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Five CIO Strategies to Create a Customer Experience (CX) Roadmap

Published: Jan 30, 2019

Across almost every industry, customer experience (CX) is climbing up the agenda—and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and IT leaders are under increasing pressure to champion CX throughout the wider business and create CX roadmaps. Are you ready? 

The role of CIOs and other IT leaders looks very different compared to five years ago. Their jobs were once focused on IT, systems and internal users, but now they have a new area to master—customer experience (CX). New positions like Chief Digital Officer and Chief Innovation Officer are appearing across almost every industry, reflecting these new priorities. In fact, excelling at CX is now crucial to CIOs staying relevant.

Here are five key CIO strategies to help you elevate your company’s CX in 2019.

1. Develop a CX roadmap 

CX roadmaps are not one-size-fits-all. Your customers are different and so are the ways they wish to communicate. Some might want to contact your business through social media, chatbots or WhatsApp, while others prefer to call your contact center directly. The list of digital channels is always growing. It’s important that you identify the right digital approach for serving your customers, rather than adopting every fad that comes along. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics engines can help by making sense of data from your existing channels and giving you granular insights into customer preferences. This can be used to create a CX deployment roadmap enabling you to prioritize the technologies that will have the biggest impact on your organization’s key metrics. Your roadmap should also consider how your new solutions will work with legacy infrastructure.

2. Make the CMO your closest ally 

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) are typically guardians of CX. That makes them powerful allies, vital to expanding your influence within the wider business. In turn, they might need your help to deploy the right technologies to follow your CX roadmap, and to make sense of the sea of customer data they’re gathering. 

This means you can’t afford to work in a siloed fashion—CIOs and CMOs need to set aside traditional differences and start collaborating together on a regular basis. You need to drive a customer-centric culture from the top down, across every department, and set aligned CX KPIs for employees in every department to strive toward. Measuring the success of your initiatives will also require sharing data openly and transparently across your business.

“Once the CIOs become owners of the customer experience, they have a lot more power to convince the C-Suite of the need for digital transformation.”

—Sanjeev Jain, Chief Information Officer EMEA, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

3. Get your team speaking CX 

While a CX roadmap must be prioritized from the top, it should permeate all levels of your department. IT employees may not be used to looking at things from a CX perspective. They’re probably used to being immersed in technology, but they need to have the experience being provided to both internal users and end users top of mind. 

Instilling this culture change may require regular CX workshops, training and collaboration between IT and marketing. It can help to recruit a small team of “CX champions” to lead this shift across both your departments, uniting everyone on the shared digital transformation journey.

4. Empower staff with the right tools 

CX is only half the story—the employee experience matters too. Your CX roadmap should aim to deliver the same seamless, digital experience that you’re providing customers with to your internal IT users. In an ideal environment, every customer who calls up your business can be greeted by name—and the agent instantly knows the issue they’re trying to resolve, because they can see their whole interaction history on a real-time dashboard. 

An AI-powered knowledge base combined with a dynamic chatbot can greatly speed up issue resolution, by suggesting answers to employees in real-time. It can even automate decision-making on difficult issues that would usually require managerial sign-off, such as when to offer discounts to customers—freeing up supervisors to focus on driving broader CX objectives. 

5. Have a flexible IT platform 

To deliver on your CX roadmap, all these things you need a robust and scalable infrastructure that’s built for agility. Transitioning to a flexible IT platform can help you innovate and deploy solutions fast. It means you can trial new digital channels and technologies, so you can pilot and validate their effectiveness before making a full investment. It can also help you allocate bandwidth in an intelligent way that responds to peaks and troughs in demand.

Data will also be essential to your CX transformation, and that means you need to earn your customers’ trust. It’s important to foster a culture of transparency in your department and take concrete steps to keep your systems secure. Many cloud-based IT platform providers have security built into their services. This can help you adhere to the latest data privacy regulations.

Read our full report to learn more about how a flexible IT platform can help you drive better CX.