Seeing is believing for financial services firms as they increasingly embrace video as a sales and service channel

Art Schoeller

When we think of obstacles financial services firms need to overcome in order to win, retain, and serve customers, one of the largest ones that come to mind is trust and transparency.  For financial services firms these attributes are key to boosting deeper customer engagement with wealth management clients and grow share of wallet in retail banking.

Those that have successfully done this in the past need to adapt to the mindset and needs of the modern digital customer.   In our recent report, we explore the effectiveness of using varying video channels to not only pull customers in, but build the relationship of the financial partner. “Hey, we’re in this together” is what we all want to hear from the person holding our money, right?

Three ways financial firms are finding customer success through video:

1.       Instant access to a human. One of the realities with serving the modern consumer is that they will want immediate access to you, and sometimes a quick balance check is not going to cut it.  Consider deploying a video chat solution for your high net worth customers.

2.       Assure them of your knowledge and understanding of the market. Your customers don’t know what they don’t know, that is why they are turning to you.  A best practice video on choosing the right home insurance policy creates the empathy people crave, much more than a text filled webpage.

3.       Brand videos.  Financial firms know our cousin’s husbands name.  Showing us what you are about, what your values and promises are, create a valuable but often lost connection with the customer.

Read more

Here Come The Insights Ecosystem (s)

Ted Schadler

In doing research on why big data is not enough and customer insights teams are disconnected from business operations, Brian Hopkins and I came across three hugely important things happening:

  1. Firms are adopting systems of insight -- insights teams with business, data, and developer skills using an insights-to-execution process and taking advantage of a new insights architecture. This is what our new big idea report is about.
  2. Service providers are building insights practices with reusable technology, reusable insights models (including some with cognitive capabilities), and reusable engagement models for an industry or business function. Deloitte Digital and now IBM specialize in this, but many other service providers are recrafting their analytics practices to jump in.
Read more

Expand Your Big Data Capabilities With Unstructured Text Analytics

Boris Evelson
Beware of insights! Real danger lurks behind the promise of big data to bring more data to more people faster, better, and cheaper: Insights are only as good as how people interpret the information presented to them. When looking at a stock chart, you can't even answer the simplest question — "Is the latest stock price move good or bad for my portfolio?" — without understanding the context: where you are in your investment journey and whether you're looking to buy or sell. While structured data can provide some context — like checkboxes indicating your income range, investment experience, investment objectives, and risk tolerance levels — unstructured data sources contain several orders of magnitude more context. An email exchange with a financial advisor indicating your experience with a particular investment vehicle, news articles about the market segment heavily represented in your portfolio, and social media posts about companies in which you've invested or plan to invest can all generate much broader and deeper context to better inform your decision to buy or sell. 
But defining the context by finding structures, patterns, and meaning in unstructured data is not a simple process. As a result, firms face a gap between data and insights; while they are awash in an abundance of customer and marketing data, they struggle to convert this data into the insights needed to win, serve, and retain customers. In general, Forrester has found that: 
  • The problem is not a lack of data. Most companies have access to plenty of customer feedback surveys, contact center records, mobile tracking data, loyalty program activities, and social media feeds — but, alas, it's not easily available to business leaders to help them make decisions. 
Read more

Digital Insights Are the New Currency of Business

Ted Schadler

All the big data technology in the world won't close the gaps between data and action. One global bank told us, "even with all the capabilities and tools in place, we are drowning in data and starving for insight."

To harness the power of all your data to attract and serve customers -- to be a digital business -- you also need a new way of consistently harnessing insights that matter: insights teams using an insights-to-execution process anchored by a new digital insights architecture. We call this combination of people, process, and technology "systems of insight" (see Figure 1).

Brian Hopkins and I just released a Forrester report called "Digital Insights Are the New Currency of Business" for CIOs. I've never worked harder or longer on a 16-page document: one year, 75 drafts, and help from 25 colleagues spanning business, marketing, data, and technology.

What we found is that successful firms go beyond big data and business intelligence practices to build the business discipline and technology to harness insights and consistently turn data into action. This approach works by linking business actions back to data and discovering and testing insights to take action (see Figure 2).
Systems of insight embody five essential advances over previous approaches:
Read more

Is Your Dream Digital Experience Services Partner Out There?

Anjali Yakkundi

Today, it is vital for companies to understand and connect to every moment of the digital customer journey. But for most organizations, there are so many delivery challenges that they can’t do it alone:  84% of companies we surveyed use agencies and/or system integrator partners to help deliver digital customer experiences.

Choosing the right services firm takes some match-making magic: the partnership can either end up as a happy marriage or end in bitter divorce. In order to help Forrester clients, we recently released our report, Market Overview: Digital Experience Services Providers 2015, in order to provide an overview of nearly 50 services vendors with significant digital experience delivery practices. These are all vendors that have experience helping firms strategize, design, implement, and optimize customer-facing web and mobile experiences. Over the course of this research we discovered:

  • Despite similar messaging, services vendors come from distinctive DNAs.  Thousands of services providers have popped up, hoping to help firms solve these digital experience delivery challenges. But despite similar vendor promises that they  can “solve it all” we found that firms come from a variety of different DNAs (e.g. technical services, global agencies, specialist agencies, consultancies) that reveal which types of initiatives they are best –fit to help solve. For example, technical services firms are often better suited for initiatives with heavy integration needs and large, complex global implementations.
Read more

Apple Watch -- Bliss or Bling? Glanceable Moments Will Decide

Ted Schadler

Our 2014 Technographics survey of 4,575 North American consumers reveals that 40% of smartphone owners are "tired of pulling my phone out of my pocket." No wonder. Smartphones have become an extension of our psyches -- our confidence and our strength, our entertainer and our assistant. We look at them sometimes 100s of times a day in our mobile moments of need. How many of those moments can shrink down to wrist size?

