When it Comes To Site Search, Don't Make Your Customers Play 'Hide-and-Seek'

Dominique Whittaker
Picture this: you're on a website looking for this must-have item for someone special and you know that the product exists on the website but every time you search for it you can't find it for the life you! If you've never had trouble searching for a product or information on a website---well, you're lying. We know that customers are demanding effective and relevant search results in addition to a easy-to-use interface. If they don't get it, they're likely to look elsewhere for what they need---and nobody wants that.
 
Site search sounds like a no-brainer functionality that every website has and is an easy thing to do but relatively few companies have actually mastered site search. Done well, it: 
 
  • Promotes customer self-service. If your visitors are able to successfully find what they need, then you’ve done your job while also deflecting calls away from the more expensive contact center.
  • Increases time-on-site. When customers find what they’re looking for in a painless manner, they’re more likely to spend more time on your site, looking for additional information or products. 
  • Provides overall better customer experiences. Let’s be honest, site search isn’t  top-of-mind. But if you can not only make the functionality an accurate, seamless experience for your visitors and provide recommended solutions based on search terms---well you’ve hit the site search jackpot. 
Read more

Mobile Security Technologies 2015

Tyler Shields

Today, I'm officially kicking off the 2015 version of the Mobile Security Technology Radar and I need your help! 

Mobile security is one of the fastest changing, most dynamic markets that I have ever seen in my life (and I've been around the block a few times). Just when enterprises think they have it all figured out, a new shiny blinking toy is released that promises to secure mobility better than ever before. I began formally tracking the mobile security space for Forrester in the summer of 2013. One of my early reports was the 2013 Mobile Security Technology Radar which I slightly updated in the winter of 2014. Both enterprises and vendors alike responded very positively to these reports, citing the valuable insights that allowed them to predict the movements of a market that changes faster than Katy Perry at the super bowl halftime show.

What isn't always evident in the reports that we write at Forrester is the depth and details in the research we do. For example, the graphic below represents quantified survey results of industry experts, vendors, and customers of mobile device management technologies that offers insite into the market sentiment on MDM solutions in 2013. MDM was a pretty hot technology in the summer of 2013 and the lack of red market sentiment helped us predict that this technology would thrive in the near future (see graphic below). Things really get interesting when we have year over year trending data to help us gain additional insite into the future market movements.

Read more

The Mobile App Gap: Still A Billion Apps Short

Ted Schadler

Think 1.5 million apps is a lot? Pfffft. Netcraft reports 175 million active websites globally. Each one of those sites has many "apps" embedded in it -- one for shopping, one for service, one for each region or product line. I'm guessing we have a global app potential of 1 billion. 

The ancient elders of the web era -- vendors, webmasters, marketers, technology managers, agencies -- all appear to operate under the delusion that if they add responsive web templates to their site, they can make each of those billion experiences a mobile moment. Pfffft. They can't. Responsive web techniques are better than nothing -- at least Google will stop cramming your site to the bottom of the search list. But it's not enough to serve customers in their mobile moments of need.

To do that requires knowing exactly what someone needs, then creating the shortest path from I Want to I Get. And that means nailing the mobile moment.

We know already that people spend more time shopping on their smartphones than on computers. We know already that 70% of the traffic to Walmart.com around Black Friday 2014 came from mobile devices. We know already that 69 million Americans go online more often from smartphones than any other device. [Source: Forrester Research] 

Mobile is not an option. It's your reality. Mobile is as urgent for business customers and employees as for consumers. Here's what one manufacturer had to say: "Our customers look for us when they're installing our equipment in their datacenter. If we're not on their smartphone, then we don't exist." 

Read more

To Be Customer-Obsessed, Firms Must Also Be Technology-Obsessed

Ted Schadler

There is much talk about being customer-obsessed. What does it take to be customer-obsessed?

