Study: What CEOs Really Think About Customer Experience

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As the leader of the company, the CEO often sees himself or herself as the person who is ultimately responsible for the customer experience. While some past studies have revealed a disconnect between the quality of the customer experiences the CEO believes a company delivers to its customers and what customers' actual perceptions are, a recent survey of CEOs finds that many chief executives view customer experience as the most effective opportunity for obtaining a competitive advantage.

As the leader of the company, the CEO often sees himself or herself as the person who is ultimately responsible for the customer experience. While some past studies have revealed a disconnect between the quality of the customer experiences the CEO believes a company delivers to its customers and what customers' actual perceptions are, a recent survey of CEOs finds that many chief executives view customer experience as the most effective opportunity for obtaining a competitive advantage.According to an in-depth survey of more than 90 CEOs of B2B companies and feedback that was collected from more than 400 B2B CEOs by Walker Information and Chief Executive magazine, 39 percent of CEOs see customer experience as the most effective method for creating a competitive advantage.

In the study, entitled A View from the Top: What CEOs Really Think of CX, customer experience ranked well ahead of other elements such as talent (20 percent), product (15 percent), and efficiency (7 percent) for its potential in creating competitive advantage.

The findings are part of a preliminary report that Walker Information and Chief Executive magazine released at Walker Information's B-to-B Customer Experience Summit in Denver last week. Walker plans to share the initial findings with customer experience professionals to get their reaction and then release two additional reports further exploring the CEO perspective on customer experience in the Fall of 2016.

The study also found that CEOs tend to view customer experience as a company-wide strategy that includes product and service innovation as well as people. In fact, the study found that those organizations that are most effective at customer experience are more likely to focus on innovation and employee morale.

Meanwhile, those companies that are not as effective at customer experience are more likely to focus on cost cutting.

In addition, 83 percent of CEOs say their companies rely on customer feedback to guide business decisions while 74 percent use customer metrics as part of their key performance indicators (KPIs).

Still, the Walker/Chief Executive study did identify opportunities for improvement. For instance, fifty-seven percent of CEOs say their companies use analytics to proactively anticipate current and future customer needs.

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