As I wrote in my recently published report, customer insights (CI) are an increasingly critical source of competitive differentiation in the age of the customer. Forward-thinking business and technology management leaders in Asia Pacific (AP) are actively looking to better leverage customer data and advanced analytics to increase marketing effectiveness and improve the customer experience (CX).
Unfortunately this isn’t the case everywhere. Many AP firms still lag in their understanding of customer analytics. They also lack the skills and ability to execute.
A collection of internal and external factors will affect customer analytics success. How can you improve your ability to transform available data into insight? Start by taking Forrester’s self-assessment to help determine where your organization falls in Forrester’s customer analytics maturity model and use that to identify specific areas of focus for future improvement.
But CI pros can also minimise risk by taking the following concrete steps:
Link customer analytics to broader CX and digital initiatives. Effective digital transformation fueled by CI requires an outside-in approach to customer understanding. For most AP organizations, this is only possible with direct CEO support. In the absence of executive sponsorship, successful customer analytics will likely be limited to improving and/or extending existing marketing approaches – important, but nowhere near sufficient.
Salesforce’s newly proclaimed "Web and Mobile Analytics" capability within Sales Force Marketing Cloud Web and Mobile Analtyics platform may initially excite us digital analytics geeks. After all - disruptions by large vendors in the name of “Web Analytics” are few and far between now days. However before placing SFDC on your digital analytics vendor shortlist you should consider that the capability:
Is targeted at Salesforce's existing Marketing cloud customers. It is built more as "light weight" analytics capability providing BI pros the ability to natively ingest web and mobile data into their SFDC instances. Oh and it is offered at no extra charge to all Marketing Could users.
Will not replace existing enterprise systems. Salesforce claim it will “complement” existing enterprise digital analytics systems that do very much the same thing (i.e. collect, analyze and act on customer behavioral data) and more.
Is separate from the Salesforce's Wave. Slightly confusingly the Analytics Cloud - Wave - is a separate offering from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud's mobile and web analytics capability- good to know!
At Dreamforce in San Francisco earlier this week, Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle highlighted retailer Eddie Bauer’s strategy to make marketing so good that it feels like customer service and customer service so good that it feels like marketing. He may well have added that when marketing and service are well executed, they both begin to feel like sales – or at least the extension of sales environments that they are meant to support.
This thinking underscores the blurring lines between marketing and customer experience. Where does one start and the other begin? And does it really matter? Certainly to the customer it doesn’t; all he or she wants is a great experience that delivers value appropriate to the current context. So then, why do brands continue to let organizational or functional silos get in the way? It’s easy to say that legacy systems and processes still dictate what brands are able to achieve, but surely with today’s business technology capabilities, it’s possible to do better.
Brands highlighted at Dreamforce not only do better: they blend marketing, services and sales for a seamless customer experience. Take Fitbit, for example. Of course the Fitbit business model is based on interaction and context, but Fitbit has taken things to another level by ensuring that marketing content is fully incorporated into app functionality instead of pushing messages at customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and promotional content appear when contextually relevant and blend smoothly with customer services information and sales/transactional opportunities.
In the airline industry, Southwest is no stranger to customer experience accolades. In fact, it consistently earns top marks on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index compared to other carriers – offering enjoyable and easy experiences that meet customers' needs.
It will be a pleasure to hear directly from Southwest’s Managing Director of Customer Strategy and Development, Ryan Green, next month at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum West in Anaheim, CA. To get an early taste for why Southwest is known for its experience, and the strategy behind it, read on.
Q&A with Ryan Green, Managing Director Customer Strategy & Development, Southwest Airlines
Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
A: Southwest Airlines has always been focused on the Customer. Our company started with the vision to give people the freedom to fly and our differentiator has always been policies and services that lean towards the Customer. As a result, we now fly more passengers domestically, increased our airports served dramatically and Southwest Airlines’ Customer complaints are the lowest in the industry. As we’ve grown and the industry has become more competitive we’ve definitely continued uncovering what our Customers need and want from Southwest Airlines and we are focused on giving them that experience to keep them coming back time and again.
