Customer-facing IT systems can be beneficial in the right context, but also have their drawbacks and risks. Customer facing systems can include dashboards, and even Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and software. Some of the benefits of these types of systems include:
- Scalability; with CRM and related customer-facing applications, they are designed to grow with your customer base. As the number of customers increases, the platform can improve, without compromising the quality or ability to meet the needs of customers.
- One place for everything; keeping customer data centralised, and allowing customers to put their information, feedback and essential information in one place, keeps everything organised and accessible. It is easier to meet the requirements of the customer when the information needed to identify these needs is in one place.
- Accuracy; customer-facing systems and CRM software allow for accurate data details because it has two-way communication, whereby the information and customer data, is actually provided by the client. The guesswork is taken out of data mining, and these systems allow for a better understanding of customer needs, wants and who they actually are.
- Communication; the two-way communication is a great way to interact with your customers, and gives the clients a voice, which is vital in conversion and retention. In customer service industries such as restaurants or casinos, communication with customers is one of the critical drivers of the business’ success and competitiveness. For example,Unibet Australia’s Horse Racing Product is an online but customer-centric business model, that relies heavily on customer-facing IT systems to understand their clients.
- Lower Costs; by increasing productivity and efficiency through the use of more accurate and accessible customer information, and by reducing the distance between the organisation and the client, you reduce your daily costs significantly.
Some of the potential risks or drawbacks to CRM or customer facing platforms and systems include:
- Security Issues; there are inherent risks that come with relying so heavily on these platforms. What happens to these systems, and the data, if there is a security breach? The danger is not just to your valuable data, and to your organisation, but to your customers, and their personal information as well.
- Lack of human interaction; removing the human element, and replacing it with software and customer-facing platforms, means that sometimes there is a cost of removing human interaction. It is essential to consider this when building customisation into customer-facing IT platform.
- Change and evolution; these systems, software and platforms are ever changing, as technology continues to evolve. Keeping customers and users up to date, and managing the changes that come with the evolution of these platforms can be challenging. If back-end users don’t know how to use it, and your customers find it confusing or do not know how to use it either, you will have a faulty system that does not do what it is supposed to.
Make sure you understand what you are expecting from your customer-facing IT systems, and what you expect from the users who will be operating and leveraging the data.