Newly empowered and enlightened customers continue to expect more of the organisations they interact with, demanding instant communication, personalised service and opportunities for co-creation. The 2013 IBM C-suite study, “The Customer-Activated Enterprise,” delivers a clear message: the emergence of social, mobile and digital technologies is playing a significant role in the democratisation of the relationship between organisations and their customers.2 Whether it’s a retailer competing for the hearts and minds of teenagers in Rio, or an electronics company in Dublin looking to stave off its global competitors, they both have a common objective: to better understand, involve and excite their customers in ways that differentiate them from the competition.
The essential bridge between the organisation and its customers is the workforce. The ability to engage, develop, recognise and support employees will be critical in the decisive battle for customer loyalty. It is these individuals who represent the organisation’s brand in the market, who interact with customers on a daily basis, who analyse changes in customer preferences and who develop and maintain the technologies that help connect the physical and digital worlds. And, therefore, a motivated and properly prepared workforce will be indispensable for success in the customer-activated world.
Given the importance of talent in this customer-activated world, is the HR function prepared to deliver the needed skills and capabilities for the business to succeed? Is HR ready and able to help organisations stay one step ahead in an environment where customers are becoming increasingly more informed, vocal and involved in the day-to-day operations of the organisation?
Through our analysis of the C-suite study responses from 4,183 senior executives from 70 countries, we see companies taking important steps in developing a workforce that can compete in a customer-driven world. Included in this analysis is a deeper examination of the 342 Chief Human Resource Officers who participated in the study.
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