How overworked tech pros can make more time for the customer

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How overworked tech pros can make more time for the customer

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Anyone in the technology profession knows the meaning of workplace stress all too well. The business demands increased capabilities in the digital realm, modernized applications, and security — along with fighting daily fires. 
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That raises the question: With so much emphasis and urgency by the business on delivering superior customer experience, will tech managers and staff ever have enough time and resources to really reach out and get to know their end-user customers?  
For starters, it takes a great deal of support from the top ranks. Some businesses are good at recognizing this, some aren’t. Where management is supportive, technology and customer initiatives get closely aligned.  
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“Our leadership is extremely focused on the customer and on optimizing their experience when shopping with us,” says Katie Curtis, senior vice president of IT at Mattress Firm. “As we’ve implemented new technology, they see what it can do to improve the journey for the customer and therefore embrace new initiatives. I’d say our only challenge is prioritizing what tech projects to lean into and how much our team can handle at one time.”
Many companies, however, face staffing issues that make prioritizing CX efforts difficult. “The most significant headwind to connecting tech professionals with CX is resource capacity,” says Jennifer Jackson, chief marketing officer at Actian. “Teams are understaffed right now and talent is hard to find. Most of the days are filled with fire-fighting and urgent priorities. Because of bandwidth issues, teams have not been able to focus on customer experience to the extent needed.”  
Technology teams “have always worked to improve digital experience, but now they’re now tasked with going a step further and analyzing user needs to mitigate friction,” says Kartik Chandrayana, chief product officer of Quantum Metric. “The first step to successfully optimizing digital experience is getting to the root of customer behaviors and issues.”
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Business technology leaders make the following recommendations to forge a closer bond between technologists and customers:
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Focusing on user experience is essential, Curtis adds. “Key requirements today are mobility, omni, data, and UX.  Most tools will be used directly by the customer so an intuitive interface is a must. It’s also important to understand how customers interact with that interface. We learn so much about what our customers want from the way they interact with us — from online to offline and back again. The consumer journey is no longer linear. It’s essential to understand the omni-channel customer journey to provide customers a seamless shopping experience.”