BT’s Focus on Customer Experience

25Dec07

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Since joining BT in November of 2004, the message has been loud and clear from Al-Noor Ramji, our group CIO, and other senior execs and that is if we make customer service BT’s differentiator, we will succeed as a firm. With a message like that coming from our CIO, it was very refreshing, and I instantly knew our IT organization was destined for a much larger role in BT’s success than the traditional back office support roles that typify IT. Three years later, the customer experience focus has long since spread firm-wide, and while we’re still far from completing the job, we are making major strides in improving all facets of our company’s business via this basic focus.

So what is customer experience? It’s actually quite simple and just requires a person, a team, an organization to take the perspective of their customers and expect the same experience that they would expect if they were the customer. That means understanding that waiting even 30 seconds on the phone to talk to a support person is not optimal. Clicking through 14 confusing web pages when ordering a basic phone line online is not optimal. And finding out unexpectedly that the service you paid for is not currently working is just a few ways to turn away customers and doom your company. The example scenarios go on, but it really is as straightforward as just identifying the experience your customers expect and delivering to that goal, which is admittedly easier said than done (especially in large complex organizations).

Once you, your team, and your organization begins making decisions always with the impact of those decisions on the customer in mind, customer experience eventually becomes ingrained into everything you do. And the whole organization needs to be on board, no matter if your role is designing web pages, or ensuring back-end systems stay up, or the one keeping a tabs on a project’s progress. Everyone plays a critical role in ensuring the complete customer experience is one that is optimized, and not just a few parts of the experience. There’s obviously a lot more detail involved that could be explained further, but for my simplistic mind, as long as I focus on the above, and where I have the opportunity and ability to influence others, my organization will keep progressing and improving our ability to deliver on customer expectations and more.

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