It’s that great time of year when I finally get to talk publicly about our CX Forum East in New York at the end of June. If you’ve ever been to one of our events you know that we always have a theme, and this year that theme is “Why Good Is Not Good Enough.”
We picked our theme because of the good news/bad news story told by our Customer Experience Index (CXi) results this year. First, here’s the good news: The number of brands in the “very poor” category of the CXi is down to one out of 175 brands we studied. What’s more, only a handful of brands – 10% – are in the “poor” category. Taken together those findings show that as customer experience improvement efforts got traction over the last year, the number of truly awful experiences dropped like a rock.
Now for the bad news: Just 11% of brands in the CXi made it into the “excellent” category.
Taken together, those two pieces of news mean that most brands are bunched up in the middle of the curve – not awful in the eyes of their customers but not differentiated, either. I think of this situation as “okay is the new poor” or, in my darker moments, “the year of ‘meh.’” Regardless, it adds up to the same thing: A merely good customer experience is no longer good enough if you want incremental sales, positive word of mouth, and better customer retention.
At the beginning of the year in our yearly mobile predictions report, my colleague Julie Ask and I made the following call: "mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business. 2014 will be the year that companies increase investments to transform their businesses with mobile as a focal point". McDonald’s France is a great example of such a trend.
In France, you can now order a Big Mac anytime, anywhere on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop and pick it up later at any of 1,200 McDonald’s restaurants. But mobile ordering and in-store pick up are just the first steps of a broader and more ambitious strategy: differentiating McDonald’s brand experience and powering a future relationship marketing platform by enabling direct behavioral customer insights. Although it started with a mobile ordering and payment app nationwide, McDonald’s France aims to transform all points of customer engagement by building a platform to extend new services to loyal customers and evolving the entire organization.
Despite a less mature mobile ecosystem and lower mobile usage than in the US, McDonald’s France was the first subsidiary of McDonald’s to launch a mobile ordering offering at scale. Such an ordering service is only at pilot stage in the US. France is McDonald’s second-biggest market after the United States, with €4.35 billion in turnover in 2012. Most other countries had piloted mobile payments so far. With more than 16 million members, McDonald’s Japan mobile couponing and in-store contactless payment services is the only other mobile service for McDonald’s (and the vast majority of brands) that has scaled massively, but it does not yet offer the same value.
My latest report, 5 Steps To Create And Sustain Customer-Centric Culture, is now live on Forrester.com. The report answers the question I hear most often from clients: What are the steps in the process to actually transform organizational culture to be customer-centric? We interviewed companies that have successfully completed this transformation, and companies that are in the midst of that process right now. We learned that there are five steps companies must take to create and sustain customer-centric culture:
Step 1: Secure Executive Support (No, Really). We do not want to sugarcoat this step. Customer experience professionals who don't already have commitment from their executives need to either get it or give up their hopes of transforming their organization's culture. Every successful transformation we studied began with a customer experience epiphany by a CEO or COO. If that realization hasn’t happened yet, CX pros can help create the spark of inspiration with executives. For example, Brad Smith, the Chief Customer Officer at Sage North America, established a program where executives sign up to spend time in the call center or join sales teams on customer visits. And he created a new leadership routine of bringing customer stories to their monthly meetings. His goal was to get senior leaders to see the importance of customer focus.
We've been having an intersting conversation with clients and internally about the baggage associated with Data Governance. As much as we (the data people) try, the business thinks it is a necessary, but the commitment, participation, and application of it is considered a burden worth avoiding. They wonder, "Is this really helping me?" Even CIOs roll their eyes and have to be chased down when the data governance topic comes up. They can't even sell it to the business.
So, the question came up - Do we need to rebrand this? Or worse, do you abandon data governance?
Well, I don't know that I'm convinced that Data Governance needs a new name or brand. And, with regulatory and security risks it can't be abandoned. However, what organizaitons need is a framework that is business oriented, not data oriented. Today, Data Governance is still stuck in the data, even with strong business participation.
Big data is the catalyst. If you thought your data was challenging before, chaos and messiness takes on a whole other meaning with big data. Scale now forces us to rethink what we govern, how we govern, and yes, if we govern. This is to both better manage and govern process-wise, but it also drives us to ask the questions we didn't ask before. Questions about meeting expectations for data over meeting expectations to fit data into systems.
If you think Big Data is something only B2C marketers need worry about, you’d be wrong.
As business buyers turn to the digital world to help them explore and solve pressing business problems, marketers will find that the data needed to propel their firms into the digital future is increasingly big.
