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Why your top IT priority should be to connect with customers

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What's driving your technology initiatives? If they're not designed to improve customer experience, your business is in danger of being left behind.


Download 2014 Future of Business Report
Download 2014 Future of
Business Report

Already, more than 50 per cent of businesses say it's the top priority when making IT investments, according to the Optus Future of Business Report 2014. As revealed in our first Future of Business blog post, providing an outstanding customer experience is critical to business success.


However, even with the right intentions, getting the right mix of IT investments isn't easy.


The Future of Business Report found that businesses are investing more in their web, social and mobile channels than their traditional service channels.


This is hardly surprising given the efficiencies that digital channels offer, but those benefits should be balanced by customer demand. Our report confirms that the majority of consumers still expect to be able to interact with a real person - which suggests that many businesses may be undervaluing their traditional channels, such as contact centres.


How to increase digital adoption

The report also reveals big gaps between the availability of digital tools and customers' use of them. In fact, 37 per cent of the consumers surveyed say they haven't recently used any of an organisation's digital tools.


That's not to say we should wind back the clock and abandon our digital plans. But how do we improve our chances of success?


Findings from the Future of Business Report suggest two key strategies:


  1. Focus on the benefits that customers want. Customers say they like the way digital tools are convenient, provide quick results and require minimum effort. In fact, consumer expectations of these three factors are set to rise sharply over the next two years - so they should be key areas of focus when developing and promoting digital tools.
  2. Fully integrate digital and traditional channels. More than a third of consumers expect integration will soon be sophisticated enough to allow them to access their previous transactions through any channel, regardless of how they started the transaction.


It's clear that integration should be an urgent priority. However, given the importance of human interaction, it's also vital to ensure customer-service employees have the right tools - and we'll explore this topic in our next blog post.


Meanwhile, for more details on our research, see our Future of Business Report 2014.


By Allan Burdekin, Optus Business Manager Industry Development, Connect with Allan on Twitter: @AllanBurdekin


All views expressed are the author's own.

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