Key Success Factor in B2B CX (Customer Experience) in IT Sector

Anand Prakash

IT products and services sector is in the forefront of B2B CX revolution. We conducted an interview with Mr. Anand Prakash, VP – Quality, HCL Infosystems about evolving role of CX in IT sector and to share some of the industry best practices.

Mr. Prakash has over 3 decades of industry experience in HCL, Wipro, and Ericsson. He is an engineer from IIT Roorkee.

Neil:Why do you think in a country like India, very price conscious base, Customer Experience (CX) matters?

Anand: CX is about having a better understanding of your clients and delivering a good experience. In IT sector, clients want you to be faster, cheaper and deliver the right quality. One attribute cannot be replaced the other. For example, price cannot replace quality. So delivering at the right price is also part of good CX. That’s how I see the role of CX.

So I wish to reiterate that even in a country like India with a price conscious base, CX is mandatory and cannot be taken for granted.

Neil: Is CX tangible? How does IT sector measure CX?

Anand: Usually “experience”, “satisfaction”, “loyalty”, etc. is assumed to be intangibles though we can assess them through customer surveys. That’s why today many organizations are looking at metrics such as Customer Effort, Customer Productivity, etc. These metrics are also like NPS and C-SAT, they measure the goodness or quality of the experience of the customers; still not tangible to business.

That’s why what we are doing is to link these metrics to business metrics such as Net Add(new orders from existing client that increases our share of wallet), Customer Attrition and Referencibility Index (% of existing customers willing to be our references). All these are metrics make CX very tangible and a pure business driver. Many leading IT organizations are also following similar practice.

Neil: What do you think are the biggest bottlenecks companies in IT sector face when it comes to CX?

Anand: Right from the beginning, IT sector is obsessed with technology. For example, when I started my career we used to worry about whether the computer had 8086, 80186, 80286, 80386, or 80486 microprocessor. We never thought if customer needs the power of higher processor. Similarly today we talk about open source technology, .Net, Java, etc. This kind of over obsession with technology is the biggest bottleneck for CX.

IT is fundamentally an enabler, say like electricity. Electricity is not directly consumed by consumer, but instead it is used to heat water or to cool the room. This is true for IT as well.

Knowledge of the domain which IT is enabling is weak among IT professionals. I see this as this as the next biggest bottleneck. For example, in a healthcare scenario, IT professionals should have good understanding of how a hospital works, what are the challenges faced of the doctors, para-medical professionals, etc.

Without understanding of customer’s environment and appreciation of user’s situation, IT professionals can never improve CX.

IT professionals should feel the real experience of the customer! And this happens only by understanding the Customer Journey. Take for example Redbus story. During Diwali, one of the co-founders wanted to celebrate the festival in his home town. Since he didn’t know his travel schedule in advance, travelling by bus was the only choice. He ran around town hunting for a ticket, but they were all sold out minutes before he reached the travel agents. Bengaluru traffic is notorious during festive season and can grip you at the wrong time. That’s exactly what happened that day. That’s when he thought of the possibility of providing bus travelers the convenience of booking a bus ticket over the internet. And Redbus was born!

Neil: What does an IT company need to do to foster a culture of CX?

Anand: IT professionals are much more vocal and demanding. Hence having a well articulated and defined process or policy to link CX improvement to the reward and recognition of individuals & team who have contributed is very important. WIIFM(What’s In It For Me) has to clear & transparent. For example, some projects have “Project Bonus” which is directly linked to the success of the project rather than the bundling it with year-end bonus.

To sum up I would say that instant gratification is the key in today’s scenario. Delayed appreciation is denied appreciation!

Neil: Can you share one example of good CX in IT sector that is worth sharing?

Anand: We are serving Medanta Hospital in Delhi. In order to deliver superior CX to our clients, we focus on understanding the patient and care takers journey, not just the doctors’ journey. Our IT delivery team has spent time to understand the hospital well. We have worked very closely with the hospital management. We designed the whole IT system around this understanding. So if IT organizations focus on end user experience, the overall experience will automatically improve. In this case it benefited doctors, management and patients. We designed IT systems that frees up time for doctors, which resulted in doctors spending more time with the patients!

Neil: Do you think any ‘One’ big idea can transform CX in IT sector? And if so what is it?

Anand: At the end of the day, an ‘experience’ is delivered by an individual and consumed by an Individual. There is a lot of human aspect to it. So how do we personalize the experience? How do we transform the experience?

Experience personalization can be achieved only through VOC and Digital Body Language. Digital body language is digital imprint/usage behavior of customers. By non-intrusive and passive methods this data can be captured and with the help of analytics personalization in CX can be created. You will see this more often in future.

Neil: What is the future for CX in IT sector?

Anand: In today’s world, technology is getting commoditized. Business outcomes are deeply linked to IT. Business leaders are now involved purchasing decisions with respective to IT products and services rather than just the CIOs.

Business leaders are inclined to use a lens of business success measures to evaluate IT. As a result, CX is emerging as a strategic differentiator as it will lift revenue growth, repurchase and referrals. Thus CX is moving from ‘good to have’ to ‘mandatory to have’ for IT sector.

IT organizations that recognize this shift and adapt will have a big strategic advantage over their competitors.

To more about where to start CX in your organization, you can discuss with me at

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