Tag Archives: Good ITSM

When Your Remote Work Solution is No Longer a Solution

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CIOs led the overnight transformation from in-office to remote work environments for many organizations in 2020. All over the world, CIOs enabled their organizations to continue work and stay in business amid a global pandemic. The accomplishment was astounding and for many CIOs, it earned them a rightful place as a strategic leader in the company.

However, there’s a difference between the COVID-19 stopgaps many organizations put into place and true work-from-home solutions.

What is the difference?

The work from home solutions put in place enabled the organization to work in the way it was already working. Most of these remote work solutions didn’t introduce anything new to the organization. They really just moved the metaphorical water cooler from the office into employee homes.

However, what these solutions did do is open up a vision to what else could be possible in terms of remote work and having a flexible workforce.

It’s becoming increasingly important that organizations take their remote work solutions one step further and expand into new ways of working and supporting new business models through remote work.

The pandemic has changed work-life for good. According to a study from US-based Enterprise Technology Research, IT leaders “expect permanent remote work to double to 34.4% of their companies’ workforces in 2021, compared with 16.4% before the coronavirus outbreak.”

Not only are more employees working from home, but many businesses have also pivoted during the pandemic. Some organizations have developed new revenue streams. Others have adapted to different business models. In short, the business has changed.

IT needs to determine if the remote work solutions they put into place this past spring are actual remote work solutions – or if they are just bandaids. Why? Because this is just the beginning of change. The way we do business has been forever altered because of COVID-19. Traditional ways of working are a thing of the past. We’re going to see more hybrid office models and higher expectations from both customers and employees on what the business needs to deliver.

This is where the rubber meets the road for IT. Every organization has to adapt and they can’t do that without IT. Smart CIOs know they can’t point to this past spring and say “we’ve already innovated!” IT must be able to lead the business into a future that is completely reliant on technology-based solutions.

So where does that start? How can you ensure your organization is ready for the future?

We must start with the foundation – and that foundation includes service management. Now, before you roll your eyes and say “been there, done that”, let’s talk about why you should revisit your service management foundation right now.

The changes in your business may require a change in your foundation.

You may have had the smoothest, most cohesive workflows, value streams, and service management practices before COVID-19. But things have evolved and your service management practices need to also evolve to better support those changes.

Your foundations may have already had cracks in it.

Over time, foundations tend to shift. This is true for houses – and for service management. Perhaps pre-COVID-19, your service management practices were working well enough. Maybe there were one or two gaps in communication or service delivery but nothing significant enough to warrant restructuring or strengthening your service management practices. Well if something was only working well enough during the relatively stable period before COVID, then it’s not going to keep working well enough during the uncertainty of business during a pandemic.

Service management hasn’t been extended into the enterprise.

Enterprise service management is not a new idea. But many organizations have resisted it or many organizations thought they were implementing Enterprise Service Management when really they were just extending a few IT workflows. Silos, especially IT silos cannot be the norm anymore. With new ways of working, shifting business models, tightened budgets, and an uncertain business climate, it’s more important than ever for IT and other parts of the organization to collaborate to co-create value and drive the business forward.

Band-aid solutions will only make everything worse in the long run.

Finally, we all need to recognize that some of the solutions IT implemented in response to the pandemic were never meant to be long term solutions. I think IT departments and CIOs across the country produced some of their best work this year with the rapid transition to remote work. What was accomplished is extraordinary but it was only one piece of the puzzle. We didn’t know in the spring how much COVID would change businesses. We didn’t realize we had to create sustainable solutions for remote work, new business models, and new revenue streams. Most leaders made the best choices they had at the time. But now that we know this is a long term situation, we have to revisit the choices made and the solutions put into place to ensure if they are still the best options available. Because if they aren’t, they could slow down workflows, stress out employees, create silos, and hold back business growth.

