In this paper, I will identify ten possible customer interactions and describe the corresponding effects on the internal processes and information systems. Referring to the article “Managing information technology (IT) for one-to-one customer interaction” the authors described the key elements of customer interaction. “The first key element that an organization must consider before it can alter its CIS (Customer Information System), to take advantage of individual customer information, is establishing a strategy for collecting this information from the customer. IT (Information Technology) and business process analysis are gathered tightly. Such strategies consist of a complete business process analysis that involves the identification of customers with whom it is profitable to establish one-to-one interaction and whose business processes can be reengineered to accommodate this interaction,” ( Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“The second key element for successful customer interaction is the integration and redesign of customer data across the organization. In allowing an organization to focus on the customer, it is a widely held view that the IS (Information System) professionals must integrate customer information across the organization. In addition to integration, an organization must consider the redesign of customer data, because one-to-one interaction requires a narrow focus on each customer, this strategy must include the collection and accessibility of non-transactional customer information (e.g. suggestions, complaints, preferences, etc.) as well as transactional information (e.g. product purchased, quantity purchased, etc.),” (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“Once an organization has identified the customers for an interactive relationship, a third key element is the means to facilitate this interaction. These methods can be automated or manual. Automated methods include a number of different interface technologies, such as the Internet, electronic kiosks, and computer/ telephone integration. Manual methods, such as person-to-person or via the telephone, are the more traditional ways, but even manual methods must be IT-assisted to be effective. More specifically, organizations must leverage their IT infrastructure to interact with their customers effectively when manual methods are being utilized,” (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“A fourth key element is identifying the most effective means for accessing and distributing data that has been gathered from customers during interactive communication. The distribution of this information can be internal or external to the organization. The internal distribution of information will be used for customer and decision support. External information distribution will be aimed directly at the customer. Finally, an organization must consider the type of underlying infrastructure that supports these distribution channels. Both, the marketing and information systems disciplines play an important role enhancing an organization’s CIS to increase the level of customer service. However, both areas have more experience tailoring their strategy toward a mass-marketing environment not the one-to-one paradigm,” (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“Fifth element for customer interaction is business process analysis. When an organization decides to establish an interactive relationship with its customers, the first step is to analyze the current business processes for this communication. This analysis must also focus on how customer support personnel will access customer information as well as how this information can be used by various decision support functions,” (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“Sixth element for customer interaction is Integration and redesign of customer data. When redesigning customer data, an organization has two major issues to consider: integrate customer data across the organization and expand the customer data profile,”( Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
IT-enabled customer interaction Berry (p. 158) referred to technology’s role in customer service as “high touch through high tech.” Information technology can be used in both, manual and automated customer interactions,” (Berry, 1995), (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“IT-assisted interaction is predominantly a manual process that uses IT to enhance the relationship between the service provider and the customer. IT-assisted interaction may be the appropriate choice if an organization is fairly small,”( Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“Automated interaction, the key to the automated service encounter is to pass the control of the interaction process to the customer. Technical infrastructure is a key consideration when an organization designs its automated interaction strategy,”( Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).
“Accessibility/transmission of organizational information. The distribution of this information can be internal or external. Internal transmission of information refers to the distribution of information within the organization for the purpose of enhancing customer and decision support. External transmission focuses on how customer and organizational information will be distributed back to the customer in an effort to enhance the interaction process and, subsequently, improve customer service.” (Wells, Fuerst, and Choobinch, 1998).