Companies need to focus on ‘business of experience’ as customer demands heighten

16 December 2020 Consulting.ca 3 min. read

As consumers continue to demand more from brands, companies need to pivot to a “business of experience” (BX) that provides a holistic approach to customer-centricity, according to a recent report from consulting firm Accenture.

Today’s consumers are now holding companies to higher standards of convenience, responsiveness, and overall experience. They’ll now ask why a brand – even in an entirely different space – can’t have as simple a purchasing and delivery option as Amazon, or as smooth and generous a warranty and repair process as Apple.

What those two brands have in common, aside from being among the largest and richest companies in America, is that they share a single-minded pursuit of customer experience (CX). But while CX focus has been traditionally bounded to transactions, companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Salesforce have reoriented their entire organization around delivering exceptional experiences for their customers.

According to Accenture’s report – which surveyed more than 1,500 executives in 21 countries – these “business of experience” (BX), customer-led companies outperform their industry peers by six times in year-on-year profitability.

"Simply put, when you improve the experience, you improve lives and in turn, you improve business," Brian Whipple, group chief executive of Accenture Interactive, said.

BX leaders outperform CX-oriented companies

In order to drive customer-centricity throughout an organization, firms need to take customer experience out of its traditional home in the marketing function and make it a priority across the C-suite – including for the CEO. Accenture’s survey found that 77% of chief executives said they will fundamentally change how the company interacts with customers as a priority to drive business growth. This sentiment held across the C-suite, with 56% of COOs and 51% of CFOs saying likewise.

"All leaders are going to need to change their approach to experience and the quantifiable business impacts in the year ahead, as so much about our world has been altered – how we shop, how and where we work, and how we interact with others," said Gregor Barry, managing director and Accenture Interactive lead in Canada. "We see an experience renaissance happening before us. Companies that live and breathe experience will be poised for growth."

Firms that outperform their peers in financial growth and business cycle endurance tend to incorporate the four BX approaches below, according to Accenture.

1) Customer obsession. Leading firms will uncover customers’ unmet needs, with top companies being twice as likely (55% vs 26%) to say they can translate customer data into actions.

2) Innovate experience. Accenture’s research shows that leading firms are more than twice as likely as their peers to have the agility to pivot to new models that deliver value and relevance to their customers.

3) Expanded responsibility for experience. Top firms will make experience the business of everyone in the company, from the C-suite down. The company should function as a cohesive unit, with the delivery of the best possible customer experience as its guiding north star.

4) Sync tech, data, and the human agenda. A BX firm is able to redirect data, tech, and people towards new opportunities that drive performance and growth. Sixty-one percent of leading companies said they knew what tech platforms they need to leverage in order to remain competitive and relevant to customers, compared to only 27% of their peers.