Trends In Customer Experience

I’m moderating the “Trends in Customer Experience” panel at the upcoming “Customer Experience Forum” in New York on June 29th and 30th… and couldn’t be more excited.  In preparation for the event, I’ve been talking with my panelists, who include: Kathleen Cattrall, Vice President of Branded Customer Experience for Time Warner Cable; Neff Hudson, Assistant Vice President of Member Experience at USAA; and Janice Brown, Manager of Channel Strategy and Orchestration at FedEx. Among others, here are three reasons to come see this session:

  • Building an organization-wide customer experience movement. Kathleen is a powerhouse who describes her work in terms of a grassroots revolution. She credits, in part, Time Warner Cable’s 14-point CxPi jump this past year to her success at making customer experience the key agenda item for a 3-day set of sessions with 400 senior leaders company-wide.
     
  • Orchestrating cross-channel strategy. Janice devotes her waking hours to orchestrating customer experience across channels, which makes her a treasure trove of ideas about getting buy-in from a diverse group of leaders company-wide.
     
  • Integrating marketing, sales, and service. Customer experience veteran Neff Hudson focuses on this integration, ensuring quality across all customer touchpoints, including social media, call center, IVR, Web, mobile, and face-to-face. He has great perspective on bringing the customer voice into new product design, which includes USAA’s launch of Deposit@Mobile, a mobile app that lets members deposit checks using the camera in their smartphone.

Google TV Is A Bigger Deal Than You Think

It has only been a few weeks since Google announced it would create a brave, new world with its Google TV platform. In all the reactions and the commentary, I have been amazed at how little people understand what's really going on here. Let me summarize: Google TV is a bigger deal than you think. In fact, it is so big that I scrapped the blog post I drafted about it because only a full-length report (with supporting survey data) could adequately explain what Google TV has done and will do to the TV market. That report went live this week. Allow me to explain why the report was necessary.

Some have expressed surprise that Google would even care about TV in the first place. After all, Google takes nearly $7 billion dollars into its coffers each quarter from that little old search engine it sports, a run-rate of $27 billion a year. In fact, this has long been a problem Google faces -- its core business is so terribly profitable that it's hard to justify investing in its acquisitions and side projects which have zero hope of ever contributing meaningfully to the business (not unlike the problem at Microsoft where Windows 7 is Microsoft). So why would Google bother with the old TV in our living rooms?

Because TV matters in a way that nothing else does. Each year, the TV drives roughly $70 billion in advertising and an equal amount in cable and satellite fees, and another $25 billion in consumer electronics sales. Plus, viewers spend 4.5 hours a day with it -- which is, mind you, the equivalent of a full-time job in some socialist-leaning countries (I'll refrain from naming names). 

Google's goal is to get into that marketplace, eventually appropriating a healthy chunk of the billions in advertising that flow to and through the TV today with such painful inefficiency.

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Now Accepting Entries For The 2010 Groundswell Awards For Social Media

[Originally published by Josh Bernoff on the Groundswell blog.]

We first started the Forrester Groundswell awards in 2007. What a great run! We've seen applications like the one that the amazing Pete Williams used to raise a million dollars for recovery from Australian brush fires and the one that remade the rules for NASCAR. And for the people who created these award-winning applications, the awards have given them the recognition that helps them justify the great work they do.

This year, we're expanding them to match up to the expanding role that social applications play in business. It also means you have more ways to win.

We've got:

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Does Google's 'Sitelinks' Feature Improve Or Hurt Conversion Rates?

I don't know about you, but I like the 'extended' search results I sometimes see on Google. I mean the ones where Google, instead of just offering a single link for the top search result, provides you with several deep links into a site. It makes navigation faster, and that's a good thing.

Those extra links almost always show up in organic results, so you may not have known that marketers can actually buy this feature in their paid listings as well. Google calls them 'AdWords Ad Sitelinks.' But -- I'm starting to wonder how well these actually work for marketers. I noticed today that in Google's case study about how Nationwide Insurance used Sitelinks [pdf], Google says the clickthrough rate went up 73% but conversions only rose 60%. The case study isn't clear on whether that's conversions per click or overall conversions -- but it certainly sounds like overall conversions. In which case, the clicks Nationwide got from Sitelinks actually converted at a lower rate than the clicks they got from traditional paid listings.

Now, this is just one example -- and as I said, it's based on my reading of the case study. But if Sitelinks really did drive conversion rates down rather than up, surely that'd be a concern.

I'm curious -- have you used Sitelinks? If so, what did you think of the program's performance -- especially the conversion rates? Let us know in the comments below.

Are Cell Phones The Key To Reaching Latin American Consumers?

I am back from beautiful Cartagena, Colombia where the ESOMAR Latin American 2010 conference was held. In addition, last week, I met with media and advertising professionals focusing on the Latin American market in Miami at the annual Portada Panregional Advertising and Media Summit. At both conferences, a consistent theme resonated throughout all the talks — the Internet is a powerful vehicle for Latin American consumers to connect with peers and even companies; however, the digital divide still persists in Latin America.