All things considered, this is a unique opportunity for every IT organization. There’s never been a moment like this one that is so prime for strengthening service management, breaking down silos, and leveraging technology. The end of 2020 isn’t going to magically end the uncertainty in the world right now. The problems of today will continue presenting themselves until we make the necessary changes. Take advantage of this time of uncertainty to strengthen your service management foundation because that will help you in 2021 and beyond.

If you haven’t taken stock of the strength of your service management practices yet, here’s what you can do:

Align your service management goals with the organization’s strategic goals

With a new year right around the corner, IT needs to align themselves with the rest of the organization and create strategic goals that will support the entire organization. Revisit your plans for 2021 and make adjustments if necessary so you can prioritize service management initiatives that align with business goals.

Define and map your value streams

The way value flows through your organization to the end customer has probably changed. Your value streams and their supporting workflows will have changed as well. Value streams are cross-departmental so while you’re aligning strategic goals, collaborate with other parts of the organization to map your new value streams and ensure IT is supporting the entire journey — all the way to the end customer.

With clear strategic goals and redefined value streams, you’ll find yourself in a stronger position to help the business innovate and survive this chapter – and the ones to come.

 

Is your remote work solution no longer working? Book a free 30-minute consultation with me to discuss how to find longer

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Can the CIO Save The Day?

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This year has been a banner year for IT. It’s only because of IT that so many organizations could continue operating in the face of the pandemic. IT has done its job on winning over the rest of the organization and most of the organizations now know they can count on IT. According to the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, 61% of the 4,200 IT leaders surveyed said that the pandemic has permanently increased the influence of the technology leader. So how can the CIO and IT leverage this new-found influence? How can IT become more than the team that keeps the lights on? 

I think that this new influence can help the CIO become the most valuable player on the leadership team because they’re the glue that keeps everything together.

Now, some may argue that the CIO has been thought of only as leading a support team for decades. So they could not in fact be the glue holding an organization together. But that was before the technology boom. Today, technology is a foundational component for every business. From communication to employee experience to the customer journey, technology plays an important role in every piece of every business. As the impact of technology has grown, so must the role of IT. While IT and the CIO used to only solve technology issues, they now must solve business issues because the business needs technology. 

That’s why the CIO has the opportunity that no other executive does. No other executive can impact another department as much as the CIO can.  

This is, of course, a force that can be used for good – or evil. The CIO can be the bottleneck, holding back every initiative due to poor service or inefficient workflows. But they can also be the hero of the organization: playing an integral,difference-making role in every initiative.

John Bruno, Chief Information Officer at Aon, explains that the CIO role can become “an integrator – someone that works across the entire organization.”  

So what can a CIO do begin breaking down the silos and helping other departments?

 

  1. Get out of IT and into other departments.

The biggest problem so many CIOs have is that they can’t see the forest through the trees. Or to put it in more blunt terms, they can’t overcome the IT fire-fights that come up every day to actually get out of IT to see what’s happening in the rest of the organization. It is absolutely imperative that today’s CIOs do this. If you don’t feel that you can see beyond IT issues, then you’re not going to be able to support the organization as you need to because CIOs have to be the integrator. They have to be the ones to connect the dots and it’s impossible to do without collaborating with other executives and understanding what is occurring in their departments. 

What would happen if you as the CIO were able to take 2-3 hours a week to meet with other executives to understand their initiatives – and how IT can help make those initiatives successful? What would it cost you? If your IT organization were to implode because the CIO took 2-3 hours every week to work with other departments rather than help put out IT fires, then your approach to service management needs attention. The right service management workflows and foundation ensure that IT runs smoothly and is able to serve the organization, while the CIO works to innovate other areas of the organization. If you’re struggling to even find the time to work with other departments and trust that your IT team can keep running, it’s time to clean up your service management. Book a consultation with me and we can discuss how to get started.

 

  1. Identify the impact of technology in other department initiatives 

As I said earlier, technology is the thread that ties everything together and as the CIO, you hold the thread. You should be actively looking for ways to enhance other department initiatives with technology. 

