The New Customer Service Mandate - It’s No Longer Socially Acceptable To Not Be Social

Ian Jacobs

This a guest post by Danielle Geoffroy, a Research Associate on the Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) team.

Customer service teams are facing a dilemma that may bring back high school nostalgia – if you want to be one of the cool kids, you need to be social. But simply being present in the social scene doesn’t automatically make you hip to the digital customer. You need to talk the talk and have the latest gadgets.

In our recent report, we discuss the new reality of social customer service, and outline tools you should adopt for social workforce optimization.  Companies have all felt social flip the table – it affects their core business model because newly empowered customers have a giant bullhorn to make their feelings known. As a result, companies must incorporate social into all realms of their business, especially customer service teams.

Customers turning to social channels for service support have high expectations (I know I do). Those expectations mean you’ll need to:

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Make Your BI Environment More Agile With BI on Hadoop

Boris Evelson
In the past three decades, management information systems, data integration, data warehouses (DWs), BI, and other relevant technologies and processes only scratched the surface of turning data into useful information and actionable insights:
  • Organizations leverage less than half of their structured data for insights. The latest Forrester data and analytics survey finds that organizations use on average only 40% of their structured data for strategic decision-making. 
  • Unstructured data remains largely untapped. Organizations are even less mature in their use of unstructured data. They tap only about a third of their unstructured data sources (28% of semistructured and 31% of unstructured) for strategic decision-making. And these percentages don’t include more recent components of a 360-degree view of the customer, such as voice of the customer (VoC), social media, and the Internet of Things. 
  • BI architectures continue to become more complex. The intricacies of earlier-generation and many current business intelligence (BI) architectural stacks, which usually require the integration of dozens of components from different vendors, are just one reason it takes so long and costs so much to deliver a single version of the truth with a seamlessly integrated, centralized enterprise BI environment.
  • Existing BI architectures are not flexible enough. Most organizations take too long to get to the ultimate goal of a centralized BI environment, and by the time they think they are done, there are new data sources, new regulations, and new customer needs, which all require more changes to the BI environment.
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Social Marketers: Give Away Your Ad Budget

Nate Elliott

Social marketers have worked for years to justify ad budgets—and that effort is finally paying off. But if you’re a social marketer, and you want your social advertising to succeed, you’d be better off giving that money to your media buying team instead.

We recently surveyed 173 of the most avid social marketers in the world and found that the large majority are buying ads on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. More than two-thirds said they would increase their social ad budget this year. And in most cases, they told us the social team or social agency was responsible for this social ad spending.

But it turns out social teams aren’t very good at spending social ad dollars. Sure, social practitioners claim they’re as good as media buyers at getting value from Facebook ads — a claim few can back up — but even the social marketers themselves they admit to lagging far behind their media-buying peers on other sites.

When social teams run the social ad budget, just 59% of marketers say they get value from Twitter ads; when media teams are in charge, Twitter delivers results 79% of the time. Likewise, social teams only get value from YouTube ads 64% of the time; media teams find success on YouTube 80% of the time.

Media Teams Spend Social Ad Budgets More Effectively

So what should you do with your social ad budget? Take a lesson from some of the most successful social advertisers and give almost all of your social ad dollars to the media team, rather than to the social team:

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DAM Faces An Overcast Future Without Cloud

Anjali Yakkundi

Forrester recently published a report on moving digital experience platforms into the cloud. This effort, led by my colleagues Ted Schadler and Mark Grannan, highlights an important point: digital experience platforms have been slow to embrace cloud delivery and only now, very slowly, are they embracing cloud alternatives. Why now? Forrester data shows us that clients demand cloud delivery so they can speed up implementation and deployment times, support mobile and remote users, lower overall costs, and replace upfront capital spending with monthly operating cost expenses. 

While digital experience platforms are typically anchored by core technologies like web content management, eCommerce, and/or campaign management, digital asset management is a core complementary piece of these platforms. DAM supports these solutions by managing omnichannel brand and rich media content. But compared to these other digital experience platform components, DAM is among the slowest to embrace cloud delivery. Many of the most prominent DAM vendors today have been very slow to adopt cloud delivery, and as such, the market is ripe for a cloud disrupter to change the pace of the market. 

So what’s happening in the market today? In short, some vendors show hints of promise of doing what Salesforce has done to the CRM market, but no one vendor has stepped to the plate yet:

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Covering Cloud Computing From Europe For Forrester’s CIO Role

Hello from the newest analyst serving Forrester Research’s CIO role. My name is Paul Miller, and I joined Forrester at the beginning of August. I am attached to Forrester’s London office, but it’s already clear that I’ll be working with clients across many time zones.

As my Analyst bio describes, my primary focus is on cloud computing, with a particular interest in the way that cloud-based approaches enable (or even require) organizations to embrace digital transformation of themselves and their customer relationships. Before joining Forrester, I spent six years as an independent analyst and consultant. My work spanned cloud computing and big data and I am sure that this broader portfolio of interests will continue into my Forrester research, particularly where I can explore the demonstrable value that these approaches bring to those who embrace them.

I am still working on the best way to capture and explain my research coverage, talking with many of my new colleagues, and learning about potential synergies between what they already do and what I could or should be doing. I know that the first document to appear with my name on it will be a CIO-friendly look at OpenStack, as the genesis of this new Brief lies in a report that I had to write as part of Forrester’s recruitment process. I have a long (long, long) list of further reports I am keen to get started on, and these should begin to appear online as upcoming titles in the very near future. I shall also be blogging here, and look forward to using this as a way to get shorter thoughts and perspectives online relatively quickly. I’ve been regularly blogging for work since early 2004, although too many of the blogs I used to write for are now only preserved in the vaults of Brewster Kahle’s wonderful Internet Archive.

