Back in October of last year, IBM released the latest version of it’s Global C-suite Study. This study was made up of 4,183 conversations with C-suite leaders in 70 countries and across more than 20 industries. Their analysis of the conversations uncovered three major issues that the C-suite executives feel they need to embrace if they are to stay relevant to today’s customers and remain competitive. The issues they identified were:
- They need to become more open to customer influence;
- They need to innovate if they are to effectively connect customer touchpoints across all physical and digital channels; and
- They need to work more closely with customers if they are to create engaging customer experiences.
This is all very interesting and gives a clear indication of the strategic priorities for these, and probably most, firms in the coming years. However, the study also went to say that organisations with a united C-suite are more likely to outperform their peers and their market.
This last idea was one that struck me as it has been echoed in a couple of recent interviews that I have conducted.
In one interview, Newvoicemedia’s Chief Marketing Officer, Tim Pickard, talked about how leadership in firms need to develop ‘One Agenda’ if they are to increase customer engagement and competitiveness. He goes on to say that the level of alignment of sales, marketing and customer service will go a long way towards determining the level and quality of customer engagement that they can achieve.
In another interview, Mark Lancaster, CEO of SDL, said something similar when he said:
“One of the biggest challenges for all firms looking to improve their customer experience is to align their senior team so that they are all focused on delivering the same objectives and are aligned to their brand and customers rather than their own departments.”
However, in the same interview Mark went on to comment that:
“When an executive team, in a large organisation, decides to do something and when it actually gets done can take up to two years.”
Now, I can understand how this would and could happen given the size and complexity of some large organsiations and their supply chains. But, given the level of competitiveness and pace of change that exists in most markets, Mark’s comment left me wondering if that pace of change was quick enough.
I mean, would you, as a customer, be willing to wait for up to two years to have the service and experience that you wanted delivered to you?
Similarly, would your customers be willing to wait for up to two years?
I’m not sure you, or they, would and that poses a strategic threat to many firms.
So, if the majority of firms are focused on and facing similar challenges, it would seem to me that the quicker a firm changes and adapts to market conditions, the more likely they are to win and retain the hearts, minds and spend of their customers. Right?
That leaves us with a question: Are you sure your customers will wait up to two years for you to change?
If yes, then that’s fair enough and that’s your choice.
If no, then you and your organisation need to learn how to change and change faster if you want to maintain and grow your market position.