New analysis reveals lack of senior level customer focus in FTSE retail firms

shutterstock_135291431New analysis by customer management consultancy PeopleTECH has revealed a lack of customer experience focus at a senior level amongst both FTSE 100 and FTSE AIM 100 retail firms.

Of the 16 retail firms on the FTSE 100 and FTSE AIM 100, none have a chief customer officer on their board. Two of the eight FTSE firms have someone on the board with a specific customer-focused remit – not a single FTSE AIM 100 firm does. Senior Management Teams (SMT) fared a little better, with two FTSE retail companies having a chief customer officer on their SMT and another two having someone on the SMT with a customer-focused remit.

Many organisations have predicted the increasing importance of customer experience, including a Gartner study that predicted by 2016, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Now we are in 2016, are brands doing enough at board level to ensure that providing a high quality customer experience is a priority for them?

“Customer experience is everything – if a retailer is not delivering this then its customers will simply go elsewhere. It’s a conversation that should be happening at board level and it is worrying that not every major retailer has someone on the board to make that conversation happen,” said Mike Hughes, MD, PeopleTECH. “Providing a good customer experience is the new battleground for brands, especially in retail, and this starts with a commitment from the top. How can a company exhort its employees to put the customer first if there is no one at a leadership level taking personal responsibility for that?”

Retail fared better as an industry compared with other sectors. Only 1% of FTSE companies overall have a chief customer officer (or equivalent) on the board, while a further 15% have someone on the board with a specific customer-focused remit. High-growth firms on the FTSE AIM 100 fared even worse – none of those have a chief customer officer (or equivalent) on the board and only 2% have someone on the board with a specific customer-focused remit.

“Not having a chief customer officer on the board or even the senior management team, does not necessarily mean that organisation is not focused on providing a good customer experience,” continued Mike Hughes. “But the sheer lack of numbers doing so would suggest that many brands are happy to talk about customer experience but are less willing to commit senior resource to it.”