During a recent discussion of the Age of the Customer and how it applies to government, one of the participants from a government agency essentially asked why they should care. The argument was “If I’m providing passport services why does customer experience matter to me? My “customers” can’t walk out that door and find another passport services provider.”
Needless to say I was taken aback – not shocked really, this is the government after all and not traditionally known for accessible or user friendly services. But personally my experiences have never been as bad as the stereotype of government. In fact, I just received a new passport in 2 weeks, having been told that it might take 3 – 6 weeks. And, at least the rhetoric of late has certainly embraced, in principle, more customer centricity in government. But here it was, the government monopoly argument rearing its ugly head. At least to play devil’s advocate, suggesting that the sentiment did exist somewhere in the organization.
After seven months as a Forrester research analyst, with scores of vendor briefings and customer inquiries under my belt, I've seen certain patterns to unlocking sales enablement success emerge. Five Keys To Sales Enablement Automation Success brings together lessons learned from vendors and practitioners to show where B2B marketers should focus their attention. Some considerations to keep in mind – especially when it comes to content:
Design content for conversation. B2B marketers naturally focus on outwardly focused content (PDFs, white papers, videos, third-party, etc.) and use sales enablement automation to make that content visible and easy for sellers to use to engage with buyers. But sellers need more – they need information on how to use content to best engage not with emails and links but in conversation. That’s where the real connection is made.
Keep it concise and consistent. Shorter is better. Fewer is better. Whether that’s the amount of content or the places to discover it, less is more. Using analytics, marketers can see what content is used, how often, and by whom. That unlocks insight into how to improve quality, not quantity.
Build in collaboration to improve customizing. Sellers will always need to personalize and customize content, whether it's an email, a presentation, or – most frequently – any sort of proposal. Analysis can show what is most frequently changed, and marketers can use that to better understand how to improve content.
I’ve recently been studying what a customer-obsessed operating model means for Purchasing functions and the software they use. I've concluded that Purchasing needs to transform its approach to visibility and control, due to the tradical impact that Mobility has on procure-to-pay (P2P) processes. I've been warning ePurchasing software companies for years about the potential impact of Mobility, but while a few visionaries have heard and acted on the message, most are lagging behind. That may be OK while their customers – mostly Finance and Procurement professionals – are similarly behind the times, but they may be unable to catch up when the market finally starts to demand fully mobile solutions. And customer-obsessed organizations will demand mobile P2P solutions, because they need to enable employees to quickly and easily buy the goods and services they need, so that those employees can get on with their main job, which is winning and serving customers.
What the laggard vendors miss is that Mobility is not about a user interface that works on iOS and Android; its about making the software so smart that it works well in a mobile context. Many product managers tell me proudly “our software works the same on a mobile as it does on a PC”, but that completely misses the point; mobile apps needs to work completely differently from the way traditional PC-based software works.
Take requisition and invoice approval as an example. One leading P2P vendor claims that over 70% of approvals are either performed in its mobile app or via its email response feature. I would argue that few of these approvals are worth the paper on which they are rubber-stamped. A manager can check many aspects of a transaction on a PC because they can see a lot of information on their screen and can drill down to investigate potential problems. They can’t do that on a phone, because:
Crises don’t discriminate. Whether they are economic, geopolitical, technological or environmental, you can expect to have to deal with a major one soon. And how well you minimize the impact of that crisis is the difference between achieving your business objectives, and completely missing them, disappointing your customers, employees, partners, and shareholders in the process. Lucky for you (if you believe in luck and not the probability of chance events), Forrester’s risk experts have updated The Governance, Risk, And Compliance Playbook For 2016. I also recently finished a series of reports on the state of business continuity (which I have creatively named part 1, part 2, and part 3) to give you a jump start on your GRC efforts. Below, I’ve highlighted some of our most recent and exciting GRC research:
Google took a few big steps forward at Google I/O 2016 to fill in its portfolio to win, serve and retain customers in their mobile moments. Three new product announcements should propel Google forward. They include:
Google Home. Google Home looks like an incredibly promising (and necessary) entry into the home virtual assistant or agent hardware market. Like Amazon, Google led with a story of entertainment and media followed by that of virtual assistance. Google claims the combination of natural language processing, artificial intelligence and years of experience with consumer inquiry patterns via Search will push it beyond the competition. Google’s entry validates the space and its vision to sit between the consumers and their favorite brands. However, Google also failed to offer answers to questions such as a firm date on availability, price or access to the service – how open will access be for brands who want to engage their consumers on Google Home?
Allo. Allo is late to the instant messaging game, but on time for the bot frenzy. Brands are exploring bots that offer customer service or support and help them sell products and services. Google will launch Allo this summer with a host of well-known brands such as OpenTable, Uber and GrubHub. Like Facebook -- and despite a dependence on advertising revenue -- Google did not announce any opportunities specific to marketers for advertising or broad consumer engagement. Google will still facilitate consumers getting reservations or finding concert tickets – sitting between the brand and the consumer. The strategy is both expected and smart.