Recently, in The New Yorker, Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, a small energy company in Vermont, told a story of customer-obsession. Her customer-obsession starts simply: Help customers reduce their energy footprint at no net cost. Green Mountain accomplishes this by investing hugely in the latest and best technology, to pull electricity from the sun, insulate the bejesus out of the house, run massively efficient heat pumps, and micro-manage the draw on the power grid draw. Yes, the capital expenses and labor costs are immense. But when you reduce a home's energy footprint by 85%, you reduce the $250 electric bill by 85% -- or more than $25,000 over 10 years.

Green Mountain Power has a customer-obsessed culture and a customer-obsessed operating model. But it also has become expert in using technology to win, serve, and retain customers. The company is technology-obsessed, often out ahead of even the pundits when it comes to the latest technology. Green Mountain Power unites all three forces to be customer-obsessed: culture, operating model, technology.

The same is true for every company and government. Igniting a culture of customer experience is important. Relentlessly improving the operating model to put customers first is also important. But without the right customer-serving business technology in place, customers will be stuck with ancient web sites, cranky mobile apps, pathetic call centers, and disempowered employees.

Read more

Better Customer Experience Correlates With Higher Revenue Growth In Most Industries

Harley Manning

Does customer experience really matter to business success — or is CX just the latest flavor of hype? Recently, Forrester completed a six-month research effort aimed at answering that question by examining the relationship between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth. 

Why did we pick revenue growth as the measure of business success? Because it’s the No. 1 priority of global business leaders recently surveyed by Forrester.

So with that in mind, here’s what we did: Aided by some long-suffering research associates, some of our top industry experts and I picked pairs of competitors where one of each pair had significantly higher customer experience quality than the other (as rated by their own customers). We did this for five very different industries: cable, airlines, investments, retail, and health insurance. Then we built models that compared the compound annual growth rate in revenue of the CX leaders to the CX laggards between 2010 and 2014.

The results were intriguing. There was a clear correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth for cable companies, airlines, full-service investment firms, direct investment firms, and retailers. However, the magnitude of the difference varied widely by industry, with cable coming out on top: 35.4% for the CX leader versus 5.7% for the CX laggard. Even more interesting, the results were a virtual draw for health insurers — superior CX didn’t seem to matter much when it came to revenue growth.

Read more

Is Zombie Data Taking Over?

Michele Goetz

It is easy to get ahead of ourselves with all the innovation happening with data and analytics. I wouldn't call it hype, as that would imply no value or competency has been achieved. But I would say that what is bright, shiny, and new is always more interesting than the ordinary. 

And, to be frank, there is still a lot of ordinary in our data management world.

In fact, over the past couple of weeks, discussions with companies have uncommonly focused on the ordinary. This in some ways appeared to be unusual because questions focused on the basic foundational aspects of data management and governance — and for companies that I have seen talk publicly about their data management successes.

"Where do I clean the data?"

"How do I get the business to invest in data?"

"How do I get a single customer view of my customer for marketing?"

What this tells me is that companies are under siege by zombie data. 

Data is living in our business under outdated data policies and rules. Data processes and systems are persisting single-purpose data. As data pros turn over application rocks and navigate through the database bogs to centralize data for analytics and virtualize views for new data capabilities, zombie data is lurching out to consume more of the environment, blocking other potential insight to keep the status quo.

The questions you and your data professional cohorts are asking, as illustrated above, are anything but basic. The fact that these foundational building blocks have to be assessed once again demonstrates that organizations are on a path to crush the zombie data siege, democratize data and insight, and advance the business. 

Keep asking basic questions — if you aren't, zombie data will eventually take over, and you and your organization will become part of the walking dead.

Read more

Forrester’s Security & Risk Analyst Spotlight – Nick Hayes

Stephanie Balaouras

He declined to live tweet his upcoming wedding from the altar, but there is no doubt that Nick Hayes is the social media expert on Forrester’s S&R team. He has extensive knowledge of the security, privacy, archiving, and compliance challenges of social media, as well as the technical controls used to address them. He also specializes in the tools that monitor and analyze social data to improve oversight and mitigation tactics of myriad reputational, third-party, security, and operational risks. He is certainly aware of the reputational risk of staring at your cell phone when you’re supposed to say, “I do”, but maybe if you follow him (@nickhayes10), you might get lucky with a pic or two -- and some good risk thoughts to boot.

