Customer Experience

Why the CIO must become the new customer experience champion

With the growth of digital technologies, customers have more information, more choices and more power than ever before. Their expectations are rising and CIOs have a key role to play in helping the organisation meet the challenge.

by Adrian Clamp (contact)
2.5 minute read

In a fast-moving digital society, customers are more empowered and more demanding than ever. They expect a superior customer experience and if they don’t get it, taking their business elsewhere has never been easier. As a result, customer loyalty is now a big issue for CEOs. In KPMG’s UK CEO Outlook 2016, 88% identified it as a concern. They know there is a direct link between loyalty and driving top-line growth. As they target new customers and pursue growth, they must retain existing customers in order to protect their core.

As organisations work harder to keep their customers, they are finding new ways to engage with them. Many of the approaches they choose are driven by data and technology. This means the CIO has a key role to play. Alongside the continuing challenge of bringing automation, speed, and agility to the back office, the CIO can now help the organisation bring focus to customer experience investments and respond to changing market dynamics.

Harnessing data and analytics

The first challenge for the CIO concerns the most important system of record for the customer that the organisation has: the CRM system. This has potential to add significant value to the customer experience and to the organisation itself. But to deliver, it must be used in the right way and the data it holds must be accessible for the whole enterprise.

Beyond the CRM system, the CIO can lead the way on how the organisation harvests and uses the data that customers leave behind as they engage at different touch points. Data from these interactions provides vital clues to who customers are, what they value, and how they act. Combined with other ‘voice of the customer’ data, such as social listening, this information can help the organisation understand customers better, and design and deliver a superior customer experience that promotes loyalty and supports growth.  

Transforming customer engagement

Consumers are shifting decisively to mobile, making this their preferred channel for engaging with the businesses they buy from. CIOs can help ensure the organisation is positioned to reflect this shift and has a ‘mobile first’ mind set. Mobile engagement should be connected seamlessly to other customer touchpoints, including call centres, sales floors, front desks and digital service platforms.

The CIO also has a pivotal role to play in enabling how treatments are delivered to the customer. Next-best-action technologies, which consider and choose the next best action for each customer from a range of options, and centralised decisioning tools, should lead the customer to the point of purchase in a comprehensive and organised way.

In all of this, the key to success is being agile. CIOs, who may be more used to legacy delivery models, need to embrace and implement new systems, apps and technologies fast. IT organisations are the quickest off the mark on this. Many are accelerating from idea to execution with scrums and hackathons, and testing minimally viable products in an innovation cell environment to get rapid feedback from the customer and get their products into market.

Keeping pace with today’s customer       

As fast-developing technologies drive customer expectations still higher, the pressure to innovate and keep pace with customers grows. This is surely why, in KPMG’s UK CEO Outlook 2016, most CEOs said they are concerned about dealing with issues they have never had to confront before.

By adopting a new perspective – one that takes in the entire ecosystem, not just the IT organisation – the CIO can help the CEO meet the challenge. Keeping an eye on emerging technologies that enable the business to evolve quickly and deliver intelligently is also key. All this must be done while making sure the organisation provides the tools to enable the entire team — never forgetting to harness data streams and pay attention to the competition.

Are you ready to help your organisation use technology to understand customers better and transform the customer experience?

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