NEW YORK, MARCH 23 – Most U.S. CEOs remain confident in the growth prospects of the domestic economy and their businesses and, in response to the pandemic, will shift their organizations’ focus to the social component of their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programs, according to a new study released today by KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax, and advisory firm. CEOs also said they will continue to accelerate their efforts to create a seamless digital customer experience as a result of the pandemic.
The 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook survey features insights from 500 CEOs at large companies globally, including 140 in the United States, on the key challenges and opportunities in driving business growth over the next three years. Key findings include:
“While economic uncertainty persists, U.S. CEOs are making meaningful investments in their ESG strategies and programs because they realize it drives loyalty and growth of their customer base, increases their ability to attract and retain top talent and meets the expectations of investors,” said Paul Knopp, KPMG U.S. Chair and CEO. “The pandemic has altered customer and employee expectations for the long term and CEOs are intently focused on supporting all stakeholders, creating a seamless digital customer experience and ensuring their ESG strategy is embedded across their operations.”
Digital Acceleration and the Customer Experience
Forty-eight percent of CEOs noted that the pandemic has sharply accelerated progress in the area of creating a seamless digital customer experience, putting them years in advance of where they expected to be. When asked about the long-term impact the pandemic will have on their companies, 54% of CEOs indicated their customer engagement and queries will be handled predominantly through virtual platforms including chat bots, social media, telephone or websites.
Compared to a year ago, CEOs said they plan to invest more in the following technologies: digital communications such as video conferencing and messaging platforms (55%); customer-centric technologies such as chat bots (54%); data security measures (48%); artificial intelligence (44%); and e-commerce or sales platforms (33%).
“CEOs continue to lean into their values and purpose as they look to address the needs of their stakeholders,” Knopp said. “CEOs also recognize that ensuring the well-being and mental health of their people has never been more important.”
CEO Response to Pandemic
The New Normal
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