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The Age of the Customer has Arrived

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C-Suite:  You Must Invest in Customer Centric Technology C-Suite: You Must Invest in Customer Centric Technology

According to the 2013 IBM Survey of C-Suite Executives, “digitally enfranchised and empowered customers lead the agenda” for C-Suite business strategy in 2014.

As recently as 2004, the same survey has customer concerns as 6th on the list of issues that would drive change in their companies according to C-Suite executives.  The survey covers 4,183 C-Suite executives in 70 countries and shows that the Age of the Customer has truly arrived.  The phenomena is not limited to consumer products and services -- B2B Executives are also scrambling to find ways to communicate and collaborate in real time with their vendors and customers to drive new initiatives.

“The emergence of social, mobile and digital networks has played a big part in democratizing the relationship between organizations and their customers.  It is forcing them to rethink how they work” - 2013 IBM C-Suite Survey

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The ‘Age of the Customer’ is a natural evolution following the ‘Age of the Professional Manager’ that began at the end of the 19th Century and the ‘Age of the Shareholder’.  It is good for buyers, but makes managing enterprises more difficult and demands innovation and agility throughout the organization that is unprecedented in many industries.  The payoff is that IBM says companies that are customer focused are out-performing their peers in revenues and profits.

Ideas for Out-Performing the Competition according to IBM:

1)  The C-Suite Executives must be working as a team.  The best way to work as a team is a clear focus on objectives.  If the #1 focus is satisfying, collaborating with and activating customers, the team is likely to work well together. 

2)  Invest in customer centric technology.  Find better ways market and deliver goods and services customers, better ways accumulate and react to feedback and better ways to measure the success of your efforts.  Technology is no longer just infrastructure, but a mechanism that “makes new strategies possible”

3)  Increase transparency.  Customers want to trust an organization and want to be able to communicate in real time.  Transparency breeds trust.

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Ted Pryor
Ted Pryor
Contributor
Ted Pryor is a Managing Director with Greenwich Harbor Partners and focuses on senior level executive recruiting in Media, Technology and Business Services including general management, sales, marketing and customer service. He has over ten years of experience as a senior executive at GE Capital and over 20 years of experience in corporate finance. Prior to executive recruiting, he served as CFO and CEO of a venture backed start-up company.

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