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Why Customer Experience Matters More than Ever for Enterprise IT

Enterprise IT gets Net Promoter Scores (NPSs) on par with the health insurance industry – not a flattering proposition for customer experience. Tech companies can no longer skirt by underperforming now that competition is so frequent and easy to find. Chris Brahm, James Dixon, Amir Nahai and Sarah O’Brien offer insights for Bain & Company into why the customer needs to be king:

…the industry is changing rapidly, and end-to-end customer experience—which includes how easy it is for customers to learn the product, how the product performs and how the vendor responds to customers’ issues— matters more than ever in enterprise IT. The shift toward cloud computing, changes in the customer buying process and the maturation of the tech industry are all giving customers more leverage in technology purchasing decisions.

Moving with the Customer

To move with this trend, enterprise IT outfits will need to benchmark their products against competitors with an eye on customer touch points. They will need to put transformation of their customer experience into strategic context, using closed feedback loops to generate insights from each interaction. Along with strategy, a “bottom-up” shift in culture must take place to align the entire IT outfit around a more customer-centric model.

Comparing a study of end users and company decision makers, Bain found that a huge gap existed between the two group’s opinions of IT vendors. Decision-makers ranked vendors positive in all categories except for collaboration. Users had negative opinions in six of the eight categories.

A common problem is that vendors are eager to make promises in their sales pitch but fail to back up those promises once the deal is made. This approach to enterprise IT is the remnant of an era heavily focused on sales and marketing, with scanty attention paid to the user experience on the first day of installation. Thankfully, such an experience is becoming a thing of the past. Patience will be demanded to complete the transition though.

Bain concludes by saying there are three questions whose answers will help you along the way:

  1. Who owns customer experience?
  2. Do you know which elements of your customers’ experience have the greatest impact on their advocacy?
  3. What are you doing to continually improve customer experience?

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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