Overall, the conference featured an excellent lineup of presenters and speakers:
Nielsen announced that it is adopting Ad-ID standards into its local and national TV measurement methodologies. If marketers embed the Ad-ID tracking code, Nielsen will be able to report on brand-specific commercial ratings.
Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, announced that the ANA is forming a joint consumer panel with Canoe Ventures to test the effectiveness of Interactive TV (iTV) ads.
Al Gore discussed the importance of multichannel media planning and how CurrentTV is working to reach its audience across TV and digital.
Call centers sit on the frontline of customer experience where they provide sales, support, and customer service functions. They’re often customers’ first — and sometimes their only — human interaction with a company.
Even with conservative estimates, it’s easy to make the case that large call centers have customer influence on par with, if not greater than, that of mass advertising campaigns. (Assuming a call center with 3,000 agents and an average of only 50 calls per agent per day, a company has the opportunity to make 1.05 million personal connections each week — and 54.6 million each year.)
Call center interactions have the potential to build a company’s brand image, delight people so much that they recommend the brand to friends, and even generate incremental sales.
But bad call center experiences spoil millions of daily opportunities to drive business value.
Despite their reach and potential impact on the business, call centers go largely ignored. Instead, companies are making deeper investments in the Web and other sexy of-the-moment digital service interactions, like mobile and Social Computing. Consumers have noticed — they tell us that phone conversations with live agents just don’t stack up to online or in-store experiences. What's worse, Forrester has been tracking US consumer satisfaction with phone conversations across multiple industries since 2007 and 2008, and all but one industry saw their satisfaction rates sink during this time period. Only investment firms bucked the downward trend, and even there, the story isn’t a whole lot better: Satisfaction scores have been effectively flat since 2007.
Marketers often ask me what their mobile strategy should be: What are the key elements? How can they make sure it’s successful? Where should they put their money? These may sound like simple questions, but given how complex the technology and landscape are there’s a lot more involved in answering them than it may appear at first glance.
In an effort to unravel the complicated answers to these questions, I undertook some research that led me to the essential question that lurks behind marketers’ inquiries but is rarely stated: Is “mobile” a true marketing channel that demands its own strategic expertise and focus, or is it simply a different device through which consumers come into contact with messages you've already established for other campaigns? The answer is that it’s both.
In my latest report, "Evolving Your Mobile Marketing Presence," I talk about how marketers are working through the stages of mobile skills and strategy development in an effort to approach mobile as wisely as possible. After talking with marketers, vendors, and agencies, these are the phases I identified:
For more information about each of these phases and how marketers are tackling them, Forrester clients can access the complete report at the link above.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to be focusing on mobile marketing for much of this year, so I’m very interested in hearing about your own experiences. Have you asked yourselves the device versus channel question? How are you approaching each of these phases?
Without a doubt, the hottest inquiry category for insurance ebusiness and channel execs (and insurance IT, for that matter) has been anything to do with claims. And why not, since as one insurance ebiz executive we talked with pointed out, isn’t claim handling the real business of insurance? We also saw the big interest in both customer experience and claims processing when we surveyed 75 or so US and Canadian insurers a little less than a year ago, with both appearing in the top three insurance business priorities into 2011.
The claim is the real moment of truth in the insurer-policyholder relationship, and that experience is a big factor in whether that policyholder decides to stick around when the claim gets settled. Just what’s on the minds of insurance roles when it comes to claims this year? For starters, here’s a sampling of claim-related inquiry topics I’ve fielded:
What’s the business value of claims concierge services? (and check this out—three inquiries about claims concierge services in two days!)
Why do policyholders still want to file claims with their agents?
How is document scanning and imaging being used for claims?
What role is streaming video playing in claims?
What’s the state of mobile claims applications for field adjusters?
And many, many questions on the vendor landscape for claims applications, including an interesting one on integrating legal matter management into the claims system for asbestos-related workers’ comp claims
I’m just wrapping up a report on how carriers can tame the claims beast, but in the meantime, if you’d like to learn our thinking and what else is simmering around the topic of claims, that’s just an inquiry away.
