Can You Buy Your Way To A Better Customer Experience?

Earlier this month, Avis announced that it will acquire Zipcar. On paper, the combination of a traditional car rental company with a car-sharing service sounds like a win-win deal. Unfortunately, many of Zipcar’s customers think they’ll end up as losers. Here’s just a sampling from the hundreds of comments that concerned Zipsters have posted on Facebook since the acquisition announcement.

  • “Avis is horrible. They ‘lost’ a car I returned not that long ago. It was in the parking lot the entire time but was recorded as being a different color. And they were insanely ignorant and seemed [to] revel in my panic . . . ”
  • “I've had the worst experiences with Avis, repeatedly :-(”
  • “I've had nothing but terrible experiences with Avis. I want to believe that Zipcar will not change, but I'm very skeptical that this will turn out good . . . ”
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Forrester’s 2013 Customer Experience Predictions

Over the past two years, consumer technology adoption and market forces have catapulted the field of customer experience into strategic stature. In 2012, this shift manifested itself privately through sweeping organizational changes at companies in nearly every industry — and shined publicly through professional organizations, the media, and even the courts.

However, it will be years before customer experience is embedded to the same degree as mature business disciplines like finance, human resources, and information technology. While many firms have been working diligently to improve their customer experience for years, still others remain woefully in the dark about the business value it can bring. The net result is that in 2013 — and for several years to come — the customer experience industry will be characterized by efforts that range wildly from systematic change initiatives to desperate shortcuts.

In our latest report, Ron Rogowski and I outline the changes that customer experience professionals can expect in 2013 and highlight the pitfalls that companies need to avoid during the upcoming year. For example:

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