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Operations

What IT leaders need to know about the management and effective running of the IT organization.

More tales from customer service hell

If you are a CIO, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Bob Evans, SVP Communications for Oracle Corp. If you don’t know him, you may want to put him on your radar. He’s one of the best bloggers on CIO issues out there.

In a Forbes BrandVoice blog entitled “The Top 10 Strategic Issues for CIOs for 2014”, Evans says that the number one issue for CIOs in 2014 is driving customer-centric innovation throughout the business.

“In today’s global consumer-driven economy,” he asserts, “the only survivors will be those companies that are able to put the customer at the center of all their thinking and processes: product design, marketing, distribution, sales experience, user experience, post-sales support and service, and community engagement.”

If you’re looking for some low-hanging fruit in the customer-satisfaction department, allow me to make a couple of suggestions, based on recent personal experience…

I’m in the process of pulling up stakes and moving from the big city to a small town. And in this day of sophisticated logistics tools, GPS vehicle tracking and ubiquitous mobile communications, it confounds me that companies are incapable of providing their customers better service delivery information than they did 50 year ago. Just a couple of examples…

Despite a major retailer requiring us to be at our new home for four hours to receive delivery of a new fridge, said fridge did not arrive on the appointed day and no communications to that effect were provided by the retailer. As our new home is an hour and a half from our old one, that represents a full day lost, without so much as a courtesy call to alert us.

Similarly, when arranging for cable installation, a five-hour window was required, and this time the installer showed up ten minutes before the end of those five hours. Okay, so they made their window. But why was there no ability for me, the customer, to get more accurate information on the time of the call at some point during that day? Even narrowing the window by a couple of hours would have been a big benefit.

Surely we can do better. After all, this isn’t rocket science. In fact it barely qualifies as information management. All it takes is a phone call or text message from the delivery or service person, who knows full well that he won’t make it to the customer’s door for at least a couple of hours. If Federal Express can process over six million customer-tracking requests around the globe every day, surely we can figure out a better way of giving customers, on the day of delivery, a better idea of when they can expect to see us.

Here’s another customer service disaster, one that will have a familiar feel to most readers. Got a voice message from my friendly Internet provider a few months ago, telling me that my email account had been suspended. As my business depends heavily on email, I’m sure you can imagine my annoyance at this deliberate interruption of service. Thus began a protracted series of phone calls to my provider, who seemed to have no record at all of why it pulled the plug on my service. I was shipped from person to person and department to department, with the obligatory endless waits while the various connections were being made. Twice I ended up in the accounting department, which had nothing to do with the problem at all. After nearly two full days of this, someone finally declared that my system had been shut down because I had some sort of virus on it, and if I didn’t remove it from my computer immediately my service would be shut down for a week!

Having done a complete virus scan only a couple of days prior to this, I surmised that this was a convenient way for my provider to wriggle out of the mess it had made for me. Still, I did another complete virus scan, which again turned up nothing. Happily, my email service was restored and that was the end of the matter, though it was yet another black mark against my provider, joining the many already accumulated. Needless to say, when arranging for Internet service in my new location, this provider did not get my business.

The reasons for this customer-service fiasco were many: inadequate processes for recording and tracking customer interactions; poor interdepartmental communications; lack of employee empowerment. Again, not rocket science. We’ve had a couple of centuries to figure this stuff out.

If we can’t get the basics of customer service right, how are we ever going to deliver on Bob Evans’ number one issue for CIOs in 2014: driving customer-centric innovation throughout the business?

My advice for CIOs: find out as much as you can about the frustrations, pain points and wish lists of your company’s customers. A lot of this stuff should be considered table stakes when it comes to putting the customer at the centre of your thinking.

What’s more, you may find some relatively simple solutions that will go a long way towards keeping customers happy – and scoring you some points with your C-suite colleagues along the way.

