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How CIOs Can Articulate the Value of Customer Experience Strategy

The following is adapted from our eBook, “Hacking Value Delivery: The CIO and the Age of the Customer.” Get your free copy here!

Pity the CIOs of the world. They are seeing technology take a greater and greater role their companies, but often aren’t seen as key strategic leaders in the business. By one count, just 5% of organizations say that the IT department is “heavily involved” in setting strategy. Yet so much of business strategy today hinges on the quality and expediency of presenting innovative (or merely functional!) digital customer experiences.  What gives?

Outdated perceptions of IT can take part of the blame: they expect the CIO to discuss little other than the budget, and how to increase productivity and efficiency. (Those are still by far the top priorities for IT in a poll of organizations). But CIOs can work to overcome those perceptions, and one way is to work on how to articulate plans and strategies for IT.  Namely, the CIO must learn to present it in terms of driving value for the business, not cost savings or efficiency.

Talking the Talk: A Means to Articulate Value

Yes, the much-maligned business-speak that many tech folks proudly consider themselves above using may have to come into play, but it’s not just vocabulary; it’s aligning technology-driven customer experiences to the larger business goals.

This might be a challenge. Many IT professionals have gotten where they are through detailed analytical thinking, in terms of projects and processes. And then there’s the matter of exposure: perhaps the CIO has heard the company goals and value framework voiced over dozens of times, but never fully internalized it.  Or worse, the CIO wasn’t even in the “real” C-suite meetings, because he or she is a CHINO – a chief in name only – and got only the watered down version of the corporate strategy (such a dynamic is not uncommon, according to a study by Ernst and Young)

In any case, the CIO should do the necessary homework to be able to speak to the overall business strategy, and to how innovating the digital customer experience will implicate all levels of the value chain. It will help him or her to listen closely to the other stakeholders they’ve collaborated with in developing the strategy as they go, and take notes on how they perceive the strategy as helping their own objectives.

For example, the customer experience initiative may have the most direct effect on following areas, depending on the type of business:

  • Immediate Customer Engagement
  • App Downloads
  • Session Duration
  • Frequency of Search Queries

A seasoned business pro would naturally take such results and postulate the long-term effect increased engagement will have on metrics like repeat purchases, lifetime customer value, and brand awareness. Learning to make these connections and articulate them will gain CIOs the buy-in they need to execute and propagate the CX strategy.

CIOs already have the ability to ply analytics and big data to turn these associations into sophisticated predictions – they just have to take up the mantle and apply it to business strategy.

As the role of the CIO in corporations continues to evolve, how can they continue to go above and beyond to improve online customer experience, without going above and beyond budgets and out of scope of SLAs? Learn more in our free eBook, “Hacking Value Delivery: The CIO and the Age of the Customer.”


Hacking Value Delivery: The CIO and the Age of the Customer

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