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Your customer, your future

Your customer, your future

Remember, the customer is always right

"Many CIOs are a little cavalier about making raising customer satisfaction an explicit goal," says Harley Manning, vice president and director of Forrester Research's customer experience group. Rather, he says, objectives such as cost avoidance and innovation are far more likely to receive top billing on a CIO's project roster. That's because not only is bolstering customer loyalty a hard sell among corporate bean counters, its (arguably) intangible benefits and its (allegedly) nebulous returns often make it a thankless job. After all, when it comes to customer feedback, CIOs typically hear one of two things: harsh criticism or the sound of one hand clapping."

But despite this history of practical difficulties and emotional disincentives, some of today's top CIOs are making customer satisfaction a priority -- and reaping huge rewards as a result. They're discovering that focusing on the customer can yield substantial benefits, including (but not limited to) saving money, increasing sales and enhancing productivity -- as well as keeping the customer satisfied.

In fact, by tackling customer-centric IT projects, CIOs can reshape their role as key corporate players and position themselves for greater enterprise responsibility by aligning with the major concern of their executive peers and bosses. Business, after all, is all about serving the customer. If you want to be part of the business (and you do, don't you?), you want to be a part of that.

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