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Is the customer always right?

Is the customer always right?

Being customer centric now means getting ahead of customer needs rather than just responding to their stated expectations. KPMG’s 2016 Global CEO Outlook discusses CEO plans to bring innovation to customers with the help of data analytics.

Godfrey Boyce - KPMG NZ - Partner

Chief Executive

KPMG in New Zealand


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KPMG’s 2016 Global CEO Outlook unearthed a strong belief among CEOs that they must be more pro-active, and less reactive, in meeting customer expectations in today’s increasingly competitive battle for customer centricity.

“Meeting client expectations used to mean doing exactly what the client orders, with the highest quality, rigorously meeting deadlines and in a very efficient way,” says Josu Calvo, CEO of Gonvarri Steel Services. But quality and timeliness alone won’t do anymore. Today, customers expect constant innovation of products, multiple shopping channels – and they often want their input to be included in product design.

CEOs recognise that meeting customers’ expectations is an ongoing effort. According to our survey, the vast majority are concerned about their customers’ loyalty (88 percent) and about the relevance of their products and services (82 percent) 3 years from now. Almost half think they are not keeping pace with meeting customer expectations or not connecting with their customers enough via digital means (45 percent).

Mark A. Goodburn, Global Head of Advisory, KPMG International, dissuades CEOs from “hiding behind the concept of eroding customer loyalty, because it moves the blame onto the customer.” In reality, lack of customer loyalty is often more about companies being too slow to understand the signs that customers are sending in data and social media, as well as the pace of adoption of new technologies. Most of the changes need to be made at the company level, not the customer level, Goodburn says.

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