In the old days of IT, many CIOs would roll their eyes at the idea of making more work for themselves by collaborating with other departments. But today, the innovative CIO knows that it’s not about making more work for IT. It’s about unlocking opportunities for IT to step up and play a more influential role in the organization. 

That means that CIOs have to get comfortable offering suggestions and solutions to other executives. Imagine what would happen if a CIO offered to support the head of HR in automating and digitizing the employee onboarding process. Imagine HR and IT co-creating that solution together, instead of HR assuming what technology they needed or IT forcing a solution upon HR without even understanding the complexity of the problem. 

Instead of a forced solution where neither side is happy, everyone would walk away with a collaborative outcome that improved the business overall.

And this isn’t just an HR opportunity. The CIO could do this for every other department.  Because you as the CIO are the expert in technology, you can offer your expertise to every area of the organization. 

 

How to Get Started

First, before you start working with any other department, you need to be certain that IT can operate efficiently. That means optimizing workflows and identifying any gaps in your service delivery. You can’t offer value to anyone else without first cleaning up your own department. (And if you need help, that’s my specialty! Book a consultation here.)

Once you’ve done that, begin forming partnerships with other executives. Invite them to ongoing meetings to learn about their initiatives and technology needs. If you approach this partnership as an opportunity for their department to achieve their initiatives faster and with less resistance from IT, then they are going to be onboard with working with you. 

Slowly but surely, you can begin to work with every department in this manner and before you know it, the CIO has not only elevated the status of IT but also the entire organization. 

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Can good ESM lead to better EX?

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What is employee experience (EX)?

A recent Forbes magazine article described EX as “the sum of all interactions that an employee has with her employer during the duration of her employment relationship. It includes any way the employee “touches” or interacts with the company and vice versa in the course of doing her job. And, importantly, it includes her feelings, emotions and perceptions of those interactions.”

What companies are learning is that EX is a really big deal and is becoming a critical factor in the success of the modern organization.

Why all the fuss?

There are a number of reasons why EX is getting so much attention across businesses today.  First, happy employees make for happy customers.  This Harvard Business Review article discussed the strong statistical link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction.  A study conducted by Glassdoor showed that a happier workforce is clearly associated with an organization’s ability to deliver better customer satisfaction.

It is easier and less expensive to recruit, retain, and grow employees when there is consistently positive EX.  When companies create outstanding experiences for their employees, people want to work for and stay with these companies.[1]

Another Forbes article discussed the correlation between good EX and profitability and value.  For example, the stock prices of companies appearing on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies rose 14% per year from 1998-2005; stock prices only rose 6% for companies not on this list.  A Globoforce-IBM study found that organizations that scored in the 25% on EX saw 3x return on assets and 2x return on sales.

Indicators of good EX

But here’s the thing.  EX cannot be directly measured.  Think about it – how can you measure how someone feels?  Sure, you can conduct surveys or interviews and get a general impression of how employees feel about their employers and work environment, but this approach has some level of subjectivity.

Secondly, many organizations are under a mistaken perception that EX is just something to check off a list.  But EX is not just about employee appreciation lunches or passing out gift cards, nor is it something that is just the responsibility of an HR organization.  Rather, it’s the entire organization that influences and promotes EX.

Good EX is largely the result of an organizational culture that values employee contribution, collaboration, well-being, purpose, and other factors within the workplace.  It truly does come down to how employees feel about their organization, their management, and their job.

Good EX might be indicated by high net promoter scores, high employee retention rates, or smaller time-to-hire measures.  As mentioned above, good EX may even show up on the bottom line in the form of increased profits or market value.  But none of these indicators are scientific measures good EX.

One thing for sure however – just as with a positive organizational culture, people know good EX when they experience it.    Can good enterprise service management help enable that positive employee experience?

What is enterprise service management?

