutely critical to get a full view of and create delightful experiences.


If you think this post was helpful, then check out the upcoming CX trends. So, that your innovation department can innovate around them to elevate your business.

Also, if you need any help regarding your business’ customer experience connect with us anytime at or call us at +91 9599496661.

You can also listen to us on our C-Xcel podcast!

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