 

Past Attendees


ADP - VP Architecture & Infrastructure

AESO - VP, Information Technology

Agnico Eagle Mines - VP, IT

Agrium - Global Mgr., IT Security

Agrium - Senior Director IT Shared Services

Aimia - SVP & Global CIO

Ainsworth Engineered - Director IT

Air Canada Vacations - Director IT

Alberta Energy Regulator - Director, Office of the CIO

Anthem Properties - VP IS

AON Risk Solutions Canada - Head of IT

Aviva Canada - VP, Architecture & Strategy

Bank of America Merrill Lynch - CTO

BC Ferry Services - VP & CIO

Bellatrix Exploration - Director, Information Technology

Bentall Kennedy - VP IT

Black Press - CTO

BlackBerry - VP Corporate IT

BMO Financial Group - Head of Services Delivery

Bombardier Aerospace - CISO

Bonavista Petroleum - Head of IT

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP - Global CIO

Bow Valley College - Director, IT Services

Bridgewater Bank - Head of IT

BuildDirect - VP IT

Bulk Barn - Head, IT

Burnco - CIO

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec - VP, IT Planning, Architecture, Governance, Operations

Calfrac Well Services - Head of IT

Canada Mortgage and Housing - VP, Information & Technology

Canadian Depository for Securities - CIO

Canadian Direct Insurance - CTO

Canadian Payments Association - VP & CIO

Canucks Sports - Head of IT

Cardel Homes - VP MIS

Cargojet - CIO

CCS Corp. - VP IT

Centerra Gold - Director IT & Comm

CIBC - Senior Director, Infrastructure Planning & Engineering

CIBC - SVP & CIO, Retail and Business Banking Technology

CIBC Mellon - AVP, Enterprise Architecture

CIBC Mellon - SVP & CIO

Cineplex Entertainment - CTO

City of Brampton - Senior Manager, IT Architecture & Planning

City of Toronto - Director of Strategic Planning & Architecture

CN Rail Service - Chief Information Security Officer

Coast Capital Savings - VP Technology

Concordia University - AVP & CIO

Crescent Point Energy - Head of IT

Dairy Farmers of Ontario - Head of IT and Administration

Dale Parizeau Morris Mackenzie - VP, IT

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP - Director, Information Technology

DealerTrack Canada - Director, Technology

Defence Construction Canada - Corporate Manager, IT

Dentons - Canada CIO

Devon Energy - Director, Integrated Business Services

Direct Cash - VP IT & Security

Dynamic Tire Corp - CIO

eHealth Ontario - VP, IT Systems & Services

Encana - Director, InfoSec

Enerflex - CIO

Enerplus - VP. IS

ENMAX - VP, IT & PMO

Essential Energy Services - Director, IT

Expedia Cruise Ship Centers - VP IS

FGL Sports - VP, Information Technology

Fix Auto Canada - COO & SVP

Flightnetwork.com - CIO

FT Services - CIO

FundServ - CIO

Genus Capital Management - CTO

Genworth Financial Inc. - VP IT

Golder Associates - CTO

Gran Tierra Energy - Director IT

Grant Thornton LLP - CIO

Greenwin Inc - VP, Information Technology

Groupe Dynamite - Director, IT

GSK Canada - IT Director

GTAA - Acting CIO

H&R Block Canada - VP IT

Hewitt Equipment Ltd. - VP & CIO

Hitachi - CTO, Americas

Home Trust Company - CIO

Home Trust Company - CTO

Home Trust Company - VP & CISO

Horizon North Logistics - CIO

Indigo Books and Music - CIO

ivari - SVP & CIO

JP Morgan Chase Canada - Executive Director, Information Risk Management

Keyera Energy - Director, Information Technology

KnowledgeOne - CIO

LaFarge Canada - Director, IT

Landmark Cinemas Canada - VP, IT

LCBO - Director, Applications Systems

LCBO - SVP & CIO

Leisureworld Senior Care Corp - VP IS

Lightstream Resources - Head, Information Services

London Drugs - GM IT

Loto-Quebec - Corporate Director, InfoSec

Magna International Inc - VP & Global Leader, IT (CIO)