During his recent Cherwell Software CLEAR 2020 keynote address, Sam Gilliland, CEO of Cherwell, discussed how taking an enterprise service management (ESM) approach has helped many organizations weather the service support and delivery challenges caused by the pandemic.  By having an organization’s service providers, such as IT, Facilities, HR, and others utilizing a common platform, those organizations were not only to respond to the operational challenges presented by the pandemic, but they are also able to thrive despite those challenges.

But what is ‘ESM’?  Is it just dropping the “IT” from ITSM and replacing it with an “E”?

ESM is about taking an enterprise, not departmental, approach to managing, enabling, supporting, and delivering an organization’s products and services in a way that co-creates value and delivers measurable business outcomes.

In a nutshell, I believe that good service management can enable a better EX.  Good service management brings transparency and measurability into organizational operations.  Employee can see for themselves how the organization is performing, and how their contributions result in organizational success.

ESM encourages collaboration and teamwork by enabling and supporting holistic workflows.  Each part of any organization must work well for all other parts of the organization in order to achieve success.   Conversely, organizations whose departments work in isolation from others cannot react to or respond as quickly to changes in marketspaces and business as organizations that think and work holistically.

By having these holistic workflows in place, employees can be confident that they are doing the right things right.  Holistic workflows also help employees avoid having to make multiple individual requests with individual departments within the organization just to achieve needed outcomes.

3 things to do to help service management enable better EX

Is your organization’s approach to enterprise service management enabling a better EX?  If not, here are three things you can do:

  • Automate the obvious – not just within IT, but across the organization. Those simple, but repetitive and tedious tasks currently requiring human intervention can be better served by automation.  Automation in turn enables employees to work at their own pace on their own schedule, which is a satisfier when it comes to EX.
  • Identify and map enterprise value streams. Most value streams within an organization cross departmental boundaries.  For example, take onboarding a new employee.  Not only is HR involved, but also IT and Facilities. Where are the handoffs?  What work can be done in parallel?   Mapping and understanding how work and value flows through the organization is critical for enabling positive EX. Are there any gaps or delays in how work and value flows through the organization?  How does technology and process enable those value streams – and are there opportunities to optimize those value streams?
  • Develop employee journey maps. Employee Journey Maps (EJM) are similar to customer journey maps but are focused on the employee’s journey with an organization. Where does an employee encounter friction? Can the use of technology or automating processes eliminate that friction?

While good EX is largely the result of nurturing the desired culture within an organization, ESM can augment that experience through proactive management of work streams, well defined and streamlined processes, and delivering valuable products and services. Yes, good ESM can make for better EX!

[1] https://www.socialchorus.com/blog/future-of-work/the-employee-experience-in-2019/

 

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Why IT Organizations Stay Broken

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They say that “change is hard”. Organizational change is probably the most difficult kind of change. And for some reason, IT struggles with its own organizational change. Sure, IT knows that organizational change may be needed for business colleagues so that they can fully take advantage of a new IT product or service. But when it comes to organizational change within IT- IT often strikes out. Rather than be a model of good organizational change for the rest of the business, IT will often position itself as a support team, or as a service provider, continually at odds with the rest of the organization.

Time is running out on this old, broken model of IT organizations though. The IT organizations who fail to transform themselves beyond a support organization or a service provider will fail to exist. This sounds harsh, but it is the reality. IT organizations must understand why they are broken and they must commit to making the change if they want to continue to exist in this new normal.

Why do IT organizations stay broken?

The short answer is they’re afraid.

Now, I know that answer probably just lost me a few readers right off the bat. But if you’re still with me, a tip of the hat to you. Why is IT afraid to change? I have broken it down into two groups of IT organizations who don’t change. They’re both afraid for different reasons but fear is the leading factor for both.

The first is the IT organization that is afraid of what they don’t know.