Read more

Global Tablet Forecast: Consumer Is Volatile But Business Tablets Are Resilient

JP Gownder

Tablets, once the darling of the consumer electronics industry, have hit hard times -- if you measure by shipments and sales. While the installed user base continues to grow -- Forrester forecasts that 580 million people will be using tablets globally by the end of 2015 -- shipment numbers have been disappointing, even looking at Apple's iPad. In Q2, 2015, Apple sold 12.62 million iPads, a whopping 23% drop compared with Q2, 2014 when the company sold 16.35 million. Clearly, all is not well in tablet-land.

We lay out the reasons for this generalized market volatility in our major new forecast report, Global Tablet Forecast 2015 to 2018: Despite Market Volatility, Tablets Are Big In Business. Some important factors? A lack of replacement behavior, whereby many consumers hold on to older tablet models, has persisted due to a lack of genuine new innovations (and the fact that, say, an iPad 3 still works well). We present other factors in the full report.

But there's a bright spot in the tablet industry -- the company-purchased segment. Our forecast shows that enterprise tablets are growing as a percentage of the market, from 6% in 2010 to 20% by 2018. These tablets can be Apple iPads, Windows-based tablets, or Android devices, and they are generally purchased and managed by the company on behalf of employees, who might receive them individually or, in other use cases, share the devices.

The enterprise segment is being driven by a variety of factors.

Read more

Book Mini-Review: "Customer Experience: What, How, And Why Now"

Harley Manning

Over the weekend, I read the manuscript for Don Peppers' upcoming book, Customer Experience: What, How, and Why Now.

Because Don is a talented writer, and because I love customer experience, it wasn’t hard for me to start reading it. It was, however, hard to stop reading it. If you’re also into customer experience, you’ll no doubt have a similar reaction when it comes out.

What I like most about the book is that Peppers consistently grounds customer experience in business fundamentals. For example, he points out that the decision to focus on customer experience should never be binary: You don’t have to be customer-centric or product-centric, nor does spending to deliver a better CX mean wasting money. The reality is that focusing on customer experience can lead to new and better products and help create an even more profitable business — provided that you understand it.

Of course, learning to understand the practical aspects of customer experience can be hard work — much like attending a particularly tough business class. But that’s not the case here. Peppers makes the nuts and bolts of customer experience engaging and even visceral. To see what I mean, check out two of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • "If you think about it, a customer is really just a bundle of future cash flows, with a memory. And these future cash flows will increase or decrease based on how the customer remembers being treated, today."
  • “Customers don’t necessarily stay because they’re satisfied, but they often leave because they’re not.”
Read more

Does Facebook still like the "like"?

Erna Alfred Liousas
Change is constant, especially with Facebook. Not too long ago it changed its algorithm to allow users to see their favorite content within their New Feeds first. Then it introduced Instant Articles to help publishers create interactive articles on Facebook. This week, Facebook updated its logo and its algorithm again. This update helps users prioritize stories and posts by allowing them to select the friends and pages they'd like to see at the top of their News Feed. And now for the grand reveal...
 
Facebook will no longer use likes in its cost per click measurement definition.
 
 
Yes, you read correctly, Facebook is discounting the value of its likes to the point where it doesn't factor into their click metric.  
 
Why is this happening now? 
At the end of the day, ads cost money. If Facebook wants to keep that ad revenue flowing, they've got to connect those ads to the things that drive the bottom line -- items that tie back to business goals, to justify the expense to marketers. Going forward, these clicks will factor into CPC:
  • Clicks to visit another website
  • Call-to-action clicks (Shop Now)
  • Clicks to install an app
  • Clicks to Facebook canvas apps, and
Read more