As companies continue to focus their attention on delivering distinctive customer experiences, CIOs and IT leaders are becoming more involved in customer-facing activities. In fact, 89% of companies believe they will have to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2017, according to Gartner.

In some cases, CIOs are working more closely with CMOs to ensure that all customer interactions are being captured, analyzed, measured, and optimized to help strengthen customer relationships, increase loyalty, and grow long-term customer value.

It also seems inevitable that IT will eventually be called upon – sooner rather than later – to help the enterprise build an entirely new front-end customer interfaces to support customer interactions. These new customer interfaces won’t be modified versions of traditional IT systems. Instead, they’re more likely to be created from highly innovative combinations of hardware and software that are tailored to meet customers’ expectations.

Mobile is at the heart of today’s digitally-driven, socially-connected customer. As of 2014, consumers now spend more time each day on their mobile devices than with desktop or laptop devices, according to eMarketer.

As consumers continue to increase their use of smartphones and other mobile devices in their interactions with companies, there’s an incredible opportunity here for CIOs and IT organizations to play an ever more important role in helping to craft elegant mobile customer experiences.

One of the ways that that CIOs can help meet the preferences and needs of mobile consumers is through the use of customer journey mapping. These tools can enable customer-facing functions such as marketing and customer care to gain a deep understanding about the steps that target customers take on their path to purchase and to identify any pain points customers may encounter that can be addressed and improved.

By understanding the customer journey from the customer’s point of view, IT and customer experience project teams can craft the types of experiences customers want to receive – including their mobile interactions.

CIOs and IT can also draw off their experiences in developing in-house applications that have been customized for internal employee work teams. The use of customer roundtables and customer advisory councils can enable IT to improve its understanding of what customers are looking for from their mobile experiences. This includes the navigability, features, and content sought from mobile apps and mobile web interfaces.

“The biggest trend I see happening in our industry right now that will give us a significant competitive advantage is the transition from a physical world to a digital world,” said Naresh Shanker, CIO, Printing and Personal Systems Group at Hewlett-Packard Company in a recent HMG Strategy video. “Our ability to share products and services with great user or consumer experiences and get these products out worldwide is going to be an exciting problem to solve.”

Key Takeaways

  • As companies continue to become customer-focused, CIOs are stepping up their involvement in crafting customer strategy.
  • IT will eventually be called upon – sooner rather than later – to create innovative customer interfaces, including mobile touchpoints that meet customer expectations.
  • IT can utilize its expertise in developing, testing, and refining in-house apps for employee workgroups to address the preferences and needs of target customers for mobile apps and experiences.