March Networks - VP Professional Services & CIO

McCain Foods Limited - Manager InfoSec

McInnis Cement - Director of Information Technology

Medical Pharmacies Group - VP, Information Technology

MEG Energy - Manager, Information Technology Solutions & Services

MMM Group - CIO

Montreal Police Service - CIO

Morguard Investments - CIO

Moulding & Millwork - CIO

National Bank of Canada - Information Security Officer

National Capital Commission - Chief, IT infrastructure & Support Services

NHL Players' Association - Head, Security & Technology

Northbridge Financial Corp - CIO

OEC Group Canada - Vice President, Information Technology and Client solutions

Oildex - VP, Architecture & Infrastructure

Olympia Financial Group - CIO

OMERS - SVP IT

Ontario Pension Board - CTO

Ontario Trillium Foundation - CIO

Ottawa Police Service - CIO

Pacific Western Transportation - CIO

Packers Plus - Global IT Director

Patient News - CTO

Peel District School Board - CIO

Pengrowth Corp - Director IS

Penn West Exploration - Snr. Manager, IT Operations

Peterson Investment Group - Head of IT

PFB Corp. - CIO

Pizza Pizza - CIO & VP, IT

Precision Drilling - VP, IT

Precision Drilling - Director, IT Infrastructure & Security

PSP Investments - Snr. Director, Internal Audit & Business Infosec

Public Works and Government Services Canada - Director, IT Security Directorate

PwC - Managing Director, Real Estate Technology Advisory

Qantas - Global CIO

Queen's University - Director, Information Technology

RBC Royal Bank - Head of Application Security, Data Protection & Security Consulting

Regal Lifestyle Communities - CIO

Revera Inc. - CIO

Revera Inc. - Security Architect

Ricoh Canada - VP,IT

RioCan Property Services - VP IT

Rogers Communications - SVP, Customer Experience IT

ROM - CIO

Russel Metals - VP,IS

Scotiabank - VP - International Systems Technology

Scotiabank - Director, Architecture & Engineering

Sears Canada - Divisional VP, Information Technology Services

Secure Energy Services - GM, IT

Shaw Communications - VP, Technology Operations

Shaw Communications - Director, Risk Management

SMART Technologies - Director, IS Corporate Services

Smartcentres - Director IS, IT

Societe de Transport de Montreal - Division Head - Security and Compliance

Street Capital Financial - CIO

Sun Life Financial - AVP, Data & Business Intelligence Services

Sun Life Financial - VP Application Ops & Services

Suncor Energy Inc. - Director, Application Portfolio Optimization, I&PM, Business Services

Symcor - CTO, VP Technology Services

Talisman Energy - SVP IT & Business Services

TD Bank - Enterprise Architect

Teknion - SVP, CIO

TELUS - Chief Security Architect

Tervita Corporation - VP, Information Technology

The Hudsons Bay Company - VP Technology

The Hudson's Bay Company - SVP & CIO

The Source - VP, Information Technology

TMX Group - VP, CISO

Toromont Industries - VP & CIO

Toronto District School Board - Chief Technology Officer

Toronto Hospital for Sick Children - Director of Technology

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - Chief Enterprise Architect

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) - CIO

Toyota Canada - National Manager, IS

Transamerica Life Canada - CIO

Trican Well Services Ltd. - Director, Business Information Systems

Tridel Corporation - CIO

Trillium Health Partners - IT Director, Applications & Clinical Informatics

UFA Cooperative - VP & CIO

University of Calgary - Executive Director, Development Services

University of Ottawa - CIO

University of Ottawa - Senior Director IT Services & Infrastructure

University of Waterloo - Director, Technology Entrepreneurship

Vancity - VP Technology & Solutions

Viterra - Director Enterprise Technology

World Health - Director IT

Yellow Pages Group - Director - Enterprise Data Management

York Region District School Board - CIO

Operations Archive