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Date: 31/07/2017

Customer Experience is high on the agenda at many businesses currently. The transparency and ease of access across the whole spectrum of B2C and B2B is bringing to question the extent of focus on customer centricity; and where responsibility should lie.

In 2015 John Lewis extended marketing boss Craig Inglis’ job to cover end-to-end customer experience, as well as marketing and insight. He further saw his job title changed to customer director. Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Asda, EasyJet, Dixons Carphone and BA have all recently embraced the changed emphasis of customer experience with customer directors, customer experience directors and chief customer officer’s (CCOs).

Of course, it is not just about marketing. The link between employee engagement and customer experience has long been known – though perhaps has not always been fully executed. In 2014 Questback highlighted that whilst these 2 areas – CX and EE – regularly lead lists of CEO priorities, 64% of organisations reported the fact that they failed to integrate feedback across these 2 areas. Though in some quarters things seem to be moving on…

An article in Marketing Week in June this year highlights the fact that“ as structural transformation takes hold and businesses abandon silo working in favour of cross functional collaboration, the relationship between marketing and HR is becoming closer than ever”– helping to define brand identity and to create a real customer centric culture across the business. This is a view reiterated by Catherine Austin, the HR and Marketing director at Pizza Hut, who believes “there are many transferable skills across the two roles, which when combined help create a strong brand that is firmly reflective of internal culture.” Of course, many smaller businesses within our region will know this; with HR and marketing often being combined. Whether customer experience is figuring strongly within this, and the brand is strengthening as a result – are both points that are potentially open to debate.

Taking the brand point further, Charlotte Rogers writing in Marketing Week in June 2017 raises the point that businesses are increasingly using customer experience to differentiate their brand – yet 30% of senior leaders are confused about who should take ownership of it! She further reports that research by Calabrio found that less than 30% of respondents’ companies believe that customer experience across all their channels is anything more than satisfactory. This is despite the fact that 50% of senior leaders say customer experience is the most important way to differentiate their brand…
And then there is IT! Often excluded from customer experience strategy planning, IT is the area that is – for many organisations – the beating heart of customer experience insight. Indeed, Mike Hoban, the marketing director at Thomas Cook, talks of “marketers being overtaken by IT departments; if they don’t step up to the mark customer experience wise.”
So who really should be in charge of customer experience? Essentially, the consensus should be that the senior team – the C suite – should be leading and driving CX strategy. This is apparent in businesses both large and small… But, as Chahal (2016) points out “rigid strategies that don’t focus on the future, restructures that fail to overcome silos and staff who are not empowered, are hindering businesses joining up to deliver differentiated customer experiences.”  Beyond Now the UK based CX consultancy see the C suite taking the leadership role in CX; and HR and marketing becoming much more joined up.
Based in Pershore, Gary Martin Cook is a well-established strategy consultant and facilitator who has worked with some of the top global organisations as well as many SMEs, to find out more please visit:

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Gary Cook


Gary has more than 30 years experience of designing and delivering individually focused consulting and executive development interventions for clients, Business Schools and Consulting Companies. Gary represents a professional and reliable resource that you can trust to deliver the values of your brand and the expectations of stakeholders.

Gary's subject areas of expertise range across a number of aspects of business and management. A primary focus on corporate and business strategy, strategic marketing through to operations management and leadership abd change. Gary is able to deliver depth and breadth - according to specific client requirements.


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