Popping open the hood of IT to see what’s actually happening can be enlightening, but also terrifying. Because you might be able to see how hard the motor is working to keep the car running. Or you’ll find that you’re missing parts, parts have been long broken and you’re lucky that the car runs at all.

If the latter happens, the amount of work has just quadrupled to fix what’s missing or broken. Worse than that, the C-suite now has a picture perfect view of how much IT is underperforming.

This kind of discovery is scary to this type of IT organization. At least in their current reality, they understand it and they know how to explain it, defend it, and even work with it. It feels safer to distract themselves with putting out daily fires and accepting that they’re never going to hit their highest performance goals. But hey, at least they’re not making it harder on themselves by spotlighting their gaps and putting more work on their plates.

The second group of IT organizations who won’t change is the group that’s afraid to start. This group often knows they need to make a change, but the fear of starting down the wrong path or starting with the wrong initiative has them paralyzed. .

This group has probably popped open that hood of IT and they see all the broken parts – but every broken part seems to be the most important one to fix. They don’t know how anything under the hood works together so they don’t know where and how to get started.

And the longer they wait to make a change, the harder it is to justify doing that work required for that change. They continue accepting the status quo because they don’t know what else to do.

The fear of finding out what’s wrong, or working on the wrong thing, is very real for many organizations and the truth is, I understand it. Sometimes sitting in the dark is easier because you won’t have to see the monster.

But we can’t live in fear, especially right now in this current climate.

The business world is changing. Actually, the entire world is changing. When everything is uncertain, the most innovative leaders are the ones who know they can capitalize on this opportunity.

But it requires a level of courage, willingness to take on the responsibility, and committing to doing the work and to dig into the data they already have.

The Data is The Road Out

Both of the groups of organizations I described above lack one thing: data.

They don’t have the data to understand where and how they can make improvements. Or they think they don’t have the data.

Whether they’re too afraid to face it or feel too overwhelmed to dig into it, every IT organization has the data they need to make lasting change in their organization. It exists all around them — within their team, their end-users, their partners, their vendors, their processes and services. They just have to tap into it.

This mess of data may seem overwhelming at first but there is a way to take the next step. The hot topic right now is “experimentation.” Difficult times in business require innovation, and innovations require experimentation. But I’m adding an addendum. Instead of just simply experimenting, you should “Experiment from a position of knowledge.” Use your data. What is your data telling you? Where is it leading you?

Instead of allowing this uncertainty to freeze you in fear, try leveraging this uncertainty to propel you into something bigger, better, and different. Everything is already different in 2020 – so why can’t IT be different in a better way?

I predict we will start to hear IT success stories: the ones that innovated instead of standing still (or even worse, receded), the ones that pivoted rather than just turned in circles, the ones that leaned into the uncertainty and transformed into something better. I’m hopeful that the right leaders are in place in many places and they are already beginning to use data to drive change, learning from mistakes, and leveraging the capabilities they already have in place.

Don’t stay “broken”

My challenge to you reading this is: how will you transform your organization? How are you going to push through whatever fears that are holding you back? There might not be an opportunity quite like this one again. Leaders are made for these moments. Are you going to accept being broken? Or are you going to step up and pop open that car hood?

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Future-Proofing Higher Education With Employee Experience

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Higher education is facing many obstacles. The entire industry has shifted over the last few years and many higher education institutions are having to adjust how they operate to meet those changes. This article will explore how employee experience and good service management can help higher education institutions overcome those obstacles.

The Changes in Higher Education

One of the biggest changes in higher education is the shifting student demographic. Just a few years ago, student populations were made up of 18-22-year-olds, who lived on campus, went to school full-time, and were working toward a 4-year degree. Today, many students are adult learners, part-time students or taking classes completely online. Many individuals are questioning whether a traditional higher education degree is worth the financial burden and are opting out of traditional higher education altogether.

