IT organizations often talk about customer service but, they frequently mistake customer service as a strategy with emphasis placed on providing good service. They design services to meet service levels and they embrace metrics relating to availability, response times, resolution times, customer satisfaction scores, etc. However in today’s world, this just isn’t enough. IT’s focus needs to shift to customer intimacy.
When focused on customer intimacy, providing consistent, good service is a given. Customer intimacy begins when we focus on and commit to delivering business results. What is the best possible solution to the customer’s needs? Consideration is given to the customer’s overall objectives, technology trends, costs, business process improvement, engagement, innovation, and competitive advantage.
When an emphasis is placed on customer intimacy, the IT organization can solve problems the business may not realize exist. Every interaction with the business can be used to gather information,
analyze opportunities, and formulate an IT response.
Consider this example from an insurance company. An IT employee observed a customer service agent taking a call about coverage. The call was 30+ minutes as the agent had to navigate several different systems and screens to provide the information. Follow up research revealed that some simple system changes would reduce the complexity for the agent thereby reducing the call time by over 50%.
IT partnered with the business to optimize processes and outcomes through the use of technology. Through simple observation of an everyday business transaction, IT identified an issue and proactively engaged the business to solve a problem the business didn’t realize existed.
How does IT make the leap to customer intimacy? It starts with reevaluating the vision, strategy, and core values of the IT organization. The value proposition of customer intimacy needs to be fully explored and embedded into each of these areas. A thorough plan for the transition can be developed once the vision, strategy, core values, and value proposition are fully vetted but don’t be surprised if restructuring is required and new positions are identified.
With customer intimacy, IT is placing an emphasis on relationships, customer needs, and solutions. It is a cultural shift that will require careful planning and execution however, as this focus matures; a strong
partnership will form between IT and the business. IT will become a trusted service provider and a trusted advisor to the business.
Customer intimacy – an important step forward in IT transformation.
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