Saturday, February 20, 2016

Three Clarities of Running a Customer-Centric IT

When you really understand or attempt to capture the insight about what the customer actually want, that is when you can really develop an experience that fits them and their needs or desires.

Customer Experience Management is key to every business. It is not just important, it is vital for growth, development and to make sure you stay in business. IT has both internal and external customers. it has to deliver the quality services and solutions to delight internal users and engage employees in improving productivity and creativity. IT is also an integral and critical element in building business capabilities for digitizing every touch point of end Customer Experience and building a customer-centric organization. So how to run a customer-centric IT organization?

It is important to capture customer insight, not just getting information and understand it partially: Customer-facing applications are critical as at the end of the day they generate revenue for the business. If there is an outage it normally has a direct impact on revenue and consequently attention of the top management. But how to build and launch a successful team to provide first level support for an external customer facing application? How to frame the right questions to get the best feedback from customers. It's tricky to find the right mix of open-ended questions to get feedback we wouldn't have thought about and more precise questions to actually get the customer to think of something he/she wouldn't have thought about. Shall you ask broader questions or shall you initiate more narrow questions, every company just has to take a good look at which information would be the most valuable to them and tailor their questions accordingly. The value of customer feedback is in transforming it from information to insight and using this to interpret customer needs.

Customer-centricity is not equal to perfection, but about “Fit-for-Purpose”: The focus on perfection is indeed flawed, both as a practical matter and for the environment that is created. If you communicate your stance that you expect perfection as opposed to striving for it, then you will create timid underlings who will fear errors as oppose to reach for success. The next practice is to live as "customers." Digital is the age of empathy. The more difficult challenge is not just launching a successful team, but maintaining their motivation and focus. Point out that customer inquiries are not just support related, but can foster new and better ways the application can perform and optimize every touch point of customer experience. It is also important to building a culture of risk tolerance inspires the exercise of people's natural initiative and curiosity while fear of failure chokes it off. What the customers and clients generally want is a no-nonsense, fit-for-purpose, and hassle free solution to their needs, combined with as little interaction with the seller as possible. Fit-for-purpose" - is equally true for human relationships as for solutions to other needs. Improvement and achieving the right balance in any truly customer-centric organization requires all team members to believe that things can be improved.

Every IT project is a business project to either delight customers/employees or improve operational excellence:  One of the mistakes that IT even make is to run IT project as a purely technical challenge, without “keeping the end in mind” - the customer needs and business goals. So being customer-centric is a strategic objective, not just a performance indicator. A valid strategic objective and the strategy mapping allow you to first understand your customers and what they value, and then identifies how to best characterize that value through project portfolio management, define key indicators, and then define those measures appropriate to best assess the performance of these indicators because they show you how well they satisfy or delight customers. The fact is that KPIs are part of a conversation and not in themselves the conversation. Customer satisfaction to be a KPI and the defined area should possess a goal and measurement indicator stating that businesses are hitting or missing the objective. It’s essential to run IT as a business.

When you really understand or attempt to capture the insight about what the customer actually want, that is when you can really develop an experience that fits them and their needs or desires. Running a customer-centric IT would follow the principle to gain customer empathy. Building customer facing applications is both strategic to delight customer with new solutions, and also tactical to improve project success rate via building the mature team and experiment the best practices or the next practice, with the goal to run a customer-centric IT organization.


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