Executives say customer experience top priority to spur growth in 2020

16 December 2019 Consulting.us 2 min. read
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Customer experience (CX) was identified as the top strategic priority for driving growth in 2020, according to a North Highland survey of 700 senior business leaders in US and UK companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenues.

Forty-five percent of surveyed executives across ten industries expect revenues to increase by 5% or more next year.

The other highest-ranked growth engines were operational efficiency (85%), data & analytics (81%), product/service innovation (78%) and digital capabilities (78%).

Though 87% of leaders tagged CX as the top growth engine, only one-in-three said they feel very prepared to address the crucial area.

According to the management consultancy’s 2020 Beacon report, continued challenges around CX largely stem from missed workforce opportunities. Employee experience (EX) is a key driver of customer experience, but is a blind spot for many leaders. Sixty-five percent cited EX as priority (vs. 87% for CX), and only 33% consider EX a transformation area (vs. 50% for CX).

Executives say customer experience top priority to spur growth in 2020

The report highlights that customer-led transformation starts with the workforce, and the way organizations organize and engage their employees influences the success of CX initiatives.

First off, customer-led transformations require talent and skills to drive the initiative, and 72% leaders unsurprisingly tag skills shortage as the most prevalent barrier to addressing strategic priorities.

Team design is also imperative. North Highland recommends a cross-functional focus, with fluid data sharing and collaboration on solutions and customer-oriented KPIs. Fifty-eight percent of leaders said cross-functional collaboration was the most important factor in configuring teams for transformation.

Alignment is another key factor, because effective transformations require a clear CX vision and strategy that is well-communicated to employees.

Data & analytics (D&A) is critical as well, and all employees should be equipped with a “single source of data truth” and visualization tools, according to the report. Eighty-one percent of business leaders cited D&A as a strategic priority, but only 28% felt very prepared to address it.

"While we continue to see optimism for growth, executives are recognizing that their efforts to differentiate from the competition through better customer experience haven't really met their expectations," Alex Bombeck, managing director and president at North Highland, said. "They are now realizing the key is to embrace these efforts through always-on transformation, rather than maintaining a project mindset. To achieve success, leaders must consider new ways of working that empower their workforce to create a meaningful – and differentiated – end-to-end customer experience."