Russell Reynolds’ Findings on Customer-Centricity
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September 11, 2019
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Technology and InnovationTransformation InnovationConsumerMarketing, Sales, and StrategyBoard and CEO AdvisoryExecutive Search
Executive Survey - Insights On Organizational Customer-Centricity
​Russell Reynolds Associates distributed a survey to over 3,000 global executives to ask their opinion regarding “Customer Centricity” in their organization.

Survey Results

Of the respondents, over 20% were sitting CEOs and board members and the remaining responses came from Divisional Presidents/GMs, Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Digital Officers and other go-to-market c-suite leaders. The companies were split between large (>$2B at 42%) and small (<$2B at 58%).

This survey revealed that nearly:

  • 75% of leaders say their business has already been disrupted due to customer behavior changes and
  • 70% expect their customers’ needs to change significantly more over the next 3 years

The following pages highlight further survey data and demonstrates the critical importance of having the right talent, metrics and culture in place to impact the required change.

Please note: “Customer” is used in this report to represent both customers (B2B) and consumers (B2C) – ultimately, to whom you are targeting to purchase your products and services.


Customer-Centric Survey Findings


Most companies continue to struggle to know their customers ‘very well’

Although the vast majority (75%) of senior executive believe they have a much better understanding of their customers than they did 3 years ago, only 14% say that they know them “very well” [score of 9 or 10 out of 10] – this is true for both large and small companies alike.


Another part of the issue, is that customers are more fluid than ever…

Over the past 3 years, a third of respondents say that their customers have changed significantly (8 or higher) – becoming more diverse, less loyal and more price sensitive…

…and companies are continually trying to keep up by attracting wholly new sets of customers.

Almost half (48%) expect their customers will change significantly (8 and higher) over the next 3 years. In fact, 43% of all senior executives believe that their current customers are not the customers they will need to stay competitive in the future

…and 60% of all senior executives believe that they will have to target a different set of customers, and 70% believe that they will need to attract a more diverse set of customers.


Not surprisingly, most companies plan to dramatically increase customer-related investments over the next 3 years…

80% expect they will increase their customer-related investments somewhat or significantly over the next 3 years as compared to the past 3 years


Despite visible CEO sponsorship for customer centricity and increased financial investments, corporate cultures are taking considerably longer to shift.

Senior executives from both large (>U$2B) and small (<U$2B) report that their CEOs strongly emphasize putting the customer at the center of all decision-making, however decision-making roles, rights and processes, may not be aligned to this strategy and may ultimately continue to impede accuracy, speed, and the desired business results.