Imagine you’re the CIO in an organization that provides excellent customer service. Providing great customer service is part of the organization’s mission statement. Customer service in this organization is a source of pride & identity. As a hip CIO you’ve been reading a lot about Business/IT alignment and you’ve recently vastly improved the organization’s web-site so you can provide excellent customer service 24/7. The site not only contains information relevant to customers but is so deep in the information offered, it’s also an excellent resource for the customer service staff. The trouble is, the customer service staff don’t use the web site, and they don’t tell customers about it.

As the CIO it would be easy to chalk the current state up to a general resistance to change. Pressed for specifics you could paint a picture of customer service agents who have a “this is the way we’ve always done it” attitude, middle managers with a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra, and a customer support director who fears the loss of power.

But, when you designed the web-site enhancements, did you consult the customer service experts? How many clicks does it take to get to information most valuable to callers of the help line? How effectively does the search feature return relevant search results? Were the agents trained to use the site or is it “self-explanatory”? Does anyone in customer service know that they’re supposed to tell customers about the web-site?

Now, imagine that the web-site enhancements were built with input from the customer service experts. Where reducing clicks to the most important information was a stated goal. Where search consistently returns relevant results. Where training was provided so customer service agents could efficiently navigate the site. Where customer service agents are provided incentives for letting the customers know that, although they’re not going anywhere, getting customer service 24/7 is also an option. Imagine the customer service portion of the web-site is controlled by the customer service director. Imagine customer service agents are part of a team that develops new products and services, and part of their responsibility includes proactively feeding relevant information into the site as new products and services are introduced.

Imagine an organization where Business/IT alignment means more than working toward the same goal – where it means working for the same change.


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