This Harvard Business Review article (subscription necessary) makes a strong case for companies to create customer strategy departments and positions. One section of the article focuses on “Customer-facing functions” and makes some great recommendations:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) responsibility should migrate away from corporate IT and into the customer strategy department since CRM helps companies assess customers needs and wants and that’s the role of customer strategists
- Market research should break-out of the marketing department silo and extend to all departments and focus bilaterally on the aggregate and the individual (for example, creating customer profiles as espoused in the book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR) with a singular focus on customer for life (CLV) and customer equity metrics to measure success (here’s a sample lifetime value of a customer analysis from the Database Marketing Institute that will help you begin thinking about CLV metrics
- Customer strategists should drive the product development process rather than the engineers; the article notes that NOKIA launched NOKIA Beta Labs in Asia and enjoys 60% market share there because, in part, this developer community helps drive the product development process, whereas in the U.S. Nokia pursued a different strategy that has far less consumer input and has suffered
Voice of the customer is not a new concept in product design and development. It’s sure refreshing to see HBR tackle this issue. What’s your view of creating a customer strategist role in a company?