This paper is concerned with how the customer experience needs to be viewed from a strategic perspective when businesses grapple with the important question of the extent to which and what type of information and communication technologies (ICT) might be used to take the business forward.
The paper introduces a framework and offers a methodology for diagnosing ‘zones of customer opportunity’. This diagnostic could typically be used by decision-makers and managerial teams — working in partnership with heads of customer service and ICT specialists — to apply a business persective to consideration of adoption of emergent ICT capabilities. In the absence of such a diagnostic, there are tendencies for businesses uncritically to use turnkey proprietary tools of a generic nature or to emulate the approaches used by other businesses and competitors.
The framework is built on earlier work by the authors, and represents a practical application of a research-based, grounded methodology which reflects the potential of ICT enablement in enhancing the customer experience, or the use of no technology at all.
The diagnostic would most typically be used in strategic planning sessions, or on a more frequent basis where there are fast-moving changes to markets, products or services.
In an era where ICT offers significant opportunities for businesses to re-think the means of relating with existing and new customers, the authors advocate active exploration of available and emerging technologies, but counsel against going a step too far and risk weakening or even fracturing the customer relationship.
Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.