Think about the part that IT plays in the customer relationship. Most companies have a heavy IT presence in the pre-transaction relationship. IT’s role extends from supporting customer service applications to website implementation to downloadable apps used by customers. The role of technology has increased significantly in the past decade as more and more people are adopting the Internet and mobile devices for their shopping experience.
What has not happened a great deal is integrating technology and IT into the post-transaction customer experience. Think about it. Once you have a sale made, the customer’s technical experience with the company dwindles to practically nothing. They might use the website to leave feedback. If there is a problem, they might call customer service.
That is rapidly changing in some of the smarter companies out there.
Some companies are starting to integrate technology into their products to enhance customer experience. A now-classic example of this is Konica. The maker of copiers began integrating sensors into its copiers over a decade ago. The sensors collect data about how the customer is using the copier and what area of the copier may be causing problems. When a service technician comes to make a repair, that information is priceless for diagnosing and correcting a problem quickly. These sensors also offer critical information for tracking usage against service contracts.
How well would this model work for your company?
The CIO can assess and come up with recommendations. Most companies fall into three categories. Each category requires different action from the CIO’s perspective:
- The company has a well-developed, post-transaction service ability. The CIO needs to make sure that IT’s role is well-defined and that it is part of emerging development from the earliest stages. This shows IT’s value in customer delivery at this stage.
- The company is developing or piloting a post-transaction service capability. The CIO needs to ensure that IT’s role in post-customer transaction services is highlighted. This includes being fully involved with planning and innovation activities.
- The company has no post-transaction service capability and has no plans for it. This opens an opportunity for the CIO to introduce the idea to the executive team. This makes IT the leader in the company in introducing the concept and making it happen.
Post-transaction customer service helps to open up future sales with clients. That is how a smart CIO can extend the IT department’s impact into expanding the company’s future profit margins.