How Data Can Create Customer-Obsessed Companies
Companies in which the CFO and other executives collaborate closely on customer-focused data are gaining a significant competitive edge in their industry, according to a recent study commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet and conducted by Forrester Consulting. The accompanying report, "The Customer-Obsessed Finance Leader in the Age of Data," approaches the topic from the CFO's perspective. It defines "customer-obsessed leader" companies as those that have prioritized customer initiatives and have experienced increases in three key customer-focused metrics: customer acquisition, customer retention and customer satisfaction. These companies also are more likely to report increases in revenue, profitability and efficient cash flow, outpacing what the report calls "follower" companies by margins of 10 to 30 percent. Inevitably, data capabilities distinguish the leaders from the followers, as customer-obsessed leaders are out front in aligning data strategies with business ones, while increasing investments in customer insight systems. "Although we're already deeply embedded in the age of the customer, the pace of technologic advancement and customer empowerment continues to disrupt today's business models," according to the report. "Throughout it all, there has been one constant: The key to competitive survival is data- and insights-driven customer obsession. As the strategic steward of business outcomes, the CFO has a considerable stake in his or her organization's customer obsession efforts." An estimated 250 global CFOs and other finance executives took part in the research.