Customers are your biggest asset and you don’t want to give them any reason to leave. For that reason alone, the customer service experience is an area of increasing importance for many companies.
Before the internet, companies shared a limited connection with their customers and the customer experience only mattered during business hours. In today’s technology driven world, customers have access to businesses 24/7. Most companies have websites, social media accounts and a number of communication channels that give customers perpetual access to business anytime from anywhere.
Who is responsible for ensuring your customers are happy every time they reach out? Communications, Sales, Marketing, the CEO? Although they all play a role, the individual with the greatest impact on customer experience is the CIO. Even though the CIO may never actually have direct contact with a customer, it’s the CIO’s responsibility to deploy and maintain technologies that allow uninterrupted channels of communication with customers and prospects.
The Impact of Happy Customers
It’s pretty simple: happy customers help a company meet the bottom line, while unhappy customers can diminish a company’s brand and revenue. Forrester data shows that a 10 percent improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion in increased revenue and other benefits.
Technology has increased the number of available communication channels, drastically improving the company reach. It’s vital for Information Technology Groups to provide a quick and consistent experience through the channel preferred by their customer. This can be a challenge since today’s customer service technology has turned into a rather complex ecosystem.
The CIO’s Role
So, how can a CIO simplify this ecosystem, while still delivering positive customer service that meets the company’s customer expectations? Here are five recommendations:
Innovate. It’s important to stay on top of the latest trends so your competition doesn’t pass you. Some trends may be short-lived, but others will catch on and add value to your company.
Research. It’s important to understand the communication preferences of your customers to ensure that specific channel is available. I recommend surveying your customers periodically to get their input on what they need. Remove the guess work!
Educate. Make individuals who come into contact with your company aware of all the communication channels. It is never good to lose a customer due to a lack of online support when you actual offered online support. Awareness is key.
Execute. Your customer service technologies have to deliver a high level experience and interaction to create happy customers. Technology can quickly turn a happy customer into a frustrated customer.
Measure. Simply building stable communication channels is not enough to keep your momentum going. Continuous monitoring and surveying are required to ensure the customers are getting what they need. Consumer preferences change as quickly as you can drop an Android™ for an iPhone®, or vice versa.
How a customer feels about a company is ultimately the most important factor that determines if he/she remains a customer of your company. As a CIO, how will you ensure your customers are having a good experience and viewing your company in a positive light?