It's the age of the customer, and only the leaders who know how to lead their organizations to increased customer obsession will be able to keep up with hyperadoptive consumers. Those consumers already expect to get what they want, when, where, and how they want it. The only question will be who will give it to them? Will it be you?
It's a question I asked today on stage at Forrester's Marketing Europe 2016 forum in London. I shared with them an overview of my recent report, "Leadership In The Age Of The Customer," a months-long project that revealed the five things that customer-obsessed leaders must do. I then asked the attendees to answer five questions. Just more than 40 executives took my short five-question survey, allowing me to compare the marketers in the UK and from across Europe with their counterparts in the US, where I asked the same questions just a few weeks ago. See the chart below to see how they compared.
As you can tell, our UK colleagues are more confident in how effectively they measure customer obsession. That's a tremendous thing. In a few key areas, however, they fall slightly behind, such as in recognizing and rewarding customer obsession in others and especially in providing the resources that are needed to achieve customer obsession.
What to do next? You can measure yourself in more detail than these five questions — in a survey that still takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete. Just go to http://bit.ly/AoCLeadershipStudy to participate in and learn more about the full study.
Also, sign up for our upcoming webinar, "Adapting Leadership To The Customer-Led Market." See the link below, and click to register. See you there.
For the second year in a row, Spain’s CaixaBank tops our review of European banks’ mobile banking services. Not only CaixaBank delivers the basics superbly when it comes to transactional features, it also excels in offering a wide array of touchpoints including a smartwatch app and a fully-optimized mobile website with product research tools, as well as best-in-class alert services, and outstanding marketing and sales functionality.
Forrester has just published its 2016 European Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark, revealing important insights about the current state of European mobile banking. We evaluated the mobile banking services of 11 of the largest retail banks in Europe, and found out that CaixaBank in Spain, Garanti in Turkey, and Bank Zachodni WBK in Poland continue to lead in mobile banking. The three banks achieve mobile banking success by offering both strong basic functionality and a wide range of next-generation features. For example, CaixaBank lets customers make mobile contactless payments in store by providing a digital wallet integrated into the main mobile banking app. Garanti offers an interactive, voice-activated virtual assistant that customers can use to search the app for functionality and various task like finding a past transaction. Bank Zachodni WBK helps customers reach human help easily by offering video banking through their mobile banking app.
[Image Below: Bank Zachodni WBK Offers Video Banking Through Its Mobile App]
Her research identifies four ways to avoid brand and customer experience dissonance:
1) Paint a vivid picture -- This is not about building a 60 page static brand strategy, but rather determining the key emotional moments a customer goes through and identifying how to meet those needs with on brand experiences. AirBNB storyboarded critical moments for both their hosts and guests and uses these storyboards to focus the efforts of marketing, customer service and employee training.
My Mobile Mind Shift (MMS) happened this year! What’s interesting about this revelation is that I’ve been working in the smartphone industry for more than 10 years now. If that’s how long it took me, and I work in the industry, how long is it going to take the rest of the world? Not much longer, I expect.
I used to work for BlackBerry, so I was involved with early smartphones. At the time, a smartphone was a phone that did ‘more’; it had a browser, email, PIM, and you could make apps for it that allowed you to do pretty much anything you wanted. The definition has changed a bit, and nowadays most of the world thinks that Apple created the smartphone, but experience tells me otherwise.
Anyway, for all these years, I’ve loved having a smartphone – Just having a phone, email and a browser was enough for me. I helped a lot of people write apps for smartphones, and used a few apps myself (Facebook, Fandango, Twitter and Flipboard for example) but my phone wasn’t such an important part of my life that it replaced other things. Actually, having worked for BlackBerry, and being connected all the time, drove me to want to disconnect from access at the end of my day. If I was on the road, you could reach me any time, but while at home. I’d leave my phone in my office at the end of the day. Friends or coworkers would call or email me after hours and not hear back from me until the next morning.
So, what happened? Well, mobile just got easier, that’s what happened. I don’t know how to explain it any other way.
And Forrester's Marketing 2016 Europe forum is under way!
Forum host Melissa Parrish just kicked off our two days in London by acknowledging that ideas related to customer obsession aren't new per se. John Spedan Lewis, originated the John Lewis Partnership in 1929 which distributed profits from the John Lewis department stores to employees, specifically so that employees would be invested in delivering exceptional customer service. What is new today is that the post-digital climate has raised customer expectations from brand experiences and introduced new, faster ways for businesses to get customers what they want in their moment of need.
So how can you -- as a marketing leader at your organization -- drive customer obsession and post-digital strategies?
How leaders act has more influence on business culture and transformation than who they are or what they say. Customer obsessed leaders specifically:
Measure customer obsessed behavior
Reward people for performing against those metrics
Unblock performance inhibitors by removing obstacles
Model customer obsessed behaviors that they want employees to demonstrate
In my morning keynote tomorrow, I will be addressing how demonstrating the actions James highlighted will help your brand be more Human, Helpful and Handy -- the key characteristics of post-digital marketers. Can't wait!