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Why great CIOs focus on the customer experience

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by Lauren Hart Piper , Vice President, Product Management and Marketing

Customer experience is taking center stage on the agendas of most CIOs. This is expected given that markets are driven by customers.

The modern customer has a constant flow of information which influences his/ her engagement with brands he/she is interested in.  Businesses cannot control some of the sources of information the customer has access to such as social media and online review sites.  Without having control of these sites, businesses are at the mercy of the mission and goals of another organization’s strategies.

Today’s CIOs who are focused on the quality of the customer experience are bringing social business software into their organizations to create branded customer communities for marketing, product management and customer service.
It may be hard to quantify the return on investment (ROI) for customer experience. However, CIO’s that have dealt with the issue can attest to its value. Customer experience has a great effect on a company’s bottom line and CIOs are realizing this. This is why they are restructuring their business processes to include great customer experience from lead generation  to customer service. CIOs are now looking at their business from the customer’s point of view to gain better perspective on how to improve their experience.
The Buyer’s Journey

Customers buy products or services to satisfy a need. The process from the customer identifying the need to settling on a particular product or service is referred to as the buyer’s journey. During the journey, the customer goes through different phases. Each customer may experience his own unique journey.
The key to a better customer experience lies in understanding the buyer’s journey. To better understand customers and provide a good experience, it is prudent to segment them into persona groups in order to nurture and deepen relationships from prospect to customer.

Customer Service Quotes Jerry Gregoire

Systems of Engagement

Customer experience is not a one-person show. The principle should be spread across the entire organization.  All employees need to know the importance of the customer experience to the success of the business. Quick fixes to the customer experience will not help much. Contact points may occur on different levels so it is important that the customer experience is spread throughout the organization.

CIO’s may need to overhaul the entire customer experience, putting in support structures and systems of engagement such as social business software.  Social business software can assist the CIO by providing communication and collaboration tools to transform a business into a customer centric organization with branded social customer communities.  Unlike social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, social business software puts the ownership of the user experience in the hands of the business.   CIO’s need to assist their organizations in selecting social business software that can handle the various stages of the customer experience.  These stages include the different levels of engagement and collaboration among and between employees, customers, and partners.  In addition, the information and data from a customer community is invaluable to a business and needs to be easily connected to enterprise systems such as SalesForce for sales leads and customer service systems for exceptional customer support.

As prospects and customers continue to be the critical factor for any business, the great CIOs are rethinking their strategies based upon the customer experience. This can be the tipping of point between the success and failure of the business.

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