The challenges we face in closing the gap between the amount of data available and our ability to get value from it are equally big. Nevertheless, to become customer obsessed requires understanding your buyers much better and data is the key to that understanding. During Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders last week (the link here is to the one coming up in London - where I'm presenting the topic again), I told B2B marketers that it’s time to make a date with their big data destiny.
My colleague Brian Hopkins believes that - to exploit the business opportunity hiding in big piles of data - marketers must understand that data is increasingly:
Diverse, making integration costly and complex. Look at the data pouring out of smart devices, wearable computers, sensors, social media, video, etc. and it’s easy to believe that 90% of all data has been created during the past 2 years (according to the US Chamber of Commerce and Norway’s SINTEF ITC.)
As digital marketers, we know the importance of tracking, measuring, understanding, and meeting customers’ expectations at their preferred interaction points. We have convinced our budget masters of digital intelligence’s importance to the business as a whole and our spend on digital measurement and marketing technologies continues to increase—exciting vendors and enticing new ones to continually improve products.
But despite this increased investment in technologies, the same stubborn problem remains: different teams are working with siloed data sets while failing to understand and delight the customer across a variety of digital touch points. Why? Because while technology has provided the pieces for digital marketing, these pieces have not come together to deliver completed suites. Achieving this suite goal requires more than just an investment in technology; it requires a considerable effort and a strategy supported by executives that:
Recognizes the multi-channel digital customer experiences firms wish to project using customer insights
Realigns teams and processes to for better cross functional cooperation
Builds skills set and focuses more investment in staff and partnership
Facebook today announced a new optional feature– the ability to see which friends, or friends within a created group, are nearby. The social network is smartly looking to better serve its members who have made the mobile mind shift, expecting to get what they want in their immediate context and moment of need. In this case – knowing when a friend is nearby.
Prviacy will be a concern with this feature, but users are protected by opt-in’s and by only mentioning how close someone is, not their specific location. Connecting directly in person requires a number of steps including messaging and permission. A few thoughts:
1) This isn’t original, but Facebook has a better shot at success than the original services.
About 10 years ago, Sam Altman started a company called Loopt that he sold about two years ago to Green Dot for $43.4M. It started out as friends connecting, but eventually needed to make money. Mobile advertising wasn’t a big market 10 years ago – in fact, it is still somewhat small today. But Facebook has two key advantages now: first, they have more than one billion users so they don’t have to recruit (and many of my friends will already have the app on their phone). Second, they don’t have pressure to make money near term. Facebook will win if even 5% or 10% of their members adopt.
The Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) role is changing significantly: I&O pros are increasingly helping to drive business strategies with the technologies they choose and implement. Business leaders tell Forrester that technology is too important to leave to technology managers alone; they are pushing their I&O colleagues to explore the business value associated with the technologies they choose, implement, and manage. I&O pros, in turn, tell us that their jobs are changing. As one I&O pro put it, “I’ve been an infrastructure manager for 15 years, but only in the past 3 have I been asked to construct a business plan and be part of the business planning team.”
Figure: Burberry's Technology-Powered Flagship Store In London
For I&O pros in retail and related verticals like hospitality (or for anyone involved in creating in-person experiences), we’ve just released a report to help aid this transition. Along with my co-author Michele Pelino, we’ve just released the report “Infrastructure Will Drive The Retail Store Experiences Of The Future.” The report asserts that I&O pros have an important role to play in helping their companies engage shoppers in experiences that will drive loyalty and spending.
Farhad Manjoo says "The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’" in the New York Times. Read the article, because it clearly points the direction for the future of Facebook (and of nearly everything else). From the article:
“What we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a recent interview at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
In the past, he said, Facebook was one big thing, a website or mobile app that let you indulge all of your online social needs. Now, on mobile phones especially, Facebook will begin to splinter into many smaller, more narrowly focused services, some of which won’t even carry Facebook’s branding, and may not require a Facebook account to use.
In retrospect, this was inevitable. Here are two reasons why.
I have just returned from our Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, and am now looking forward to being the host at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London (May 13-14). Our analysts are excited to share with the European audience our latest Forrester thinking on brand-building in the post-campaign era and how to balance achieving business objectives whilst delivering highly contextual, real-time customer value. We will be joining forces with key industry keynote speakers such as Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer at William Hill, Amy Nelson-Bennett, President at Molton Brown Global, and Francesca Nieddu, Managing Director, CRM and Sales Planning, Intesa Sanpaulo.
As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Francesca Nieddu from Intesa Sanpaulo about the marketing opportunities and challenges specific to retail banking. Here's what she had to say:
Q: Retail banking marketers aren't typically known for being customer-centric as they tend to focus their marketing efforts around products. What was the biggest barrier you faced as you attempted to pivot?