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Who represents the face and voice of your customers?

My small group recently watched an interview with Catherine Rohr that was done as part of Willow Creek Community Church’s 2008 Leadership Summit.  This annual event is conducted via satellite so that thousands of leaders across North America have the opportunity to hear speakers and be challenged about the impact we can each have in our communities.  
 

Catherine is the CEO and founder of the nonprofit Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP). Under her leadership, the program recruits volunteer senior business executives who provide training, mentoring, and support to prison inmates. The participants (inmates) in this one-of-a-kind program have achieved a 98 percent employment rate and have launched 40 entrepreneurial businesses after leaving prison.   Also, the recidivism (my new husband’s favorite word of the year, big word for return-to-prison) rate for her prisoner students is single digits, whereas the national recidivism rate is above 60%.

In the video interview, Catherine demonstrates her ability to articulate the vision of the program and the benefits to the participants and community.  By recognizing the untapped potential of the inmates and providing them with the skills and training needed, their lives have been transformed.  She plays a critical role.  Catherine serves as a central voice and advocate for the PEP program; she leads the team of people committed to the success of the program; she ensures funds are raised and resources are available, she helps to establish PEP goals and objectives, tracks initiatives and ensures strategies implemented.  In a nutshell, Catherine helps to ensure the success of the program by fulfilling the requirements of her role. 

Catherine’s role is not really all that different than the role of the Customer Strategy Owner for your company’s customer advocate network.  This person: 

• is the central voice and advocate for the customer
• leads the team of people committed to the success of the customer program
• ensures resources are allocated for executing the customer program
• tracks customer driven initiatives across the organization
• and, works to see that the company’s objectives are established and customer strategies are implemented

Best-in-class customer management programs have a customer strategy owner role – do you have one on your team?

Kitty Connelly
Vice President, Client Service

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