Business’s disconnect with customer needs: report
For the first time in New Zealand, Mastercard has sponsored research with the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, and it’s resulting Become 2021 report delivers some surprising findings. The report focused on how innovation has impacted consumer experience through the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the report, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey of 264 Australian and New Zealand […]
For the first time in New Zealand, Mastercard has sponsored research with the Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, and it’s resulting Become 2021 report delivers some surprising findings.
The report focused on how innovation has impacted consumer experience through the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the report, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) survey of 264 Australian and New Zealand organisation leaders, including SMEs, benchmarked against some of the world’s leading CEOs revealed that organisations that have the ability to quickly innovate through harnessing anonymised customer data, providing insights on major economic shifts, and fast-track new digital initiatives are strongly positioned to face and adapt to adversity.
However, the report also identified that when it comes to innovation and customer experience, there is a clear disconnect between businesses’ perceptions of customer needs and what they actually want, with business leaders focusing on areas that are not priorities for consumers.
To illustrate examples of this disconnect, some key findings from the report are listed below:
- While only 16 percent of consumers valued more frequent communications, almost half of AU-NZ organisations chose to communicate more frequently.
- In another example, 39 percent of consumers wanted organisations to introduce innovations that made online ordering easier during the pandemic, however only 19 percent took this step.
- This was also seen with top technology investments – with Australian and New Zealand organisations’ top technology investments not reflecting consumer preferences.
Interestingly, the report’s findings highlight that while business organisations in this region consider consumers to be early adopters of technology, consumers themselves do not – only 18 percent of consumers will buy new products or services as soon as they become available, compared with 26 percent of global respondents.
“As the world continues to emerge from the pandemic’s long shadow, the pace and speed of innovation has brought on new opportunities, but also some challenges,” says Alex Clemente, MD of Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.
“Many organisations have proven they can be fast, agile, and emerge stronger after whatever next awaits, but there are some gaps in what businesses saw as important and what consumers need during and after the pandemic. I believe business and society are now forced to redefine what it means to be innovative. And businesses everywhere should re-evaluate if the new-found velocity and pace of change can be sustained.”
Privacy and security are paramount to AU-NZ consumers
With an increased focus on customer experience comes the risk of a privacy and data security pandemic. Businesses cannot overestimate the importance of privacy and security to consumers. In fact, 80 percent of AU-NZ consumers agree it is important that the companies they buy from are using secure technology to make their privacy ironclad. Yet the report found that among AU-NZ organisations, only 35 percent have or will invest in data privacy and cyber security management to improve customer experience in the next 12 months.
The key traits of innovators
Those business organisations that stand out as the most innovative in AU-NZ, as revealed by the survey, have the following five key traits:
- Digital agility: keeping up with accelerated digital adoption and real-time customer needs, especially touchless experiences.
- Surround-sound analytics: making data-driven decisions the lifeblood of the organisation.
- Ironclad data security: protecting customers and their data.
- Strategic investing: taking intentional risks and accepting failure as part of the process.
- Customer proximity: keeping customers close as a guiding force for innovation.
To download the full Become 2021 reports: Faster Innovation and a Focus on Customer Experience Helping Australia and New Zealand Battle Through Adversity, visit BecomeIndex.com or HBR.org. Take the Become challenge to see how your organisation stacks up against your peers’.