Jason du Preez, Senior Vice President Asia Pacific, SugarCRM, discusses why the CIO, CCO and CMO partnership is essential to Digital Transformation and customer experience with the result of making CX as frictionless as possible across all digital touchpoints.
The days of CIOs with roles that have little to do with customer experience (CX) are long gone. Technology is no longer just a support function for the operation of other business areas.
CIOs now have a critical role to play in ensuring that customers are more than anonymous visitors to a website and are able to find what they want and complete every interaction successfully.
Digital systems play a vital role in keeping the customer happy and today’s CIO must forge closer relationships with their colleagues in the C-suite. As well as ensuring systems are available and running optimally, they have a new set of responsibilities to make CX as frictionless as possible across all digital touchpoints, enhance reputation and customer loyalty by delivering on the promises made by the marketing and service teams.
This requires the CIO to collaborate with the Chief Customer Officer (CCO) and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to develop highly optimised CX. This goes further than just customer interfaces and extends to the security and performance of different backend systems, to ensure they are cohesive and reliable.
CX is now the competitive background for all businesses with CIOs playing an important role in delivering seamless digital experiences across web, mobile, SMS and in-store. The CIO’s role is quickly evolving from managing the back office to the front with a mandate to strengthen CX and positively impact the business bottom line.
Customers are now more interconnected than ever, through digital and subscription services which has put the CIO closer than ever to their experience.
How does a CIO achieve this? Digital Transformation, staying ahead of competitors and technology, and fulfiling customer expectations with a streamlined experience are the holy trinity for a CIO. It means understanding what CX is really about and engaging the skills of CX experts, marketers and data analysts to understand what customers want, the goals of the business and then creating user journeys that tap into the wants and needs of customers.
Invest in systems that deliver enhanced customer experience
CIOs must provide data-driven, high-definition customer experiences (HD-CX) and lead their organisations away from outdated systems to keep ahead of the competition.
Personalisation of services is one way the CIO can help the business achieve its goals. For example, Amazon’s Machine Learning-powered algorithm uses input about a customer’s interests to generate a list of recommended items. These recommendations drive 35% of Amazon’s sales. When you know more about a customer, you can better anticipate and accommodate their needs.
The power of Machine Learning systems is that they can learn and adapt without explicit instruction. CIOs can let CRM platforms do the work rather than burdening staff with painstaking and laborious data entry tasks. Systems automatically capture data and present it in context to everyone who needs it.
For example, when an online store delivers thousands of products and has millions of visitors, it’s impossible for humans to keep up with the flow of data. Machine Learning not only processes the data but it also reduces the potential for human error.
Achieving a complete view of the customer
Creating a powerful, engaging HD-CX relies on a complete view of the customer. To achieve that 360-degree view, a company must record every change in the customer journey to understand what the customer is looking for, their history of interactions and their current activities to reliably predict future preferences and trends.
Emerging and evolving technologies such as AI, voice recognition and personalisation are becoming indispensable to HD-CX. CIOs, as they collaborate more closely with CCOs and CMOs, need to understand how these powerful tools can be used and become advocates and evangelists. But that must happen in a way that makes sense to the business and not be weighed down with technobabble.
AI can deliver exceptional predictions, even without a complete CRM data set by tapping vast external data sets to consider factors the limited CRM data doesn’t cover and surface insights that a company may not have known existed.
The CIO can deliver tools that take data and turn it into useful information that can be used to create knowledge that translates into wisdom so better decisions and predictions can be made. These valuable insights enable businesses to make assured decisions and focus on the highest priority activities across marketing, sales and customer service.
Break down the silos
CIOs are uniquely placed to break down the departmental silo mentality to ensure a seamless user experience. They understand how each business function, from sales, services to marketing, support interactions at a data and systems level. This gives the CIO a unique perspective that isn’t bridled by the different needs of each function. The CIO can see where the data can be connected to build that much coveted 360-degree view.
Customers only see one brand and one organisation, they don’t see differences between contacting your sales and support teams. And it also makes sense to treat your customer as a single unit and not see them as someone you market to, someone who buys from you and someone else who contacts you for support.
Aligning and removing silos may seem impossible. But an advanced CRM system can bridge the gap and remove the blind spots. By combining customer data, and identifying and filling any gaps, while pairing it with the right technology, CIOs can obtain the intelligence they need to make both vital strategic and tactical decisions.
Utilising in-depth, cross-siloed customer data will enable the CIO to shine in this new aspect of their remit, providing a clear and unified view of the customer, all without adding a lot of cost into the business.
Removing the administrative burden placed on sales, marketing and service teams, embracing technologies that make HD-CX possible, and eradicating data silos are the key steps in the CIO developing a strong partnership with the CCO and CMO.
In a fast-changing business environment, it is fundamental that CIOs examine trends and embrace Digital Transformation to successfully stay ahead of the competition and future-proof their company.Click below to share this article