Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Domino’s Pizza have a lot to learn from IT.
Take social media, for example. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could order pizza on Twitter? Or Facebook, for that matter. You’d tweet your order at the pizza parlor and 30 minutes later it arrives at your door.
With helpful hashtags like #MyFavorite, #FridaySpecial and #IFeelLucky, customers can get their usual pie, a discounted dish or even a surprise order. Since the pizzerias collect data on my purchasing patterns,they can tweet promotions that fit my taste buds. Additional context factors, such as my geographic location, let them notify when I’m in the vicinity of one of their outlets, even if I am on the other side of the world.
Beyond greater customer service, the socialization of pizza would most likely drive sales – just writing on the topic is making me hungry.
But the prospect of Twitter commerce, pizza or otherwise, seems remote. Companies want you to visit the old-fashion Web site and experience the brand online. And they worry about back-end processing. But if you registered your Twitter handle with the vendor and included credit card information, delivery address and contact number, does it matter if it’s a one-click Amazon.com order or a 140-character post?
That’s three steps just to get to the order form. What happened to fast food?
Once again, IT is leading the way to a better future. With modern self-service apps, IT lets you order anything you want with a simple post. The information is automatically converted into a real order, or in this case a service request or trouble ticket, for the help desk to process.
This type of formless interaction is how most of us communicate today. And IT departments are the first to realize how backward portals and forms have become. Imagine if you had to complete a form every time you wanted to post a picture on Instagram. Not even Facebook would spend $1 billion on your app.
IT is also taking social media beyond the buy-more-stuff strategy applied by most businesses. The same way American Airlines turned a computer-outage disaster into a customer-service triumph by publicly responding and helping its stranded passengers through Twitter and Facebook, IT can leverage the one-to-many service approach and solve recurring problems for a slew of employees with a single thread. Working together, customers can find the best solution to an issue without even bothering IT.
Borrowing a page from Yelp and Foursquare, IT is introducing context-aware services. By knowing who you are and where you are, it’s cognizant of your needs. As you walk into a building, for example, IT automatically grants you network access. To better control network traffic, it disconnects you when you check out.
Not to be outdone by Apple’s Genius Bar, IT now offers concierge-style service appointments. Gone are the days when you were forced to stay at home waiting for the cable guy to arrive “sometime between noon and 4 p.m.” Instead, customers decide where and when they want to see a help-desk agent.
IT can do all this because in the back-office they have amazing systems, which can master complex IT processes with minimal human input. Automating the service delivery operations is rewarding but not as exciting as the gamification of the service desk. With simple game strategies and mechanics, help-desk agents are rewarded for exceeding quota, sharing knowledge and driving innovation.
Changing behavior is easy with a transcendent user experience, something the consumer-technology market keeps illustrate time and time again. BMC Software’s New IT upends the traditional dealings between IT and the business, turning IT into the next business advantage.