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Digital customer
experience (CX):
What CIOs
need to know

Author: Amrita Singh

With a multitude of digital tools at their disposal, today’s consumers have more power than ever before. At the heart of it all, is the demand for a seamless digital customer experience (CX) across all of their smart devices and channels.

In response, companies are leveraging big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to meet these rising consumer expectations. Technology is shaping digital CX in ways that were unimaginable 10 years ago.

With the increased demand for a seamless digital customer experience, the role of the chief information officer (CIO) is also undergoing a big transformation. The job is no longer just about managing IT. Increasingly, it is about the need to drive digital CX through technology investment, and some CIOs are struggling to keep pace with these changes. They’re clinging to the status quo, instead of working across organizations and leading their company’s digital customer experience strategies.

And this is a mistake. If you don’t embrace digital CX at every level of your business strategy, you could soon be losing customers.

The evolution of digital customer experience

Digital customer experience continues to grow and expand to meet consumer needs and demands.

To illustrate this point, consider the following scenario. You decide last-minute to invite your colleagues over for dinner. You need wine and groceries ASAP but don’t want to battle the rush hour traffic. You scan the internet and compare options. One supermarket lets you place orders directly through your smartphone app. A second store does the same, but also analyzes your last purchase and predicts exactly what you need. A third supermarket does all of these things, but also guarantees delivery within a one-hour time frame. Which option will you choose?

Most people would probably choose the third option. In our fast-paced world of digital innovation, choice often comes down to a few minutes saved, and the smallest delay or outdated choices can produce a poor customer experience. To stay competitive, outstanding digital CX isn’t just nice to have, it’s crucial.

Furthermore, positive digital CX needs to be delivered across multiple channels and devices so customers can make purchases when and how they please. Convenience is king.

And with the next wave of digital disruption already in motion—blockchain, IoT and 5G networks — digital CX will become an even stronger competitive differentiator.

How can CIOs embrace digital CX?

In a world of groundbreaking digital CX, why should consumers choose your brand?

Today’s CIOs need to be fully engaged in the end-to-end process, stay at the forefront of technological innovation and enable an omnichannel experience that the customer demands and deserves. To embrace digital CX, today’s CIOs should start with these key strategies.

Create a digital customer experience within IT

Traditionally, IT has been separate from marketing and other parts of the business that focus on CX. This culture needs to change. CIOs need to create a digital customer experience within IT. That means they need to train their teams on contemporary skills that include digital CX concepts, consumer data analytics and communication so that they can connect with business leaders on their terms.

Likewise, CIOs should realign metrics to measure business outcomes. Staying aligned with the business enables all stakeholders to stay focused on common digital CX objectives and drive a culture of collaboration.

Build a close relationship with your CMO

More investments are being prioritized by the CMO because businesses lean more on them to deliver on digital transformation that aligns with customer journey and helps to enable growth.

As a result, CIOs are shifting investment priorities toward business outcomes and customer experience improvements. CIOs have to adapt quickly to this phenomenon, and they need to modify their approach from a traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) delivery model to a strategy that’s more agile, contemporary and focused on the customer experience.

The relationships between functional leaders and CMOs are more relevant today than before, because the ability for all leaders to communicate in business terms enables all areas to deliver accelerated business outcomes.

Understand the customer journey

Customers should be at the heart of your strategy. The best way to focus on the customer is by envisioning the desired outcome (or customer experience) and working backward to create the solution.

This is where partnering with your CMO can be beneficial because they can help you to better understand the customer journey from a business perspective.

The IT organization also understands the business process because they likely helped design the customer journey, and they now support what they helped build. They can help architect the “to-be” and then digitize the process to reduce the cycle time and deliver a great digital customer experience. Partnering with the organization that manages the customer journey and understands it from a business perspective helps you to develop relevant solutions that can enable you to connect directly with customers to solicit honest feedback when new digital CX initiatives are rolled out.

Leverage big data and AI

To help create a great digital customer experience, CIOs need to take full advantage of the wealth of data available to them, which is growing rapidly thanks to AI, IoT and social media. The rise of AI will help organizations make sense of this data and develop actionable insights. When partnering with the CMO, CIOs need to become experts in customer data analytics and forecasting. Never rely on preconceived notions of who your customers are—their expectations are constantly evolving, and your technology needs to evolve with them.

Network and share ideas

To succeed in business, expand your circle to include a variety of people with different talents and skill sets. This means networking with other CIOs and technology executives who are paving the way in digital CX innovation to share knowledge and learn from each other’s successes. Networking is an opportunity to discover new ways to put the customer at the heart of your digital CX strategy.

Learn more about digital CX and how Verizon can help you create a seamless digital customer experience, so that you not only meet but also exceed customer expectations.

Amrita Singh is Manager, Product Marketing Customer Experience and Contact Center Solutions at Verizon.