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It's Time To Bring Your Digital Experiences To The Cloud

Ted Schadler
Despite the hype of marketing clouds, the full suite of software found in digital experience (DX) platforms has been slow to move to the cloud. Fortunately, digital experience platform vendors like Acquia, Adobe, EPiServer, and SAP hybris are now embracing the cloud to deploy and operate their software. Cloud DX stalwarts like Automattic, Crownpeak, and DNN are growing rapidly. Disruptive players like Weebly, Wix, and Squarespace are zooming up from the bottom to empower practitioners. And service providers like Deloitte, Razorfish, and SapientNitro have repositioned their managed hosting options as more cloud-like DX platforms.
 
But what cloud benefits do vendors and service providers actually deliver? That's been tough to nail down. In a new Forrester report, we clarify the scary terminology for digital experience platforms in the cloud, articulate the benefits that come from each cloud model, and prod the vendors you rely on to simplify how they talk about their cloud services (see Figure 1). With this report, we also announce our deeper investigation into how the cloud will disruptively improve digital experience platforms.
 
  • It's time to bring your digital experiences to the cloud. Companies can run a chunk of their digital experience platform in the cloud and deploy new sites in weeks or days. Deploying that same functionality on-premises can take months or years. If you are a marketer or developer with an immediate need -- and if a decent cloud solution is available -- you'll take the cloud, thank you very much.
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Welcome to my customer analytics blog!

Greetings!  My name is Brandon Purcell and I am the new Senior Analyst serving Customer Insights professionals at Forrester.  I will cover customer analytics which uses advanced analytics to analyze customer data to optimize customer-focused programs and initiatives to drive acquisition, retention, cross-sell/upsell, loyalty, personalization, and contextual marketing. I am a recovering customer analytics practitioner and come to Forrester from a boutique consulting firm where I led a team of data scientists that helped our clients solve their urgent business challenges by harnessing the latent value in their customer data.  A few highlights from my former life:

  • I helped develop a best in class Voice of the Customer program at one of the country’s largest banks
  • I created and led many trainings in business applications of predictive analytics
  • I built a patented algorithm that uses geospatial data to predict a person’s future location
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Data Digest: Business Technology-Focused Companies Win In The Age Of The Customer

Christopher Kelley

Forrester has written extensively about the Business Technology imperative in the Age of the Customer. While the transformation from IT to BT is challenging, Forrester’s Business Technographics data highlights how business leaders have increased – and plan to continue increasing – their technology spending. This means that the train has left the station and CIOs can either embrace this shift or fight against the BT transformation tide.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the BT agenda, these data also show the difference between BT-Leaders -- companies that embrace a BT agenda -- compared to BT-Laggards – companies that are entrenched in the traditional IT mentality vis-a-vis Business Technology needs.

Specifically, we found that businesses with IT departments that help accelerate business success are more likely to:

  • Have had double-digit growth in 2014. The bottom line is important. We found that 30% of companies that BT-Leaders grew at 10% or more in 2014 compared to 2013, compared to 26% of BT-Laggards.
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Digital Marketers Are Increasingly Taking Responsibility For eCommerce Initiatives In China

Xiaofeng Wang

In my previous report, Overcome Top Digital Challenges In 2015, we found that digital marketers’ top challenge is meeting increased pressure to deliver business outcomes. In fact, they’re gradually taking on more responsibilities directly related to business outcomes, such as eCommerce. My latest brief, Digital Marketers Are Embracing eCommerce, And China Is Leading The Way, helps B2C marketers understand this emerging trend and embrace the opportunity to deliver consistent digital experiences to customers.

One-third of the digital marketers in China who responded to our survey indicated that eCommerce is one of their job responsibilities (see the figure). Forrester sees this trend developing in China as well as in Western markets. For example, in the US, Gap redesigned its global CMO role by merging eCommerce and digital marketing in a single executive position earlier this year.

However, the fusion of digital marketing and eCommerce teams is happening more extensively in China because:

  • Social and commerce are more closely intertwined in China than anywhere else. The bond between social media and eCommerce is extremely close in China, exemplified by the strategic partnerships between WeChat and JD.com and between Alibaba and Weibo.
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Australian And New Zealand Firms Say CX Is A Top Priority — But Do They Really Mean It?

Tom McCann

Lots of things are critical to delivering a great customer experience (CX). For instance, do you really understand your customers or simply do a great job of segmenting them? Do you actively encourage employees to provide feedback and recommendations on CX issues? And do you consistently get back to them on actions taken as a result of their feedback?

The truth is, you need to excel at all these practices to deliver exceptional customer experience. But even if you do, it may still not be enough. Ultimately, you’ll only excel at CX if you’ve properly aligned your CX strategy with your overall company strategy.

Forrester recently surveyed 52 Australian and New Zealand businesses, and of those surveyed, 98% believe that their companies are committed to improving CX. But only one-third have a CX strategy that’s actually aligned with the overall company strategy. Forrester's clients can access the full report here. That gap, the one between the priorities of the company strategy and the priorities of the CX strategy, is the business equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle; not all ships that enter will find their way out.

Whether you call them consumers, businesses, patients, citizens, or something else entirely, winning, serving, and retaining those customers must be a primary goal. And how can you achieve that goal? Ensure your CX strategy is actually aligned with the organization’s strategy. If you are one of the almost 70% of companies that have not aligned their corporate and CX strategies, you are like that ship trying to navigate the Bermuda Triangle on a very dark night, without a compass or charts.

Don’t be that company.