CIOs struggling to keep pace with customer communications

SMS, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp. New, always-on comms channels are proving a headache to manage.
26 June 2019

New customer communications channels include Whatsapp for Business. Source: Shutterstock

Speed is everything nowadays. When customers demand information, services or products, or they don’t expect to have to wait long for the privilege. 

That’s especially true in customer service, where a delay in response or a lack of contact options could result in poor user reviews and ratings, with a direct negative impact on brand reputation. 

While this may be second nature to newer digital-native outfits launched with UX at their core, for businesses undergoing digital transformation, keeping pace with a new wave of customer communications is proving a challenge. 

Businesses are increasingly expected to respond at the same level of speed and consistency whether using email, SMS, Facebook Messenger or new channels such as WhatsApp Business. 

The difficulty in achieving this new omnichannel customer communications strategy is such that more than half of CIOs think they’re falling short of the mark, according to a recent survey of 200 UK CIOs by Vanson Bourne for IMImobile. 

For the majority of IT heads (92 percent), integrating new communications methods with legacy infrastructure was regarded as a challenge and a “major barrier” for 51 percent. 

Other issues included data being spread across multiple systems (51 percent) and budget constraints (42 percent). 

“It is widely known that the ability to innovate and improve customer communications can make or break a business,” said IMImobile’s EVP, Aseem Sadana. 

Sadana commented that while the report highlighted a “gap” between the experience customers have come to expect and what they are able to provide, delivering it successfully is easier said than done. 

“This is especially the case for large consumer-facing enterprises, where fragmented, legacy IT environments make integrating new communications channels and processes very complex.

“Many of them also have data that is spread across multiple systems, with programs and processes varying from department to department.” 

Laying bare the difficulties companies are having in meeting the changing expectations of customers, the report revealed some wider business trends that are likely impacting other areas of tech adoption in business.  

Eight of 10 CIOs, for example, said their current development approach hindered their ability to adapt or create new customer journeys quickly. Nine in 10 said low-code options could speed things up and make them less reliant on specialist developer skills. 

Another nine in 10, meanwhile, said GDPR or PSD2 compliance was proving a complex issue in customer communications.