Customer experience hits the IT department
Anyone who reads business or marketing press will be more-than-familiar with the way in which social media is changing both: customer expectation and the organisation’s customer service. The power of customers, who have an array of instant, digital communication tools at their fingertips, has pushed customer experience to the top of most organisation’s priority lists.
Anyone who reads business or marketing press will be more-than-familiar with the way in which social media is changing both: customer expectation and the organisation’s customer service.
The power of customers, who have an array of instant, digital communication tools at their fingertips, has pushed customer experience to the top of most organisation’s priority lists. Forrester’s Budgets and Priorities Survey, conducted in the last quarter of last year, shows that for most CIOs addressing the rising expectations of customers and improving customer satisfaction is now of high or critical priority.
CEOs and other not IT-board members increasingly see technology as the means to better engage digitally-savvy stakeholders. Consequently the pressure is on IT directors from all sides, to enable new ways of interacting with customers.
However, what might seem easy to the board, can actually be a very complex, multi-layered project for the IT department, with implications that reach far into the business. In many cases governance processes, job descriptions, IT performance metrics, and even the culture of the IT department needs to change. Of course all of this can impact upon the service that IT teams deliver to other departments too.
Another report, also from Forrester, highlights how this shift in customer engagement is disrupting every industry and business IT has to adapt to it. The report concludes that heads of IT must broaden their technology management priorities to survive this latest onslaught.
Most consultants seem to concur that a good first step for IT departments is to add specific metrics for the technology that enables this new customer experience to the team’s existing metrics. In order to provide meaningful reporting to the board, these metrics could track the contribution that technology makes to the acquisition and retention of customers and the extent to which the technology is used in customer engagement.
At the same time IT directors need to make sure that their teams have the appropriate skills to deliver and manage this technology, and if they don’t, then IT directors need to acquire these skills rapidly, whether by hiring or working with a third party – i.e. outsourcing.
Rapidly is a key word here. CMOs and other department heads are under as much pressure, if not more, as CIOs to deliver on the customer experience agenda. Those IT departments that do not act quickly, will not only lose credibility but may well find that marketing, sales and other divisions have simply by-passed the IT department, implementing and managing their own social customer technologies. And we all know the trouble that creates for CIOs.