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McKinsey Quarterly 2016 Number 3: Overview and full issue

By Ewan Duncan

This issue of the Quarterly, available here as a PDF download, includes a CEO’s guide to customer experience, new research on the technical feasibility of automating jobs, and an incumbent’s guide to digital disruption.

Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2016 Number 3 (PDF–6.4MB).

It’s probably not a stretch to say that top executives are some of the busiest people on the planet, and that time is their most precious resource. This issue of the Quarterly addresses the scarcity of time from two perspectives: that of the customers those leaders are trying to serve, and that of the executives themselves as readers.

Let’s start with the customer. Time is of the essence in the digital age, as we’ve all experienced when using Amazon’s quick-and-easy one-click purchasing and similar innovations from other digital pacesetters. As companies refashion their interactions with customers, fewer people will listen patiently to canned assurances that “your call is important to us.” Customer experiences with Apple or Amazon or Uber are the new standard. Users have grown to expect best-in-class experiences from all their online and mobile interactions—and demand the same in offline ones.

Earlier this year, McKinsey’s Marketing and Sales and Service Operations Practices published a collection of articles for leaders seeking to deliver state-of-the-art customer experiences. What we’ve done in this issue of the Quarterly is to offer time-starved senior executives a synthesis of the key ideas in that compendium: the central role played by customer journeys, rather than touchpoints, in aligning the organization to deliver great customer experiences; the fundamentals of customer interaction; and the steps necessary to redesign companies in a more customer-centric fashion.

My colleagues at the Quarterly call this synthesis a “CEO guide,” and they’ve designed it to make the attention you give to the Quarterly more productive. This new approach synthesizes multiple sources to make quick sense of complex issues. A glance at the opening infographic will give you the essence of the piece in about two minutes. Or you can read the whole thing in about ten—plus dive in more deeply by following links into the source material underlying each section. Or download the full compendium of longer articles, Customer experience: Creating value through transforming customer journeys (PDF–2.6MB).

The CEO guide format reflects changes in the reading experience that we all recognize. While text-based articles, sometimes lengthy ones, remain at the center of how readers consume content, today’s digital environment makes it easy to offer new entry and exit ramps into and out of those articles—novel ways to get the gist of what’s on offer prior to reading the whole thing, and straightforward opportunities for further exploration and discovery.

This issue also includes articles, both shorter and longer, on a range of significant topics, including an incumbent’s guide to digital disruption, a data-driven look at how new CEOs can boost their odds of success, and a report, on the way data analytics helps companies identify, recruit, and reward top personnel. By presenting the best McKinsey has to offer, this edition of the Quarterly, along with its accompanying digital elements, is designed to help focus your scarce attention where it matters most.

Download the full issue of McKinsey Quarterly 2016 Number 3 (PDF–6.4MB).

About the author(s)

Ewan Duncan is a senior partner in McKinsey’s Seattle office.
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