Customer experience planning and management has become a priority for CIOs. According to Gartner, the IT organization is perceived to be highly or extremely involved in customer experience initiatives in 80% of cases.
The CIO and the IT organization are well-positioned to help guide customer experience efforts. For starters, IT professionals have extensive experience in user experience (UX) design and implementation. As end consumers in their personal lives, IT workers and managers can blend their UX expertise and personal experiences to help craft intuitive and logical customer experiences for the enterprise.
Another area where CIOs and IT teams can assist is in providing customers with seamless cross-channel experiences as they move from one touchpoint to the next to find information about products and services or to reach out to the company for support.
Customers don’t think of themselves as ‘omnichannel.’ They simply want to be able to move from one channel (mobile, SMS) to the next (email, voice) conveniently without having to jump through hoops or having their journey interrupted.
Numerous studies point to the challenges that many companies face in delivering graceful omnichannel experiences. For instance, according to a study conducted by Forrester Consulting, while 71% of customers expect to be able to view inventory available in a retailer’s store online, just 32% of retailers offer this capability.
One of the primary challenges many companies face are the technology and organizational silos that exist between different departmental functions (email marketing, mobile marketing) as well as organizational areas (sales, marketing, customer service).
In many cases, these silos exist because department leaders are either unwilling to share customer data or are unacquainted with the benefits for doing so. These benefits include obtaining a deeper understanding of each customer and the various touchpoints they use to interact with the company – all of which can be used to deliver a more intelligent customer experience and greater customer satisfaction.
The CIO can help educate line of business (LOB) and functional leaders on the merits and benefits of integrating applications and sharing customer data between different parts of the organization.
For instance, sales associates who are able to see the various channels a customer uses for support and the type of product information they’re seeking from different channels can then use these insights to identify potential upsell or cross-sell opportunities where applicable.
Meanwhile, customer service agents can draw from CRM data housed by the marketing organization to obtain a deeper understanding of each customer, including their product history and customer lifecycle status in order to provide more relevant and personalized support.
CIOs and IT teams can add further value by helping to strengthen the mobile customer experience that is central in the cross-channel journey. Customers frequently use their mobile devices in their paths to purchase or support to research product information or the reach out for help with the contact center. In fact, an Accenture study reveals that 45% of smartphone users are making purchases using a mobile device each month.
As such, it’s important to remember that the mobile customer experience is tenuous: small smartphone screens and spotty WiFi connections can interrupt the customer experience at any time, making it challenging for customers to find or view the information they need to take the next step in their paths to purchase or to receive support.
IT teams can work with customer experience groups to better understand how and why a company’s customers use their mobile devices along with any friction they may be encountering in their mobile journeys. Voice of the Customer (VoC) systems, mobile analytics, customer journey mapping, and other tools can all help to provide guidance on the customer experience and any gaps that may need to be addressed.
Critical to all of these efforts is the use of customer data. “CIOs need to make sure the data is adding value and driving good decisions,” says Sheila Jordan, CIO at Symantec in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog post.
Orchestrating the right blend of people, processes, and technology will enable CIOs to help their organizations deliver the types of cross-channel experiences that customers expect.
- Customer experience planning and management has become a priority for CIOs.
- One way that CIOs and their IT teams can assist with customer experience efforts is by drawing upon their expertise with user experience (UX) design and implementation.
- CIOs and IT teams can add further value by strengthening the mobile customer experience which is a core component in customers’ cross-channel journeys.