According to the recent PriceWaterhouseCooper Annual Global CEO study, 94% of CEO’s believe that information on customers is critical or important to a company’s decision making (more important than business risks, industry benchmark information or even financial forecasts/projections).
However, today, only 21% of CEO’s feel that they have the necessary information about customers to make the necessary decision. This implies a severe deficiency in information or that CEO’s aren’t exposed to the right information or results from customer feedback.
One of our jobs as change agents within our companies is to minimize this gap, illustrating to executives that the information we have is comprehensive, by moving beyond the notion of ‘here are the results’, but more into ‘this is the implication of these results’ and ‘this is what we need to do based on these results’. The information is there, but we just need to connect the dots for management to give them the confidence to make critical decisions, and to stand behind those decisions, pointing to direct customer feedback that is tied to future projections as support.
Interestingly, customer feedback is actually growing in influence with executives. More CEO’s indicate that information from customers is growing in influence than any other information source, including employees, government or investors. While most already feel engaged with customers (obviously a good thing), the fact that customer influence is expanding indicates a willingness to listen to what customers have to say and a desire to act upon their feedback.
So, now that yet another source has confirmed that your CEO:
1) wants to hear what customers say,
2) believes it, and
3) is willing to act on the feedback
what are we waiting for? It should be a no brainer for this information to make a regular appearance in staff, planning, or company update meetings.
Just be sure that your information has teeth, has implications for the future, and that you have suggestions for how to solve problems or leverage success. Don’t leave that up to others; take it upon yourselves to be bold with what you think needs to happen.
If nothing else, your thoughts will spark good conversation, and will lead your company down the right path with your customers
You can view the results of the entire PWC CEO survey here.
Vice President, Client Services