Additionally, students on campus are dealing with different struggles than past students. Many students are forced to balance multiple jobs while in school to make ends meet. This has resulted in students struggling with increased financial pressure and higher education has become plagued with mental health problems.

And on top of all of those changes, higher education is struggling with decreased funding, increased competition, and budget cuts. Higher education institutions must find innovative and cost-effective ways to engage current, prospective, and past students. The best, easiest and smartest way to do that is by engaging their employees.

The Need for Engaged Employees

Perhaps most worrisome among higher education institutions is that they are struggling with employee engagement. Simply stated – many higher education faculty and staff members are not engaged. Gallup performed a detailed study on employee engagement across several industries. After performing 258 million interviews including 75,000 with faculty and staff members, Gallup found that just 34% of faculty and staff within higher education are engaged at work. This engagement score is lower than most of the industries that Gallup measures.

Unengaged employees could be costing institutions at the bottom line. The faculty are often the institution’s frontline for their students. An engaged faculty can provide students with tools they need to overcome the obstacles they’re facing, which will not only help students stay at the institution, but can help create a dedicated and successful alumni network.

Also, engaged employees are more likely to stay at the institution. Studies have shown that focusing on employee engagement can result in better retention rates and cost savings over time. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, Iowa State University estimates an average savings of more than $83,000 per faculty member retained when engagement practices are applied. Employee turnover can be costly – so imagine how much that adds up over time when good faculty members are retained!

The Institution’s Role in Employee Experience

The question is what can the institution do to support employee experience? Mike Bollinger, global AVP of thought leadership and advisory services for Cornerstone OnDemand notes, “Faculty and staff members help create the student experience, and it’s up to the institution to provide their employees with the learning curriculum, professional development opportunities and recognition they deserve to help both higher education employees and their students succeed.”

Higher education institutions can leverage technology and services to create a better employee experience that includes professional development, learning opportunities, and better operational management.

Digital is an obvious choice for most of these experiences. Higher institutions are already successfully implementing digital-first experiences like digital workflows, online onboarding, training programs, and online learning management systems.

But future-proofing higher education with employee experience requires more than creating digital-first experiences. Technology alone won’t guarantee an exceptional employee experience. Good service management is necessary. The service management I’m referring to is not just IT service management. I’m referring to the holistic approach of delivering value through the use of services, based on the use of technology. Some refer to this as Enterprise Service Management. Whether you call it Enterprise Service Management, service management, or IT service management, one thing needs to remain the same: you must focus on how organizations can co-create value and then deliver that value using technology.

What can higher education leaders do to create exceptional employee experiences?

Institutions must acknowledge the silos that exist among their faculty and staff before they can begin to consider the technological needs. Silos are culturally embedded in higher education institutions. There are silos between faculty and staff. There are silos among adjuncts, full-time professors and tenured professors, as well as, silos among departments. Working to create open lines of communication and to empower the entire institution to collaborate to run higher education as a business. It’s important that both faculty and staff adapt their thinking and actions in terms of value and outcomes instead of activities and things.

This is where IT can take the lead within an institution. Higher education CIOs can work with the rest of the institution to understand the overall goals and determine how technology can help the institution meet those goals.

There are two steps a CIO can take to begin this process.

Identify, map, and manage value streams
When a CIO maps value streams across the institution and identifies where technology is used to support those value streams, they can begin to identify and eliminate redundant spending and waste. They can also begin to find process improvements that can support better employee experience.

Establish an experience center
An experience center is a little like an expanded IT service desk. It is a single point of contact for reporting and managing service issues. Successful experience centers have well-defined processes supporting defined value streams. The experience center can benefit both the student and the faculty and staff as it supports the entire engagement lifecycle of both the students and the faculty. It reduces any frustrations or problems using technology so they can be quickly solved.

Higher education is evolving and the evolution isn’t going to slow down any time soon. While there are many questions about the future of higher education, one thing that remains certain is that the time is now to engage employees and strengthen the brand, operations and bottom line of an institution. This approach of addressing and improving the employee experience of faculty and staff on the front line can create a ripple effect that will leave the end-users, the students, feeling satisfied, cared for and supported by their institutions.

