NORTH HIGHLAND 2020 BEACON REPORT: Business Leaders Cite Customer Experience as Top Priority to Spur Growth in Coming Year

December 10, 2019 (ATLANTA) – Eighty-seven percent of senior business leaders surveyed from companies with annual revenues greater than $1 billion rated customer experience (CX) their number one strategic priority for growth in 2020, with 32 percent ranking it significantly higher than last year. Yet, according to the annual North Highland Beacon report, a trends report released today by global management consulting firm North Highland, only one in three feel very prepared to address this crucial area.

Looking at anticipated growth, 45 percent of executives surveyed across ten industry sectors expect revenue to increase by five percent or more in 2020 compared to this year.

“While we continue to see optimism for growth, executives are recognizing that their efforts to differentiate from the competition through better customer experience haven’t really met their expectations,” noted Alex Bombeck, managing director and president at North Highland. “They are now realizing the key is to embrace these efforts through always-on transformation, rather than maintaining a project mindset. To achieve success, leaders must consider new ways of working that empower their workforce to create a meaningful – and differentiated – end-to-end customer experience.”

The Beacon report shows additional growth engines include operational efficiency (85%), data & analytics (81%), product/service innovation (78%) and digital capabilities (78%).

Leaders note the impact of both internal and external factors on an organization’s level of preparedness. Seventy-two percent named knowledge/skills as the leading internal influence followed by focus/clear strategy (70%) and people/resources (70%). Externally, the most significant influences include labor availability (60%), regulations (42%) and the general economy (41%).

Foremost areas identified for organizational transformation in 2020 include data & technology (53%), customer experience (50%) and digital (46%). Those surveyed indicate the most important characteristics for successful transformation are cross-functional integration/collaboration (58%) and having a strong purpose (57%).

Talent management/development and talent acquisition are also target areas for 2020 and, relative to other priorities, are considered a definite competitive advantage with a low cost to resolve. Both are increasing priorities for business leaders, however, only 23 percent feel very prepared to address these areas.

The North Highland Beacon report includes responses from 700 senior business decision makers from U.S. and U.K. companies. 

To view the full 2020 Beacon report, visit: