Who is responsible for customer experience?

I was having a coffee with an old friend earlier this week. We talked about recent experiences we’d had as customers, and as we got more vexed, he asked me a great question – who is responsible for customer experience in an organisation?


Knowing him of old, I knew that this was a loaded question. The answer’s not as obvious as you might think. Let’s explore why.


The answer isn’t everyone.


You’re probably thinking, “well, it’s everyone’s responsibility surely?”. And you’d be partly right. However, how many times have you dealt with a company that’s promised the earth and then failed to deliver? I’d wager it’s a lot.


Why does that happen?


There are a number of reasons why a company over-promises and under-delivers. These include:


  1. No clear vision for customer experience. What’s the core purpose of the organisation? If they’re not clear, or it’s not about serving customers, then it’s a recipe for failure.
  2. Poor communication. You need to engage your team with a powerful purpose and vision, otherwise it’s always just going to be a job for them. And when it’s just a job, people rarely care. So find ways to tell them, and share the stories that sit behind your brand and what it stands for. It’s hard to deliver a great experience when you don’t know why you’re doing it or you don’t know what’s going on.
  3. Not treating people well. Even with the best vision, if you don’t treat your people well, then they’re not going to be motivated to deliver. Successful companies like John Lewis treat their people well. They make their people feel valued, and when that happens your customers can look forward to a great experience.
  4. Not having a clearly defined customer journey map. Without this, you’re leaving things to chance and your team won’t have any structure to follow. This leads to inconsistent delivery and the odds are high that customers won’t get a good experience.
  5. Training not provided. You can’t just expect people to know what to do. Even with a clear vision, and a well designed customer journey, it can still all fall down if people aren’t given the tolls they need to do the job.


So whilst everyone in your business has a role to play in delivering a great customer experience, ultimately the responsibility sits with the business owner.


Who is responsible for customer experience in your organisation?