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Syam Krishnan - CX Strategy Development Director Oracle
IT leaders are under threat from new pressures. Gone are the days where keeping the lights on and minimising cost were the barometer of success. As companies look to grow their business, new battlegrounds are forming and there are others leading the charge in the organisation, leaving IT behind.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There are also opportunities. As the custodian of a number of key assets such as infrastructure, data and channel tools & applications, other leaders within the organisation should look to IT as overseer and reformer of these assets to help lead the change in CX Strategies.
To make this happen, IT leaders need to make sense of the role of Technology in CX strategy and design and to then engage their peers on that basis. It is the aggregate and glue across the respective Product, Marketing, Sales and Service functions.
Understanding the constituent parts of CX can be difficult. Equally, understanding where and how IT should support in achieving it can be subjective and clouded. Technology is pivotal to the success of any CX agenda – we are already seeing the role of Digital and disruptive technology redraw barriers to market entry and increase the level of interaction with customers.
As an IT leader you need to frame discussions with the different functions about driving transformational change:
From an IT leader’s perspective, at the core of CX is data and infrastructure. As with all insight and decision-making, the ability to collate, analyse and disseminate information is paramount. Enabling insights specifically for the purpose of understanding more about customers and their interactions is vital. Other Executives will value this level of insight.
We’ve seen the effect Digital has had over the last two decades and the explosive impact of mobile. New channels help to attract and retain customers by making it more convenient to interact with your organisation. However, the full potential of these channels is only occasionally unlocked as they are treated separately, as silos. IT can help break this silo mentality and utilise technology to better integrate channels.
Leading organisations have recognised this and are transforming their business by integrating channels to great effect, creating even simpler, more convenient experiences for customers. Not only are they reducing costs by shifting low-value activities to cheaper-to-serve channels but they are also using it to differentiate and capture new customers.
One of the key areas involved in CX and an area of your organisation with the biggest appetite for technology is Products and Marketing. Marketers know what it means to have great CX in place, but where IT helps, is in making it happen.
One such area is customer segmentation. The evolving complexity and scale of understanding customers requires an ability to capture and model customer data from myriad of sources and make this consumable for the business.
Another challenge with CX is utilising customer feedback about your business from the multitude of channels available. Due to its perishable, unstructured nature, many organisations have traditionally struggled to make use of the ‘customer’s voice’. The advent of Social Media and BI make it possible to capture trends and turn this into actionable information for Marketers. IT can make this happen.
An important area for sales is the forecasting and planning of products/availability for the market. Once again a clear Sales Force Automation, Sales Performance and Incentive compensation solution with BI can be used to support this activity, making it predictable, measurable and therefore controllable.
One fundamental area of Service is knowing your products, services, communications and processes better than anyone. Moments of truth commonly occur when a customer is in an ‘hour of need’. No single employee can be expected to know all this information. That makes the use of Knowledge Management systems vital. IT has the tools and expertise to ensure that colleagues interacting with Customers have all this information at their fingertips.
A further complication to this is that a growing area of Servicing is that of real-time issue resolution. Many companies are using in-session chat to answer customer queries before they snowball into issues.
By no mistake this offers a better Customer Experience but once again, IT possesses the infrastructure and capability to make these interactions possible. It then turns to Customer Services to make full use of them.
The final step is to bring together the above items not only to create great individual interactions but also, to create a bond full of great experiences. Through a better understanding of customer needs, the desired relationship (on both sides) and when and how this relationship should be conducted, IT can help business improve interactions through relationship based activities.
No one is better placed than an IT leader to identify new technology and understand how it can be used to support and in some cases transform an organisation’s way of thinking around Customer Experience.
IT Leaders are key in the CX machine of any organisation. They clearly play a major role in transforming the Customer Experience and speak the language of the business.
Consumer psychology expert Philip Graves, explains the three key customer behaviours critical to understand for great customer service delivery. Watch his video here.