To truly embrace a customer-centric business model, companies need to think bigger than just reformed marketing departments, programs and tactics.  What about Product Development, Store Operations, Customer Service or Finance, for example?  Doesn’t each of these departments play an important role in the customer’s experience with your brand?

Embraced throughout the entire organization, from top management to front-line employees, a successful customer-centric business model recognizes the long-term potential and impact of placing the customer at the center of every discussion and decision.

While there may be a lead authority for the customer, this individual or team should merely act as a guide and voice of the customer that resonates throughout the organization, rather than working independently from other departments.

One company that is well known for representing this philosophy is, an online shoe and apparel store that boasts on its website that “customer service isn’t just a department,” adding that they have “aligned the entire organization around one mission: to provide the best customer service possible.”

Another recognizable example is Southwest Airlines, which states its overarching mission as  “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride and Company Spirit.”

It’s one thing to talk the talk, but both these heavyweights back it up. was the highest-ranked company in a customer service study commissioned by StellaService last year, while Southwest came out on top in a Consumer Reports ranking of customer service among large airlines earlier this year.

Two different companies in two very different industries with thousands of employees focused on one common goal: putting the customer first to drive results.

So, who owns the customer in your company? Hopefully your answer is “everyone.”