We find that, on average, 56% of metropolitan consumers in Brazil and Mexico are not online. Therefore, companies are still unable to reach a significant number of consumers through social media tools. Does that mean that if you have identified that the majority of your target audience is not connected that you are on the sidelines and unable to harness the “power” of social media? I think the answer is no.

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Mobile Web: Long Tail Versus Short Tail Debate

Last year, every consumer brand seemed to be building an iPhone application. Towards the end of 2009, they began to say, 'We have an iPhone application. Now what?" For many, the answer seems to be "mobile Web." The open question is "how." I'll be publishing an in-depth study on how with my colleague Brian Walker, going into more depth on the implications of commerce for mobile Web builds. One of the strategic questions that must be answered first is, "do I build a mobile Web site for all devices (= long tail)?" or "do I have a more tiered approach with custom development for the handful of devices (short tail) which drive most of my traffic and a more automated approach for all the other devices (long tail)?" Good questions.

There are some good sources of information online. AdMob and Millennial Media publish monthly reports based on ad requests they see. Netbiscuits just published a white paper with a lot of good data.

First, how long is the long tail? According to the Netbiscuits white paper, it was 2,496 devices in February 2010. How short is the short tail (= 50% of the traffic)? In February 2010, only 12 devices. What is the number one device in each report? Yes, the iPhone -- or now iOS 4 platform. In terms of global traffic, Netbiscuits put Apple first with 36% of traffic while AdMob's numbers for Apple were a bit lower at 33%.

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Crowd Factory Launches New Social Campaign Product

Crowd Factory announced today a new product for marketers: CrowdWorks Social Campaign -- which it describes as a way for marketers “to acquire new customers through simple social sharing and custom social marketing campaigns while easily tracking ROI.”

The key word there is simple.  What Social Campaign offers marketers is not complex end-to-end community/social/conversational/engagement marketing functionality and services.  It’s a curated set of light social applications (like sharing and ratings) -- which it refers to as social gestures -- that marketers can use to impact the business goals they’ve already established for their campaigns.

The interface is as simple as the feature set too, which may be a welcome change of pace for marketers who are used to requesting design and coding work from already tapped development resources.  Crowd Factory says it takes 10 minutes, and no technical skills, to customize and deploy a social gesture, and having seen the dashboard, I can believe it.  Of course, that 10-minute time-to-launch comes only after the platform has been approved by whatever internal departments need to sign off on technology platforms, but once that step is completed, the dashboard is in fact a platform that can be used over and over to customize and deploy new social gestures without additional help from tech resources.

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Prevention And Consumer Self-Management

With the first round of health reform under our belts, it's time to shift attention from access to the real issue plaguing the American health system: cost. The cost issue is complex, spanning payment models, medical malpractice and defensive medicine, and the specialty versus primary care debate. But I want to focus on consumers, and the broader context in which they make their healthcare decisions.

A quick look at the list of the nation's most expensive health woes — which includes heart conditions, cancer, diabetes, and osteoarthritis — and it's hard to argue that consumers aren't at least partial architects of our own fates. Improvements in nutrition, exercise, weight control, stress management, smoking cessation, and sleep can put downward pressure on both severity and costs of all of those conditions.

Health plans, employers, and even policy makers aren't blind to the need to nudge consumers towards healthier behavior. But changing consumers' health behavior is hard. Program proponents bump up against consumers' self-awareness (most people think they behave better than they actually do), their perceptions (are they willing to trade off the short-term benefits of familiar habits for the long-term rewards of healthy behavior?), and even their psychology (consumers are risk averse, experiencing the pain of failure with more intensity than the joy of success).

All of this makes behavior change extremely difficult. But it's not even the whole story.

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Calling B2B Marketers For The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards

As per Josh Bernoff's earlier post, it's that time of year again and  we are now accepting entries for the 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards. After so many impressive entries in 2009 , I'm happy to say that the B2B category will return to the awards this year. While consumer marketers might get all the love from the trade press, I know that many B2B marketers are producing amazing social media marketing applications. This is a great opportunity for B2B marketers to show that they too create great social marketing programs that generate actual business results.

So how do you enter the Groundswell Awards? The hard part comes first: you'll have to have launched a great social marketing application in the past 12 months. Then read Josh's post and (this is very important) the Groundswell Awards rules. The deadline for 2010 entries is August 27, but submit early so the Groundswell community can vote on your entry. B2B award winners will be announced online on October 28. I can't wait to see the submissions!

Now Accepting Entries For The 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards

[Originally published by Josh Bernoff on the Groundswell blog.]

We first started the Forrester Groundswell awards in 2007. What a great run! We've seen applications like the one that the amazing Pete Williams used to raise a million dollars for recovery from Australian brush fires and the one that remade the rules for NASCAR. And for the people who created these award-winning applications, the awards have given them the recognition that helps them justify the great work they do.

This year, we're expanding them to match up to the expanding role that social applications play in business. It also means you have more ways to win.

We've got:

Read more