Ipsos Loyalty’s annual survey, “Captains of Industry”, asks executive board-level directors and chairmen of some of the UK’s biggest companies[1] for their views on the issues of the day. As well as illuminating what the most senior people in UK business make of Brexit and who their business heroes are, this year’s findings also provide pause for thought for CX professionals as they reflect on customer engagement in their own organisations:

1. CEOs know the buck stops with them

As any Chief Executive who has seen their company criticised by a celebrity on Twitter or suffered a bad online review will know, taking even one eye off the ball can have a high price. Long-gone are the days of customer experience being the sole preserve of frontline staff, and rightly so. It’s positive that this message appears to be resonating with senior leaders. Our survey finds most senior figures (72%) believe that ultimate responsibility for customer experience in their organisation sits at the top – with either the MD or CEO.

2. They think you could be doing (even) better

But conversely, not all of them rate their own company when it comes to customer experience. Two-fifths (41%) give themselves seven out of ten or lower for acting on feedback from customers – and other findings indicate they are aware their organisation has more work to do before reaching the heights of customer satisfaction and advocacy. Whilst nearly three in five (57%) say their company is an eight, nine or ten out of ten for acting on feedback from customers, just under half (47%) rate their company in the top three boxes for consistently delivering high quality customer service. CX professionals can take from this that senior leaders are broadly satisfied with how things are going – but are ambitious to take things to the next level.

3. They know they should be meeting customers more

One clue to how organisations can move up a rung on the customer satisfaction ladder is in the finding that less than half of senior leaders (48%) regularly (at least once a month) meet or speak to key customers. Even fewer (34%) regularly meet or speak to any of their company’s other customers. This means CEOs are less likely to really live and breathe CX, even if they take responsibility for it in theory. There is a huge opportunity here for CX pros to make a real difference by creating opportunities for your senior people get out and about, meet customers, and find out through the horse’s mouth how they feel about their company.

4. They want customer feedback, but need help digesting it

Over half (55%) of the people we spoke to use surveys as KPIs for customer experience and feedback in their organisations. However, one in three say these are not discussed at board level on a regular basis, and 4% say these are never looked at in board meetings. As we know, board meetings can be a morass of never ending presentations, and if senior leaders aren’t invested in your KPIs, there’s a risk they will be glossed over or missed entirely. Consider new ways to bring your KPIs to life, whether that’s printing customer feedback and putting it up around the room, giving your outputs a redesign so they deliver the good (or bad) news at a glance. Ultimately your board needs to understand what they are looking at, why it’s important and what they need to do as a result.

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