From the executive summary:
”The first theme is that this may be a year in which there is renewed vigor around the customer - 2008 may be a year where many CEOs put the customer at the top of the long list of issues on which they must focus. Why? Simply stated - customers are at the core of growth. Here are a few points from this year’s study that are the foundation of this theme:
- CEOs are planning greater investment, both budget and time-wise, on customer relationship management.
- The importance of sales growth as a performance measure has increased since the prior study. Customers are the engine of sales growth.
- Brand, reputation, and investments in corporate social responsibility are more important this year - all efforts that are focused on the winning the hearts and minds of the customer.
- While many CEOs say it is easier to attract customers than it used to be, many, particularly outside the United States, say it is getting harder to retain customers. CEOs recognize that losing customers can be costly.”
Key take-out: It's heartening for me to note that managing customers will be on top of CEOs' agenda. To make it a reality,I think they will have to spend significant time in driving it down the organization - amongst their business heads and their ranks. This has always been a key challenge as there are a lot of issues regarding channel conflicts, change management, marketing budget allocation, linking performance incentives wrt customer management goals, technology investments, profit & cost allocation etc. that will need their focus, to drive this kind of a culture in an organization. Also, they will have to invest significantly in identifying metrics and measurement dashboards around how customers are being managed real time in an enterprise and drive this relentlessly across lifecycle of their customers over the next couple of years once they make a start in 2008.