Your Guide To Forrester’s CRM Transformation Research

Many Forrester clients are downloading my new report “Trends 2011: Customer Relationship Management -- Twelve Trends Drive Planning For Customer-Centric Process Transformation.”The report summarizes my own recent research but benefits from the work of more than a dozen analysts at Forrester who are studying various facets of customer relationship process management transformation. As a consequence, I am getting many calls asking how to find, and get access to, the unique research that underpins the report.

Despite the popularity of CRM solutions, business process pros tell us they still struggle with how to define the right customer management strategies, re-engineer customer-facing business processes, and effectively acquire and deploy the right supporting technology solutions that will meet their needs. Looking ahead, what trends will dominate the planning agendas of business and IT professionals responsible for transforming customer-facing business processes in 2011? Here is a summary of the 12 trends and links to our key research reports for those who want to take a deep-dive into the underlying Forrester data and analysis.

Trend 1: The negative revenue impact of poor multichannel customer experience is recognized.

TechRadar™ For BP&A Professionals: The Extended CRM Application Ecosystem, Q3 2009

What Is The Right Customer Experience Strategy?

How To Build A Customer-Centric Culture

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Employees Are Customer Experience Pros’ Best Weapon

If you called American Express a few years ago to report a lost credit card, you got the card cancelled right on the spot. If it appeared under the couch a few minutes later, you were out of luck. You still had to wait several days for a new card to arrive. It was bad for you. It was bad for AmEx. Luckily, a customer care professional (CCP) noticed this phenomenon. And, luckily, AmEx had a formal program for CCPs to suggest policy changes to improve customer experience. If you call to report a lost card today, you can put a 24-hour hold on your card instead of cancelling it. If it turns up, you can have it reinstated — and then go use it. Everybody wins.

This solution may seem obvious looking back, but only an employee with unique contextual insight could spot it at the time. If your company isn’t taking advantage of this insight, you’re missing out.

As I describe in my new report, employees hold the key to great customer experiences. Why? Here are three reasons:

  1. Many employees observe customer interactions directly, so they can spot emerging customer needs and issues before they surface in traditional customer research.
  2. Employees also understand internal operations, so they’re in a natural position to identify root causes of customer problems and suggest solutions. Back-office employees have just as much to offer here as customer-facing employees do.
  3. In addition to having valuable insight, employees have enormous influence. They directly shape the processes and interactions that affect customers, so they can make arms-length changes to quickly improve customer experience. 
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