IT products and services can drive part of the success of a business. But understanding customers and creating a more personalised experience will lead to a better customer service, and a better business. 

The IT products and services only drive part of the success in the business. Understanding your customers, building a relationship with them, will increase brand loyalty and create a better customer service.

CIO UK takes a look at how CIOs can use technology in creating a better customer experience for its users. (Read more on how First Utility is smartening its customer experience.)

Understanding the customer: Offering a personalised experience

A recent survey by Jampp shows that users' attention spans decrease by 88% year over year. Improvements in technology today's customers demand excellent products and services, and a better standard of service.  A CIO's responsibility is to use customer data and technology to creat a convenient and personal service.

Technological change has seen the CIO's role move from heading the IT functionality to delivering better customer experience management (CEM).

CIO Albert Ma at Toyota recently discussed with our sister title CIO US ways in which the manufacturer's IT function is helping to deliver a better customer experience.

Ma said there has been a "shift from back-office activities, like process improvement and optimised efficiencies, to more customer-facing, revenue-generating capabilities."

Toyota as a business is currently developing a more personalised customer experience through the technology function, highlighting four different areas.

Ma says: "Technology is the backbone of it all, whether we are leveraging mobile technologies or cloud computing or predictive modelling; IT is at the heart of the [customer-centric] change."

Driving change in the customer experience through a range of tools such as Hubspot, Marketo and ExactTarget means collecting and using wisely customer data. Analysing online activity through the customer's contact with your business allows a CIO to create a profile of that customer.

This tailored information can lead to a personalised experience for the user. The customer can then receive updates on future products and services which are relevant only to them. And this in turn should generate more business from that user.

Communicating through a multi-platform tool

The data should inform a strategy that sees an organisation building on the skills the customers want from its service. A CIO should keep customers as their main priority for driving success in the organisation.

This identifying the processes the customer takes will have a positive impact on the business. But how should organisations do this?

Multiple access platforms and tools through internet connected devices have become a convenient way for companies to build a relationship with their users. Customers can communicate any challenges they face through online services as they interact on the go.

CIO 100 Bill Wilkins at First Utility has implemented a smart meter service which he believes will be convenient for its consumers and useful for the company.

First Utility found it was a hassle for customers to find the best energy contract. As a result the energy provider moved from a cost and digital focus to a convenience one.

Wilkins said a goal of the company was to "drive its relationship" with customers. The system he says will "encourage customers" to read their meters, and allow customers to submit readings through "SMS, video recordings and a mobile app".

By having multiple connected ways to communicate with customers, a business can thereby meet those customers’ expectations in the product and services it is offering, as an organisation. But it can also use the data gathered to make smart decisions about how to change and develop the customer experience moving forward.