Customer Service And A CIO – A Match Made In Heaven?

The CIO can play a big role in improving customer service
The CIO can play a big role in improving customer service
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Your company’s customer service is something that all too often people who have the CIO job don’t spend a lot of time thinking about. However, considering the impact that a company’s level of customer service can have on its bottom line, perhaps we should be paying more attention to this critical business function.

Why Customer Service Matters

Should a CIO really spend any time worrying about how his or her company delivers customer service? I mean, shouldn’t a CIO’s time be filled with things that have to do with the importance of information technology: clouds, vendors, and virtualization? It turns out that customer service has been found to be something that matters to a company. No longer is customer service considered to be a cost center, rather it’s something that directly contributes to a company’s bottom line.

The research firm Forrester has done a study that shows that a 10% improvement in how your firm does customer service can translate into millions of dollars on the bottom line. Looks like the CIO needs to get busy! The problem is that the seemingly simple task of providing your customers with high quality customer service has become very complex in the past few years.

With the arrival of social media and an explosion in the amount of data that firms keep on their customers, there are a lot more touch points, channels, etc. that can be used to put the firm in contact with its customers. Just trying to make it simple for customer service representatives to do their job is turning out to be a major task for any company. Looks like it’s time for the CIO to step in!

4 Things A CIO Needs To Do In Order To Improve Customer Service

As the CIO you need to find ways to support your customer service department. Here are four different things that you can do that will make their job easier and make them more effective:

  • Understand How Customers Want To Communicate: Here in the 21st Century, the company’s customers have a vast array of choices when it comes to how they want to get in touch with your company. As the CIO you need to take a look at the channels that your customers are currently using and then anticipate how they are going to want to get in touch with you going forward.
  • Support Cross-Channel Communication: In this hyper connected era in which we live, your customers are going to want to start their contact with your customer service team using one channel and continue it on another without having to restart it. This means that the company’s IT infrastructure is going to have to support this.
  • Provide The Right Data: Customer service agents are only as good as the data that they have to work with. The IT department has to ensure that they have the right data, in the right format, at the right time.
  • Measure, Measure, Measure: In order for the company to improve its customer service efforts, it has to know how it is currently doing. The IT department can help out by providing tools that measure the level of customer satisfaction and customer service agent productivity.

What All Of This Means For You

The person in the CIO position exists to help the company to run more smoothly and generate more profits. One area of the company’s operations that can benefit from help from the CIO is customer service. The better that a company performs its customer service function, the happier its customers will be.

In order to improve the level of customer service that the company can provide, CIOs need to do 4 things: understand how customers want to be communicated with, support cross-channel communication, provide access to the right data, and measure customer satisfaction metrics.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: How much of a CIOs time should be spent on improving customer service?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

If you pick up just about any IT magazine these days, you’ll see that everyone seems to have decided that we are now living in the age of “big data”. No data set is too large to be processed by your IT department. The rest of the company now understands the importance of information technology and they believe that all you have to do is drop the data in and magically actionable information should pop out that the entire company can start to use today.

Well, as with all things in life, it’s never quite that easy. Those of us who have the CIO job are starting to learn that along with big data comes some very large problems that they are going to have to find a way to solve. Let’s spend a moment and talk about 5 of these “big” problems…

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