WHO OWNS THE CUSTOMER?
Is it marketing? Is it customer service? Is it customer experience? (assuming there is even a customer-experience department in the first place)? Is it John, the CMO, or Jane, the assistant store manager who helped you out the last time you were in a pickle?
In Join the Conversation, I introduced the notion—and rise—of a conversation department and a chief conversation officer to run it. I’m still waiting. As Life after the 30-Second Spot taught me, change almost always takes longer than we think possible. Most companies are still on the outside, looking in on their customers’ lives—at least when it comes to joining the conversation. Par for the course seems to be superficial monitoring with negligible or anemic follow-through; listening strategies are still—for the most part—anomalies.
Progress is slow, but perhaps your competitors’ red flag or amber caution is your green light. Perhaps that’s your cue and opportunity to be out there—in front. That’s why they call it leadership.
My call for a conversation department and a chief conversation officer was perhaps a little ahead of its time. It still is. Establishing a specific capability and group to oversee all forms of conversation—whether they are customer, consumer, channel, journalist, influencer, or content creator-based—may yet be just around the corner; or it might be a generation away. Or perhaps this kind of department will be completely unnecessary due to the advances (being) made in the customer-experience ...