The Customer Department

Value Creation is all about how it impacts CEO thinking on short term vs long term, and how he can add value to customers, employees, and build the Value Creation principles in departments in the company. We have talked about creating value in training, in leadership and in making the customer your partner and making him your ambassador. We have suggested to the CEO to change the focus of departments such as HR and IT to become customer focused and become line managers. We have dwelt upon reducing the focus of executives on routine tasks and concentrate on important value creation jobs, instead “outsource” routine work.We have talked about the future, self-tuning companies and agility, adaptation and ambidextrousness, moving from selling to customers to becoming his buying aide.

CEO’s must have a Value Creation strategy in order to implement all of these. This includes many of the steps mentioned above.

One major step is to change your companies and which should be part of your strategy is to break silos and make the customer the focus of all departments, and make the customer experience seamless.

If companies truly wish to give the Customer his deserved place in the company, they have to start a Customer Department. This department will have all functions that are necessary for and/or relevant to the Customer. The functions include product development and products, manufacturing delivery and delivery chain, supply chain, IT and even manufacturing.

Thus instead of having an operations department headed by a COO we should have a Customer Department headed by a Chief Customer Officer or a Chief Customer Value Creator (CVCO)

Why is a Customer Department needed?

First to break silos and unnecessary demarcations in companies where the convenience of the company comes ahead of the convenience of the Customer (let’s say the delivery departments focus is on cost cutting and not on working out methods to suit the customer)

Second to have one point of control for the Customer

Customer reporting: the Value we added to the Customer, and his value to us. Have these gone up?

No more billing goof ups at the finance department

A proper and dynamic customer strategy

Customer Improvement programs

Promises and procedures to ensure the Customer’s Bill of Rights is honoured

Seamless delivery

Service Department

Customer relation problem to solve customer problems

How will the Customer Department function?

It needs one COO type of coordinator or manager, who should be called the Chief Customer Officer or a Chief Customer Value Creator (CVCO).

Non customer related work (like tax, treasury, employee information such as leave due, leave taken, attendance, functional training like finance for non-financial mangers) are not part of the Customer Department

The COO acts as the Chief Customer Officer or the CVCO, whose role is to ensure that Customer tasks are divided within the Customer Department, and the departments become Customeric. Executives are taught to focus on the Customer and his needs. Continuous Customer improvement programs are put into place. The COO ensures that the Customer comes first and divides the department and thereby the company. Employee Value Creation programs are started.

The COO or CVCO reports Customer scores along with why scores are improving or not, and to correlate with market share and profits.

The CEO focuses on the Customer Department and non-Customer Departments and reports Customer and financial data to the Board. The CEO assigns key performance indicators and customer score driven bonuses.

I am curious how many feel this will help make the company more customeric.

Gautam Mahajan

Founding Editor, Journal of Creating Value

President-Customer Value Foundation
M: +91 9810060368
Tel: 11-26831226, Fax: 11-26929055

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value

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One Comment on “The Customer Department”

  1. Cynthia Y. Says:

    This is a great piece, but in a non manufacturing industry say a service industry (e.g a financial institution,) with more departmental functions it could get more complex, trying to get everyone to tow the customer centric line. We could add that the department gets partly involved with discussions on performance monitoring to make
    KPIs dependent on excellent delivery of customer service.

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