Managing Real-Time Customer Interaction from the C-Suite

As we’ve learned in more detail in my previous post on The Rise of the CCO and CSO, the emergence of social media has fueled an emergent, real-time customer interaction paradigm among consumer-oriented companies. Every year we are moving toward more automated data, giving us opportunities to exchange value exchange points, or points of interaction. These interaction points can be up to 100% automated, and materially change the legacy business environment’s competitive landscape. C-level executives need to monitor and manage their organization’s points of interaction with the same rigor they use to manage any new distribution channel.
What Can C-Suite Executives Do?

To enable C-level teams to manage this emergent competitive battleground, each team must provide concrete, executable reporting through the following critical actions:

  • Work with the Information Technology (IT), Sales and Marketing departments, to inventory existing points of interaction with external entities; including what specific data is being exchanged. Details include: description of interchange, data passed, volumes, and expected/achieved value generation for both parties involved in the transaction.
  • Eliminate or work to improve the points of interaction which do not generate adequate revenue and/or strategic value.
  • Going forward, request that there be C-level sign off prior to implementation of any new interaction point. New points of interaction can then be justified by the appropriate C-level executive(s) based on strategic rationale and/or business value to be generated.
  • In addition to the items above, there may be market/industry specific variables which need to be considered.

The key is for the C-level team to control all company points of interaction with the same consideration as any new traditional distribution channel justification, based upon business value creation, either strategic or financial.

How Does This Improve the Customer’s Experience?

The following example reflects a point of interaction scenario which is readily implementable today.

The customer moves to a new city and initially does his/her grocery shopping at a traditional grocery where he/she picks items and waits while each is scanned, and then he/she takes the bags to the car, etc. This scenario represents a legacy point of interaction.

In contrast, the customer experiences a “future concept” model at the grocery, which offers automation of the grocery buying process. The store will duplicate the customer’s initial manual order, and deliver it to his/her home on a periodic basis. Additionally, the customer can add or edit items online.

The improved customer experience of focused point of interaction is material, especially over time.

With the emergence of social media, and the resulting real-time customer point of interaction, consumer oriented companies need to be self-assessing their points of interaction and responding accordingly to remain in business.

Read more about the current trends in the Consumer Products and Services Sector.

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About the author

BlueSteps Executive Guest Writer

Alan RoyalAlan Royal has led large and complex IT and operations functions – as Chief Information Officer and, often in parallel, Chief Operations Officer – to deliver complex global projects across borders for companies like New York Life, AIG, and Manulife. He was the first foreigner ever appointed as an executive officer of a Vietnam State Owned Company, and in this role led the IT Transformation of the State Owned Financial Service Conglomerate Bao Viet Holdings. He collaborated with McQuarie University, Australia, to create an innovative set of management practices enabling better assimilation and performance of executives in trans-national companies sent to emerging markets. He is a regular contributor to BlueSteps’ Executive Career Insider, as well as Meettheboss.tv; and was featured in Harvard Business Review Online. Find out more: www.alanroyal.com.

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