Who is a more natural ally for anyone building a customer-centric strategy than the CIO? They have budget, and they have technical knowledge, and they have a strong desire to make the business a success. Despite this, there are so many competing camps in any business working not so much at cross-purposes to the IT folks, but orthogonally. I’ve been listening and questioning the folks in ‘social’ and customer service and marketing, and the agency teams and the web developers and the innovation crew and the ‘process experts’ for signs of how they might work together more effectively. And here is something small but maybe significant: Where the CEO has said, straight out, that there will be harmony and accountability around the improvement of customer-involving processes, and no one is free to act as a lone wolf – magic happens. Magic on the level of Yazoo Street Scandal – crazy instruments, innovative arrangements, creative energy, and something that is a marked departure from anything you’ve seen before.
Don’t let the loony schismogenetics of the corporation bring you into confrontation, that will only bring you to dysfunction. But if you are the CIO, gather good stories. Give the marketing folks something they didn’t know they could get, or set up something with the customer service team that is from off-cycle budgeting – just to show that they matter.
I have been waist deep, and sometimes up to my neck, in the 2012 CRM Customer Service Contact Center MQ. I published the overview of the criteria yesterday, and if you are a client you can find it at http://www.gartner.com/resId=1959716 . The main takeaway for me has been the fragmentation in the market. I can be speaking to a client in India and be recommending someone who has never appeared on a Magic Quadrant, or to a client with a long-established Customer Service function whose main issue is building a credible customer service listening capability for Twitter and Facebook and mobile.
Not to give a spoiler alert, but the Magic Quadrant, after about 60 hours of work, mostly shows that there are few cookie-cutter answers to ‘what is the right choice.’ It is like: which house do I buy in London? emmmm.. it depends. So we will still have a lot to discuss to find the right neighborhood or mews or flat or house to match your tastes and needs and budget and location and delivery style.
Thanks to all who have participated in the reference process!!