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Customer Budget Cuts and Rising Expectations Top Business Leaders’ Lists as Opportunities for Growth

Europe’s business leaders say shrinking customer budgets and increasingly high expectations are key opportunities for growth amid market uncertainty, according to a new study commissioned by Ricoh Europe.

Rather than viewing them as barriers, 63% of business leaders say heightening customer expectations are a chance to drive a competitive advantage for their own organisation. At the same time, 47% cite answering the call from customers for more economical solutions and services as a crucial way to grow market share.

Central to this shift is the use of new technology that doesn’t just help business leaders drive efficiencies and empower employees in the firms they operate, but ultimately their customers’ organisations as well.

Over two-thirds (69%) of business leaders want to use new technology to assert more control over their own organisation and adapt rapidly to change. However, 61% wish it was simpler to tailor technology to their individual needs. With the average annual cost of upgrading technology revealed to be around €26,000 for a European business, there is also clear desire for more cost-effective ways to always stay current.

David Mills, CEO of Ricoh Europe, says: “Digital disruption is the defining business phenomenon of the past decade. Working extensively with leading European businesses to develop new customer-centric solutions, we know it’s critical that any investment in technology not only helps an organisation’s own people perform more effectively but benefits their customers in the same way. In collaboration with Rabobank’s Robotics Centre of Excellence, for example, we helped cut down the time it takes to prepare for insurance counselling interviews to mere minutes using artificial intelligence. Not only does this free-up time for Rabobank employees to focus on other tasks, but customers now benefit from faster approvals and processing of their applications as well.”

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