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What Should Your Customer Experience Look Like & How Do You Get There?

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Recently, I’ve been sharing about customer expectations and while understanding those expectations is important, you also have to have a plan for how to meet those expectations.

I am referring to the customer experience, of course. The customer experience includes every touchpoint a customer has as they interact with a brand. Customer experience has always been important. But as the world grows increasingly digital, brands are tasked with understanding and mapping the multi-channel experience that customers go through with brands.

And there’s a reason companies spend time, money and effort on mapping and optimizing these experiences. In short: they matter. Forrester found that from 2011 to 2015, revenues for companies that scored near the top of the Forrester CX Index™ outgrew the group of companies that scored poorly by more than 5 to 1.

As brands become focused on the customer experience, they are turning to a new ally, who previously has not been involved in customer experience: the CIO.

The CIO & The Customer Experience

Historically, the CIO has had little to do with the customer experience. The business leaders like sales, marketing and business development would meet to map out the experience and then, they’d ask IT to build what they needed to create that experience. But times have changed.

In a recent KPMG Survey, more than half of the CIOs surveyed reported that enhancing the customer experience is the most important business issue that boards want IT to work on.

The fact is, the CIO needs to be involved with the customer experience these days. CIOs understand the technical limitations of new technologies as well as understand current in-house capabilities. Instead of the business guessing what is possible, IT needs to work with them to create solutions that are achievable.

What A Quality Customer Experience Looks Like?

The question is, of course, what does a quality customer experience look like? If we refer back to the emerging customer expectations that I discussed in this article, a few things become clear.

The first is that customers want a “contextual, intuitive and experiential engagement.” Another way to phrase this is to design a low-effort experience.

What’s a low effort experience? To answer that, let’s first look at a high effort experience.

A customer calls a customer service line. They have the option to wait on hold for an undetermined amount of time or to have the company call them back when it’s their turn. The customer chooses to wait on hold. They wait on hold for 17 minutes when a representative finally gets on the line, asking for the person’s information. The customer then waits another minute while the representative pulls up their information and asks what the problem is. The customer explains their issue. The representative provides a textbook response that doesn’t meet the customer’s needs. The customer asks for another resolution. The representative tells them they have to transfer them to a manager. The customer then waits another few minutes on hold. Once transferred, the manager again asks for the customer’s information and the customer again waits while the manager pulls up their file. The manager tries to provide the same answer the representative does but the customer asks for another resolution. After a few minutes of back and forth, the manager tells them they will try to find another solution and that they’ll email them with a solution within a few days after they have spoken to the appropriate department.

This may sound convoluted but it happens all of the time! I’m sure many of us have encountered similar experiences when dealing with customer service problems. Consider what the customer has to endure during this exchange: multiple wait times, hearing the same information repeated, resolution to be delivered in a different format than the initial exchange. In other words, it’s a high-effort experience for the customers. According to Gartner, 96% of customers who encounter this type of interaction will become disloyal to a company.

The trick to creating low-effort experiences is to lead with the benefits or solutions to customers’ problems over the technology.

For example, if your customers want faster issue resolution, then your organization should turn to real-time text or voice chatbot that is readily accessible for customers at scale.

If customers need more information prior to purchase, consider enhancing your mobile experience or incorporating augmented reality tools so customers can visualize products in their offices or homes.

If your customers want a more personalized experience, focusing on consumer data collection and organization will be your best priority.

There is no one size fits all to delivering exceptional customer experience. It’s about listening to your consumers, paying attention to their needs and then, creating services, incorporating technology and designing processes to fit those needs.

How To Get There?

To point you in the right direction of how to create exceptional customer experiences, I am going to end this article with a question:

How do you think employee experience shapes the customer experience?

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