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The view from the top

tackling challenges

Change is coming and time is running out, new research reveals.

We commissioned Forrester Consulting to gauge opinion among nearly 400 CEOs and senior business leaders working across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Many are saying the same things as they face up to critical gaps in their ability to best serve customers.

It also emerged nearly three out of four traditional business models are predicted to become obsolete within the next five years as they lose ground to leaner, new-to-market digital disruptors. As a result, they regard investment in data-driven insight, fighting fraud and digital optimisation as key priorities for the year ahead.

What the C-suite says

The C-suite clearly understands successful customer management is underpinned by insight with a unanimous 81% regarding it as their top business imperative during the next 12 months. At the same time, more than 70% of respondents are now prioritising improving data, analytics and related security capabilities to help support it.

But two-thirds (66%) of board rooms felt their current approach to customer management was ineffective, lacking a comprehensive single view of the customer, with only around a third confident they delivered a consistent and unified experience.

While C-level executives continue to be challenged by increased activity from competitors, a new external challenge has also emerged in the shape of increased exposure to complex and sophisticated fraud. Around 42% of board rooms identify it as the second biggest inhibitor to success – ranked only behind that of increased competitor activity.

The findings also revealed organisations are failing to deliver on customer experience – in particular on digital channels. Nearly three out of four (70%) admit that they are ineffective at delivering an optimised digital customer experience across all customer touch points.

The view from functional leaders

Opinion was also polled among nearly 250 functional heads responsible for fraud, compliance, risk, collections, IT, credit, analytics and digital customer experience. While the C-suite sees customer insight as the top imperative for customer management, in reality organisations are struggling to connect the data and effectively capitalise on the insight. Most (73%) functional heads say they lack the capabilities to transform data into rich customer insight and actionable strategies to maximise value.

Despite increasing exposure to fraud being near the top of the C-level agenda, gaps in fraud prevention at a functional level were actually claimed to be well managed. But at the same time, it also emerged that only around one in three (31%) organisations currently follow best practice in fraud prevention, monitor suspicious activity, track customers’ real-time transactions, or have access to accurate up-to-date data sources.

While most (70%) CEOs plan to make better integration between physical and digital channels a commercial priority, more than three-quarters (78%) of businesses admit they’re currently unable to deliver an optimised digital experience.

As a result, functional heads are reporting it now has a direct impact on income, borne out by an increase in customer on-boarding times and rising levels of transaction abandonment – well before any attempted purchase.

To get your copy of the new research Winning In The Customer Era, please click here.