All that hard work on customer service is starting to pay off. This year CIOs should also focus on two internal customers: the sales and marketing organizations.
Customer service is the No. 1 business priority for IT executives in 2008 but it's not due to altruism. Without sales, few IT organizations would have reason to exist.
That's why our third Customer Strategies Survey examines the priorities, strategies and technologies used in sales and marketing as well as customer service.
The study shows that the Web sites that make more money than others are designed to uncover the product features customers want most and to close sales. Many companies are still in walk-before-you-run mode when it comes to Web marketing tools and techniques and use of smart phones for marketing purposes. Early adopters can sprint past competitors if they can get ahead of the IT and marketing learning curves.
Companies are making progress on many customer service problems--a change since our November 2006 Customer Strategies Survey. Many organizations are increasing IT staff and developing new applications to further improve customer service. That's good news for customers and IT professionals.
But is it enough to satisfy CEOs and chief marketing officers? Probably not. Acquiring new customers is more important than customer retention at many companies. Using metrics in marketing decision-making is a top concern for marketing executives at the Marketing Science Institute, yet IT executives place measuring sales and marketing effectiveness 10th on their priority list. Process-minded IT organizations should not be so focused on improving service that they pay insufficient attention to other sales and marketing priorities. In a troubled economy, companies need all the help they can get.