A New CIO Directive: Put your (End) Customers Front and Center

Customer-Experience-SatisfactionIn case you haven’t heard the news: CIOs have a new customer – the end user. A new study conducted by IBM Corp. finds that today’s fickle customers are driving CIOs to refocus their efforts from the back office to the front office. The study (entitled “Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines – CIO Insights from the Global C-Suite Study”) was based on interviews with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries and 20 industries around the globe.

For today’s CIOs, business strategy and the end customer experience are becoming one and the same.

CIOs are coming to understand that in the 21st economy the way their customers buy and consume their products and services is changing. It’s actually pretty simple – their customers want what they want, how they want it, when they want it – and the competitive environment to acquire and retain these target customers is fierce. This new dynamic requires that CIOs invest in the technologies that can enable all the processes and responses that create successful long-term relationships with the end customer. Which isn’t simple at all (but that’s another post).

This new study corroborates Aria’s experience with our own customers—the technology with which a company approaches its customer engagement strategy matters greatly to forging strong recurring relationships. In fact, according to the IBM research, 80 percent of the CIOs interviewed said they are refocusing their attention to the front office traditionally where marketing, sales and service managers work directly with customers. An even greater number – 84 percent – are investing in new technologies to gain deeper insights and develop better intelligence about customer data.

And new trends like “The Internet of Things” further highlight the need to have the right system in place from the outset versus bolting it on later.

To maximize impact on the top line, we’ll see more and more CIOs get closer to the source of the sale – the front lines of company and customer interaction. Enabling strong customer relationships, that endure over time, is a key area of expertise that every “cloud billing” solution should effectively manage.

In the end, getting close and staying close to the customer improves the overall customer experience and, in turn, the top line growth so that everybody wins.