Q: What aspects of the experience that your company delivers matter most to your customers?
Digitally empowered customers — both businesses and consumers — wield a huge influence on enterprise strategies, policies, and customer-facing and internal processes. With mobile devices, the Internet, and all-but-unlimited access to information about products, services, prices, and deals, customers are now well informed about companies and their products, and are able to quickly find alternatives and use peer pressure to drive change. But not all organizations have readily embraced this new paradigm shift, desperately clinging to rigid policies and inflexible business processes. A common thread running through the profile of most of the companies that are not succeeding in this new day and age is an inability to manage change successfully. Business agility — reacting to fast-changing business needs — is what enables businesses to thrive amid ever-accelerating market changes and dynamics.
The Ebola outbreak serves as a portrait of the fact that the health systems of the globe must be radically interconnected in order to ensure that global outbreaks like this have a chance of being contained. We are not in the 19th century where the massive migrations of populations took place using slow-moving transport and thus where the incubation periods of most diseases would have in all likelihood passed before a person approached a border.
Today I can be infected by a disease, and within hours be on a plane that crosses the world. Traditional public health precautions of quarantining the sick will not necessarily be effective. And so we must think though a better manner of managing what is fast becoming a continental pandemic and could easily become a global pandemic.
The picture above is from the emergency room entrance at Mt. Sinai Hospital on the corner of 100th street and Madison Ave. in Manhattan.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks is getting business resources to govern data. We've all heard it:
"I don't have time for this."
"Do you really need a full time person?"
"That really isn't my job."
"Isn't that an IT thing?"
"Can we just get a tool or hire a service company to fix the data?"
Let's face it, resources are the data governance killer even in the face of organizations trying to take on enterprise lead data governance efforts.
What we need to do is rethink the data governance bottlenecks and start with the guiding principle that data can only be governed when you have the right culture throughout the organization. The point being, you need accountability with those that actually know something about the data, how it is used, and who feels the most pain. That's not IT, that's not the data steward. It's the customer care representative, the sales executive, the claims processor, the assessor, the CFO, and we can go on. Not really the people you would normally include regularly in your data governance program. Heck, they are busy!
But, the path to sustainable effective data governance is data citizenship - where everyone is a data steward. So, we have to strike the right balance between automation, manual governance, and scale. This is even more important as out data and system ecosystems are exploding in size, sophistication, and speed. In the world of MDM and data quality vendors are looking specifically at how to get around these challenges. There are five (5) areas of innovation:
You know what the Holy Grail is for an analyst? It’s results data – especially financial results data. And that’s especially true for analysts who cover customer experience because all too often CX professionals don’t track – or won’t share – their results.
That’s why I’m especially pleased with what I am able to share with you today.
Last week I posted part 1 of Forrester’s customer experience Q&A with Olivier Mourrieas of E.On, one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. Olivier will be speaking at Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London on November 17 and 18, 2014, and he was kind enough to share some thoughts with us in advance of his appearance.
This week I’m posting part 2 of Olivier’s answers, in which he tells us the tangible business results that the E.On CX program has achieved.
I hope you enjoy what he has to say and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!
Q: How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts (e.g., higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs)? And have you seen progress over time?
There are hard and soft benefits which we are continuously demonstrating:
Churn reduction: Increasing Net Promoter Score (NPS) leads to increased loyalty. This will help to stabilise the Private Household and SME customer base.
After a gorgeous long fall weekend tramping around ponds and through pastures in search of sculpture, while oohing and aahing over the upstate New York autumnal palette of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, I got a nice welcome back to work today. My first Forrester report is live on our client site! It’s a case study on Drop, an iPad-connected kitchen scale and recipe app, which was developed by a small team based in Ireland and is currently in pre-order.