As companies continue to focus greater attention on delivering on heightened customer expectations and better customer experiences, the CIO and the IT organization are increasingly tasked with enabling business units to achieve these goals.

To date, most CIOs and their teams have focused on applying IT to strengthen front-office and back-office processes and to help business leaders achieve targeted objectives. But a greater focus on strengthening customer relationships “will stretch CIOs beyond IT’s traditional role,” according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Fortunately for CIOs, companies collect stacks of information about their customers and prospects. This includes transactional and demographic information that’s stored in CRM systems; behavioral data that’s generated through channel usage; product and brand sentiment that’s shared in social media channels and contact center interactions; as well as individual preferences and needs that are communicated in customer satisfaction surveys and other feedback mechanisms.

CIOs who are able to aggregate and analyze this combination of data sources can provide actionable intelligence to C-level executives and business leaders that can be used to shape business strategies, product planning, optimize customer-facing processes, or transform business models.

For example, a retail CIO can analyze in-store purchasing data in real time to identify shifts in customer purchasing behavior and then use these insights to help product and distribution executives adjust merchandise, product assortment, and price levels to maximize sales.

CIOs and IT teams can also use customer data and analytics to gain deeper insights into customer attitudes that can be used to improve processes, products, and/or services.

For instance, a CIO for an automotive company sees that the company has experienced a five-point reduction in its Net Promoter Score (willingness to recommend the company) among customers ages 18 to 34. A deeper dive by the CIO reveals that a high percentage of customer complaints being posted in Twitter and other social media channels are either taking days to address or aren’t being fielded at all.

The CIO can then alert the company’s customer service organization about the problem. Steps taken to respond to customer issues in social media result in faster response rates, increases in customer satisfaction among digitally-savvy customers, improvements in Net Promoter Score scores and incremental revenue.

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