Last updated: CIO role: The X-factor in customer experience

CIO role: The X-factor in customer experience


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So many things go into delivering an experience worthy of customers staying engaged with us for the long haul, through good times and bad, even as their needs and expectations change over time.

Sometimes that means giving them what they need to do stuff for themselves; other times it means giving them lots of help to get past a tough situation. It always requires giving them the information, products, services and options they need at any given moment for their current situation.

Today, getting CX right isn’t just the responsibility of customer-facing employees. The CIO – who provides the systems, tools and policies needed to deliver stellar experiences – plays a critical role.

Behind-the-scenes: The CIO role in CX

Before a recent business trip, I needed to buy a battery for my video camera. Usually, price would be the most important factor, but I needed it in a few days. The site selling the battery for the best price didn’t say if they could get it to me in time. A local store claimed it was in stock, but I found otherwise when I got there; store employees told me to try another location 50 miles away.

Finally, a retailer provided enough information on their website for me to easily find the battery I needed, and to determine if I could get it in time for my trip, and options for getting it delivered or BOPIS. So I ordered it online, picked it up in the store, got on the plane, and had a great trip with a camera that was ready to go.

The experience with this retailer was a good one for several reasons:

  • The website made it easy for me to find what I needed
  • They provided real-time info on its availability and options for how to get it
  • They provided notification when it was ready to be picked up
  • BOPIS was quick and easy
  • Signing up for their loyalty program was easy

What’s going on behind the scenes to make this all simple from the customer’s perspective isn’t even close to being… well… simple. In fact it’s pretty complex, because it takes real-time information coming from a variety of systems – from both front and back offices – to make it work.

And while timing and availability drove my decision this time, maybe next time it’s pricing, or recommendations, or something else that hopefully can be identified by systems analyzing all the data coming from each interaction/transaction they have with me. The CIO role makes this possible.

Bringing it all together

Bringing the varied systems, processes, functions, and roles all together to consistently provide customers with the experiences they expect at the time they need them is critical to building strong, long-lasting relationships. Making sure these experiences are delivered in a safe, secure fashion adds additional essential layers of complexity on top of all that.

This is why it’s not just front-line employees interacting with customers who are critical for successful CX today. The CIO and technology leaders who provide platforms, systems, and policies also are essential.

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Consider the types of infrastructure needed to deliver the smooth, secure, and personalized experiences customers want:

  1. Platforms that manage customer data coming from multiple sources
  2. CRM systems that foster collaboration for consistent CX
  3. Integration with inventory management and finance systems

In fact, the CIO role in customer experience will only grow more important as adoption of new interaction channels and connected devices continues to accelerate. Tech leaders will need to ensure efficient and effective flow of an amazing amount of information so that a company can produce consistently better products, services, processes and interactions.

They’ll also need to make sure teams from multiple geographies have what they need to make it happen. And the right guidelines will need to be implemented to ensure data security and privacy.

We are the champions🎵 Hear what top experts say tech leaders need to do to rock CX in 2023. Listen HERE.

AI, the CIO, and CX

Tech leadership’s impact on customer experience will continue to grow as technologies like generative AI and ChatGPT become even more integrated into business.

Some marketers are already using AI to write better copy for their campaigns, and to suggest recommendations for the best images/videos to use for a specific social channel.

Going back to my battery-buying experience, AI could help guide me to the best battery. Or it could even help companies determine how many batteries they should stock in certain fulfillment centers to ensure availability.

A lot of things that have to come together to make it all work. CIOs and other tech leadership will need to lead the charge to make it happen, helping to make customers happy enough to keep the relationship going.

Amazing every time.

A CX that drives loyalty + bottom lines starts HERE.

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