A Majority of CEOs Will Change How Their Companies Interact With Consumers

Accenture Interactive study shines a light on emerging "Business of Experience" practices

A majority of CEOs will fundamentally change how their companies interact with customers. Accenture

A new report led by Accenture Interactive has found that a majority of CEOs (77%) will fundamentally change how their companies interact with customers to drive business growth. The company sees this as part of a “experiennce renaissance” that has only been accelerated by the pandemic.

“The Business of Experience (BX)” is based on survey research with over 1,550 executives across 21 countries and 22 industries. It was conducted to understand the role that the customer experience plays in driving long-term business growth, durability and relevance.
The research shows that companies that focus their entire organization around delivering exceptional experiences for their customers, employees and society grow their profitability year-on-year at rates which are at least six times that of their industry peers.

The study finds that the push towards experience-focused business is stimulating companies to evolve beyond the commonly adopted CX philosophy. There is a growing push to organize their business around delivering exceptional experiences as a whole. Experiences “must respond to customers’ new, often unmet and frequently changing needs and enable them to achieve their desired outcomes. This is the Business of Experience (BX)”. The pandemic has only accelerated this change, according to Baiju Shah, chief strategy officer at Accenture Interactive.

“As companies pivot from pandemic recovery, back to growth, many are realizing their strategy needs to be recalibrated, perhaps completely redesigned. Why? Because, right now, almost everything is up for reimagination—how we live, how we work, how we shop, how we socialize. Many of our new behaviors and values are structural and will stay with us, as will the pace of continued change,” Shah told Adweek.

He added that this experience renaissance presents a “massive opportunity for those who don’t just observe the shift in customer expectations.” This shape-shift in their organizations allows businesses “to deliver mutual value through new meaningful and authentic experiences with their customers and employees.”

The study finds that BX is a new way of working and a top priority across the entire C-suite, which will pay off as companies that operate as a business of experience grow their profitability six times their peers’ rate.

Shah pointed to several companies already succeeding through BX, and he says that the post-pandemic world will create even more acceleration in the area.

Netflix has redefined what an entertainment experience can be. And Venmo offered a universal way to borrow and lend money to friends and family without the hassle of cash. He cited “non-obvious examples like Farmers Insurance,” which launched a new renter’s insurance platform called Toggle that was “hyper-focused on millennials’ evolving mindsets and lifestyles … shaped by the people who will use it.”

While experience has been on the C-suite’s mind for quite some time, the events of 2020 have shone a spotlight on it as the consumer behavior shifts seen today are likely to stay with us for a long time, Shah said. He noted that “over 80% of consumers who increased their digital usage in a variety of channels during the pandemic expect to sustain these levels moving forward.”

Shah highlighted some eye-opening findings from our research, such as the chasm between CMOs and CEOs on the need to fundamentally change to the experience model: only four-in-10 CMOs agree with the CEOs.

“But the most interesting finding was that the companies that reimagine their experience through the lens of experience outperform their industry peers in profitability growth by six times over one, three, five and seven years,” he said. “When you focus everyone in the business—from CEO to CMO through the supply chain—around creating meaningful experience, it results in growth, durability and relevance.”

Kyle O’Brien is a freelance writer based in Jim Thorpe, Pa.