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Leading innovation to drive small business economic recovery

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Steve Vamos

Jun 2, 2021

Become 2021, sponsored by Mastercard and powered by The Harvard Business Review Analytic Services Business Innovation Index, recently interviewed business leaders from Australia and New Zealand companies to determine how they are innovating to better serve their customers. The data was collated to create the Become 2021: Business Through Adversity.

I was pleased to be able to share Xero’s perspective on the topic and explain how we continued to innovate for our customers and partners, during COVID-19.

The resulting report: ‘Faster Innovation and a Focus on Customer Experience: Helping Australia and New Zealand Battle through Adversity’. The survey identified five key traits shared among world-class innovative organisations. We have identified how Xero embodies these traits, and identified five ways to drive economic recovery:

  1. Digital Agility From Xero’s aggregated and anonymised data of more than 300,000 small businesses, it became apparent that those businesses using more software applications prior to the pandemic were able to adapt much faster to offer online services and were far more resilient.
  2. Surround-sound Analytics – Xero generated specialised metrics that assessed the health of the small business economy in our three largest customer markets (Australia, New Zealand and the UK) through Xero Small Business Insights (XSBI). The XSBI program provides clarity and direction for our customers and partners, as well as helped inform governments on ways to support the small business economy. 
  3. Ironclad Data Security – Xero is a custodian of our customers’ data and we take that responsibility seriously. When Multifactor Factor Authentication (MFA) became mandatory in Australia, we saw a significant drop in account takeovers. To give customers fast, easy and secure access to their Xero account using MFA, we’ve created our own authenticator app called Xero Verify. It’s built using the highest security standards and gives us confidence that our customer account access is in safe hands.
  4. Strategic Investing – When it comes to driving innovation, taking intentional risks and learning from failure is embedded in the Xero culture. It’s less about control and more about caring and connecting. It’s not about fear of making mistakes but more about creating safe places to try new things at work.
  5. Customer proximityAt Xero we measure the customer experience at different levels across their entire lifecycle and are guided by customer insights. Our Voice of Customer team is charged with engaging teams around these insights so they work together to make the changes that matter most to our customers. 

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