Most truly customer-centric companies have people whose jobs it is to deeply understand one or more customer segments and to advocate for that group of customers within the firm. The customer segment might be high net worth customers, enterprise CIOs, inner city teens, first-time home buyers, breast cancer patients, or any target audience(s) that are important to your firm.
Customer advocates typically reside in a customer experience group. Customer segment managers often live in marketing.
If your firm does business through channel partners: financial advisors, real estate brokers, insurance agents, value-added resellers, and so on, you probably also have the equivalent of partner segment managers.
Partner segment managers usually report to the channel sales organization and/or marketing organization.
We recommend that you think about this important set of roles differently: Customer segment advocates should have operational responsibility to improve the customer experience for their target customers. Partner segment advocates should make it as easy as possible for a particular group of partners to support the customers they serve. When you get these two groups together—end customers in a given segment and the partners who serve them—you discover that they have common needs.
That’s why we recommend a somewhat radical “new” organizational structure for customer segment and partner segment advocates. Consider putting them in the same organization, reporting to operations, rather than to sales or marketing. You’ll find incredible synergies!
Customer (and Partner) Segment Advocates
Roles and Responsibilities You’ll Need for Your Customer-Centric Organization
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Sr. Consultant, September 15, 2011