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Chasing The Elusive Holy Grail: Customer-Driven Growth.
It’s not the economy—it’s the customer.
A majority of executives across the apparel, technology, professional services, and food and beverage industries agreed that achieving growth has become tougher in light of changing customer patterns, according to a survey of 200 executives conducted by HSBC and Forbes. Of those facing difficulties, 47% said a primary challenge is meeting consumer expectations —even as they describe the current economic environment as business-friendly and robust.
The following key findings illustrate how companies are tackling the challenge and how prepared they are to adapt to fast-changing customer expectations.
Across surveyed industries, companies are focusing on efficiency rather than revenue growth alone. And technology is crucial to that. Companies are largely focusing on internal innovation rather than acquiring or partnering with other firms.
However, it can be difficult for companies to know which technologies to select and implement. In the end, technology is useful only so far as it meets customer expectations. Thus, using technology for creating and supporting customer experience is the top challenge with meeting customer expectations.
Tech Vs. Talent
Technology investments, however, won’t yield results unless companies have employees with the right skills to implement those tools. Striking the right balance between technology and people is especially crucial in the current low-unemployment environment, with many companies facing skills shortages. Not surprisingly, talent and workforce emerge as key priority.
While executives recognize the importance of meeting customer expectations and make it one of the top pillars of growth, they largely aim to meet customer expectations by reacting to the market rather than trying to anticipate customers’ needs or delight them with original ideas.
That indicates there’s significant room for improvement in how companies are using data to anticipate customer expectations, needs, trends and values. In that effort, the findings showed that half of the companies are planning to create new roles focused on the customer.
Looking ahead: Taking advantage of a strong economy, executives are re-aligning their strategies to better meet consumers’ needs. This exemplifies that despite the challenges related to workforce and technology, companies remain optimistic about their customer-focused approach.
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