Time brings transformation, because the passage of time changes society, politics, the economy and the environment – sometimes faster, sometimes slower. The linchpin of this evolution is man himself. He tries, multiplies, capitalises, optimises, digitalises. He constantly expresses new ideas, demands and wishes. So it should come as no surprise that an old principle is back in fashion: the customer is king.

In this ceo magazine, we get to the root of today’s redis­covered customer centricity. Because those who want to survive in the future need to focus more than ever on their customers. How this gets done depends largely on new customer needs and new technologies. Digitalisation places a new sceptre in the hands of customers, and they very much like to wield it – around the globe, around the clock, around any particular topic.

We asked personalities from business, education and healthcare why their companies are putting the customer back in the spotlight. And how. Some talk about advanced technologies and approaches that allow them to know their customers better and consequently serve them better. Others talk about new communication channels and a new understanding of customer relationships. And outside observers offer their thoughts on the revival of personal encounters and customer experiences in daily offline life.

Orell Füssli, for example, is celebrating its 500th anniversary in 2019 – five successful centuries in the service of its customers. In the early days, Bible texts were the source of income for this humble printshop; in the year of its founding, Zwingli had just taken up office in Zurich. Today, the family-owned enterprise specialises in banknotes, securities and books. And in so doing, it is able to satisfy a wide range of customer groups that have highly complex needs.

But despite their various professions, our interview partners are of like mind on one point: the customer is and remains a human being. He doesn’t make only rational decisions; occasionally, they’re straight from the gut. He changes his behaviour and allows for contradictions. He’s well informed, excellently networked, digitally proficient, very viva voce and quickly makes himself heard via social media. In short: he wants to understand and be understood, to have a say and co-decide.

We, too, at PwC are keeping up with the times. That’s one reason why we’ve freshened up our appearance: this is the debut of ceo magazine’s new look & feel.

We are glad to elevate you to the throne of the critical reader – and wish you an enlightening lecture.

Andreas Staubli

Andreas Staubli

Andreas Staubli

CEO PwC Switzerland