How are CEOs maintaining their customer focus?

Find out how CEOs are chasing their number one goal of growing their customer base - while cutting costs and adjusting to rapid changes in buying volumes and patterns.

Video: CEO views on customers

Infographic: Customer focus

How confident are CEOS in revenue growth?

No matter which markets they’re in, CEOs have one overwhelming goal: to grow their customer base. Over half of CEOs say it’s a top-three investment priority in 2013.

This isn’t surprising. But what’s changed is that CEOs are trying to do this while focusing on fewer, more targeted growth strategies – no easy task in these times, with some businesses and consumers having been hit badly by the recession. Adding to the challenge are the very different – and diverging - purchasing volumes and patterns between and within markets.

In fact, nearly half of CEOs see shifts in consumer buying patterns as a serious business threat. They know that being able to respond quickly and effectively to these trends is crucial for resilience. So it’s no wonder that 82% of CEOs are looking for new ways to stimulate customer demand and loyalty this year.

Digital marketing platforms are one obvious way companies are moving forward. And more businesses are involving customers in product and service development. But companies are also aiming to keep their R&D costs down and make the innovation process more efficient.

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CEO interview quotes

"Social media has become of growing importance to our business in the sense that you get instant feedback on your product. It is the best way for you to market your product effectively and in a more cost efficient way."

Aireen Omar
Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Berhad

"We try to build a process that genuinely goes out and listens. We try to get a conversation going and ask some questions about what people would like from their energy systems and what they value most. Their answers influence our plans."

Steve Holliday
Chief Executive Officer of National Grid Group Plc.

"The biggest stakeholder challenge has actually been from our customers. Twenty years ago, we were network centric; now we’re consumer centric and we build the network around the consumers’ needs. So, we have to have a lot more understanding of what our consumers want."

Alex Arena
Group Managing Director of HKT Ltd.

"The number one thing that will make people more at ease is transparency. Being a public company, the preservation of transparency is an inherent obligation for us. We keep in touch with our customers in order to understand their needs. Everything is interconnected."

Dr. John Coustas
President and Chief Executive Officer of Danaos Corporation

"Now, differentiation has become internalised in our organisational thinking. China is such a huge market. It needs something different, and the purchasing power of its people is definitely able to support products that are different."

Alex C. Lo
President of Uni-President Enterprises Corporation

"Customers have an increasing participation in the decision-making process in Argentina and worldwide; sometimes they’re even our company ambassadors, who help us design new services and thus have increasing influence."

Julio Patricio Supervielle
Grupo Supervielle's CEO and Banco Supervielle's Chairman

"We have to stay close to our key customers because those leaders are the ones who set the trends. We have to understand what they want, not always offer new products, but at least adapt existing products as their needs change."

Yves Serra
President and Chief Executive Officer of Georg Fischer Ltd.

"We commercial banks are service institutions, so changes in customer demands are extremely important for us. Just as a chef in a restaurant will lose his job if his cooking cannot satisfy his customers, a service institution will not exist if it has no customers."

Dr. Weihua Ma
President and Chief Executive Officer of China Merchants Bank Co. Ltd.

"The consumer is a stakeholder for any business, of course, but in our industry the consumer is playing a far more active role in shaping the product in terms of using the services and applications we deliver."

Stephen Elop
President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia
  These interviews contain the opinions and views of the CEOs interviewed, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of PwC.


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