The Danger Of Big Data

A couple of months ago, I spoke at a conference in Las Vegas. Immediately before my talk, two advertising execs, one a professed quant geek and the other a “creative,” spoke about how their agencies rely less on hunches these days and more on quantitative data to drive emotional relevance between their clients and consumers. “We can identify human emotions in massive rivers of data,” the ad men said. When I pressed them for an example during the Q&A session, they described how they had recently mined millions of clickstreams, search queries, video views, website clicks, and the like for a major mortgage lender. All in, the technology investment behind their analysis must have stacked well into six figures. And their big emotional insight? When people start shopping around for a mortgage, that’s all they can focus on until they’ve gotten it all sorted out.

I could hardly believe my ears! Any skilled ethnographer could have discovered that same insight — and then some — through a day of in-home customer visits and $150 in taxi receipts.

Customer experience professionals can now glean customer insights from social media, financial systems, emails, surveys, call centers, and digital and analog sensors. It’s amazing and wonderful, yes. But here’s the danger: Companies that become mesmerized by big data put themselves at risk of spending enormous amounts of time and money amassing new data sources — and in the process, forgetting that research methods like observation and one-on-one interviews even exist. This has the potential to create a large, and exceedingly expensive, blind spot.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a big data hater. However, to create a complete picture of who your customers are and what they really need, you need a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.

Read more

Outside In Holiday Promotion (Part Two) — Book Giveaway!

Our book giveaway contest is over and our 10 randomly selected winners are:

Holly S. from Fannie Mae
Arshad F. from Mobrise 
Thomas Z. from CIO2020.com
Juha-Pekka H. from P&C Insurance
Monika K. from HSBC
Francesco R. from Pasticceria Romeo
Kim P. — @retaincustomers
Christian B. — @CSinnovations4
Derek G. — @derekgardiner
Zsolt N. — @zsoltnagy4
 
Someone from Forrester will be in touch soon. Congratulations, and happy reading!

 

***

What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful — and misunderstood — element of corporate strategy today. Your gut already tells you that customer experience is the key to business success. Now you can prove it. Based on fourteen years of research, Forrester’s new book Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage.

Want to win a copy of Outside InWe’re giving away 10 copies this Friday, December 14. You can enter to win two different ways:

Option 1: Tweet

Read more

Help Forrester Make Its 2013 Customer Experience Predictions!

It’s that time of the year again . . . Most of you are well into (if not done with) your 2013 planning — and at Forrester, we’ve also got our eyes on the year ahead.

Ron Rogowski and I have been engaging our fellow analysts in lively conversations about what will happen in the field of customer experience (CX) in 2013. But before we tell you what we think, we want to get your perspective on what 2013 will bring. So here’s your chance for fame and fortune — or at least the opportunity to be mentioned in a Forrester report! If your ideas or comments contribute to our final analysis, we’ll add you as a contributor to the research.

Specifically, we’d love to know:

  • What will be your biggest CX challenges next year?
  • What are your most important CX initiatives and priorities for the next 12 months?
  • What are your predictions for the field of CX in 2013?

Please share your thoughts for 2013 in the comments section below, or join the conversation in our customer experience community. We can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Mark your calendars: Our predictions report will be out in January, and we’ll share our prognostications in a teleconference on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. ET (18:00 GMT).