Friday, August 21, 2009

Chief Customer Officers and the Digital Living Room

The Digital Living Room still continues to fall between the cracks of the silos in organizations. Consider a recent experience with major vendors.

An evaluation HP Windows Media Server that I purchased recently for a project came with MacAfee for virus protection. The protection expired after the initial trial period of 7 months.

So, I decided to use Norton, which I use on my other machines. However, Symantec does not make it clear whether their products work on Windows Home Server. Nor did they reply to my support request. So, I decided to upgrade the existing MacAfee solution as the lazy man's approach.

After two support calls separated by three days, and after 50 minutes on hold, I determined on the second support call that the product currently has installation problems and also does not upgrade its data files. The conclusion was not shared with me on the first support call where a different answer had been suggested.

Now, as a past CEO of various software companies, I sympathize with the challenges of supporting continually changing software. And I am not particularly worried about this server, which is primarily used for file back up and music sharing.

But the whole experience of:

1. Having to determine whether a product works with a home server.
2. Inability to offer a clear and simple decision process on what to buy.
2. Confusing installation processes.
3. Difficult to use administrative software more appropriate for a small business than a home user.
4. Delivery of support via the small business support line causes unnecessary phone calls and downloads of support software.

reflects an inside-out silo'd view of the customer.

Persuading consumers to tackle the Digital Living Room will require a more customer centric perspective. A Chief Customer Officer would help a company transform the customer experience so that successful customers would become ambassadors on behalf of products and services.

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