We're about to find out. Apple is shipping its Apple Watch today. Millions of people will buy them. But will it be bliss or bling? Will people will still be wearing an Apple Watch six months from now? And will word spread so it shows up in the holiday gift list of millions more consumers?

Source: Forrester Research, Inc.

I believe that Apple Watch can succeed and even has a chance to make geeky watches cool. But only if app designers and developers master a new kind of mobile moment we called glanceable moments or micro moments.

Here's a rule of thumb: people will stare at a desktop screen for 3 minutes. They will spend 30 seconds on their smartphone. But they will spend only 3 seconds with a watch app. That's a glanceable moment: 3 seconds to communicate vital information, deliver a service, or help someone take action.

Read more

Contact Centers Must Go Digital Or Die

Kate Leggett

Customers are impatient with poor service. They want an accurate, relevant, and complete answer to their question upon first contact so they can get back to what they were doing before the issue arose. Forrester data shows that 55% of US online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.77% say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.

It's no surprise that our recent survey data shows that customers of all ages are increasingly using self-service channels (web, mobile, IVR)  for a first point of contact for customer service. In fact, for the first time in the history of our survey, respondents reported using the FAQ pages on a company's website more often than speaking with an agent over the phone. Self-service gives you that "pain-free" or effortless experience that consumers want. Customers escalate the harder questions to a live agent - whether its chat, email or a phone agent - and these calls become opportunities to help build stronger relationships with your customers to garner their long-term loyalty.

But contact centers are not delivering to expectations. We find that:

Read more

The Forrester Wave™ Evaluation Of Functional Test Automation (FTA) Is Out And It's All About Going Beyond GUI Testing

Diego Lo Giudice

A few months ago, I blogged about testing quality@speed in the same way that F1 racing teams do to win races and fans. Last week, I published my F(TA)1 Forrester Wave! It examines the capabilities of nine vendors to evaluate how they support Agile development and continuous delivery teams when it comes to continuous testing: Borland, CA Technologies, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Parasoft, SmartBear, TestPlant, and Tricentis. However, only Forrester clients can attend “the race” to see the leaders.

The market overview section of our evaluation complements the analysis in the underlying model by looking at other providers that either augment FTA capabilities, play in a different market segment, or did not meet one of the criteria for inclusion in the Forrester Wave. These include: 1) open source tools like Selenium and Sahi, 2) test case design and automation tools like Grid-Tools Agile Designer, and 3) other tools, such as Original Software, which mostly focuses on graphical user interface (GUI) and packaged apps testing, and Qualitia and Applitools, which focus on GUI and visualization testing.

We deliberately weighted the Forrester Wave criteria more heavily towards “beyond GUI” and API testing approaches. Why? Because:

Read more

Google's Mobile-Friendly Search Will Bury Your Mobile-Unfriendly Sites

Ted Schadler

Customer are mobile first. Is your website? Are all your webpages?

Google did something important for your customers today: it changed its ranking algorithm for searches on smartphones. If Google deems your web page mobile-unfriendly, then it will be devalued in the search rankings. Your page will be buried.

My colleagues Mark Grannan, Jennifer Wise, Deanna Laufer, Peter Sheldon, and I capture the problem and how to fix it in a new Forrester report: Don't let this good crisis go to waste -- use it to convince your company to make the mobile mind shift and invest in mobile-friendly experiences. I summarize the report here.


1. The digital world is web.

With 177 million active websites in the world and enterprises reporting 268 websites (with sometimes 10s of thousands of webpages), this amounts to 10s of billions of webpages that are either mobile-friendly or not. This is not a small problem. It's a problem with global scale and complexity.



2. Customers are mobile.

Our data is irrefutable: 2/3rds of the global online population uses smartphones. And 86% of US smartphone owners use Google to find websites.

Base: 1,680 US online smartphone owners (18+)

Source: Forrester's Consumer Technographics Behavioral Study, Q1, 2015


3. Most enterprise webpages are designed for PCs only.

Read more

Measure and improve contact center agent experience in order to improve customer experience

Ian Jacobs

Contact center agents have a huge impact on customer experience. Unhappy contact center agents equal unhappy customers. It's that simple. Contact center agents who feel disengaged, unhappy with their job or their lot in life, or are simply having a bad day can make a customer's contact center experience seem like root canal surgery. Given that, measuring how happy and engaged agents are and then improving the agent experience should be a priority for any company focused on driving improved customer experiences.

We’ve written before about the new breed of contact center agents and what types of tools they need to succeed at their job. Technology, however, represents just a piece of the puzzle. Firstly, not all contact center tools drive positive agent experience. For example, tools too focused on making the agent experience efficient risk allowing agents to just breeze through tasks and disengage their mind — and their judgment — from the processes of serving customers. Secondly, while tools are important, they are not the only issues that influence the agent experience.

Of course, improvement begins with measurement and benchmarking. Our research shows that, to date:

  • Agent surveys have not provided contact center pros the insight into agent experience they need. Using HR-style surveys turns up the usual array of woes: bad bosses, bad coworkers, or bad coffee. Contact center pros cannot tackle these issues, even though they may be important to the overall work environment. On the other hand, targeting surveys to technology issues provides actionable insights on how to improve the contact center experience.
Read more