As you’d expect from a Forrester analyst, this is Peter O'Neill by the way, I travel a lot— about 40% of my working days. But it is also amazing how a full week spent in the home office can still feel so busy! These days, social media keeps you in the discussion mainstream – perhaps even more so than if you are on the road because you have more time to engage. Bob Apollo, at the UK-based consultancy even tweeted me privately this week with the message, “And you a VP at Forrester, reading my stuff, an 'umble blogger... I'm not worthy...” after I told him that I enjoyed his tweets and found them useful. Well, even as a fully fledged analyst for tech marketers, I continue to be eager to learn from anybody else. And I do this without any fear of appearing to copy others — here in Germany a popular government minister has now resigned because he plagiarized the majority of his doctorate dissertation years ago; bad enough itself, but he initially denied it when discovered.
Young consumers are now almost always connected to media — which would rationally lead you to think that the more times and places they are connected, the more ways there are (and the easier it is) to interact with them. This is where market researchers need to step in and push their companies to dig deeper than just measuring the time spent on a media channel. They need to truly understand these consumers' core motivations for using it.
More than 90% of 12- to 17-year-olds who are active on social networks have an account on Facebook, which is their go-to social network, no doubt. But they haven't completely abandoned other networks: almost 40% have an account on both Facebook and Myspace.
With 78% of 12- to 17-year-olds having a social networking account, social networking’s power is undeniable. But it's not enough just to look at these channels to see what type of content or information 12- to 17-year-olds are consuming; it's how, why, and when they're consuming it. Without tapping into these deeper motivations, brands will never fully benefit from this social opportunity.
Most customer experience professionals recognize that the voice of the customer (VoC) is critical to their success. After all, if you're trying to improve customers' perceptions, you better understand them. But building a comprehensive VoC program isn't easy. It involves complex challenges, such as collecting customer feedback across channels and tailoring reports for diverse internal audiences. Nothing can erase these challenges completely, but the right set of tools can help overcome them. Enterprise feedback management (EFM) vendors offer many of these tools, simplifying VoC activities by providing central systems for feedback collection, analysis, response, and reporting.
To get a better sense of the EFM market, Roxie Strohmenger and I scanned the space and asked 26 of the vendors to provide information about their software and services. You can find the vendor responses and my analysis of the market from a customer experience perspective in my latest report. Or you can check out Roxie's take from the market insights professionals' perspective.
Here are the key findings from my report:
The EFM market is crowded and hard to navigate. Most EFM vendors are small. Twenty-four of the 26 we surveyed generated $30 million or less in revenues from EFM in 2010. The lists of common competitors provided by the vendors suggest that survey technology is still the centerpiece of the market, but many vendors are evolving beyond that traditional area of focus.
I’ve had an abundance of inquiries recently on co-browsing — allowing a contact center representative to interact with a customer using the customer's web browser — so I wanted to share some thoughts on the topic here.
First, the cautionary tale: I believe it that co-browsing can potentially be a solution looking for a problem. For example, if you are looking for a solution to customers having difficulty understanding how to complete a form, it may be more cost-effective to do a page redesign or offer click-to-chat.
But that said, co-browsing — when implemented at the right time and place — can be an effective approach to escalated and personal support. Co-browsing can be used for many objectives including support, sales, product selection, and account management. The value proposition is that co-browsing can improve call handle times, support sales, enhance customer satisfaction, and — in some instances — be a teaching tool that deflects future telephone calls as customers learn how to perform tasks in a co-browsing setting.
Co-browsing can be an effective tool when it is offered at the right time to the right customer. Here are a few key considerations for companies thinking about offering co-browsing:
There is consumer interest in the technology. According to the North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009, 15% of US online consumers say they would be interested in using co-browsing as a customer service channel in the future. And before you ask — as I know some of you will! — there was no variation in the data by gender or age. In other words, interest was the same for men and women, and equal between Gen Y consumers and their grandparents.
At some point in our lives, we all go through the challenge of moving, and it isn’t a whole lot of fun, even when it should be. You have to find a place to move, make offers, secure loans and income verification… all that fun stuff that you swear to yourself you’ll never go through again because it’s such a hassle. For me, it’s not the boxes, the upheaval of routine, or even the challenge of dealing with all the administrivia that seems to pop up just when you think all the paperwork is in order. No. What I dislike most is changing my address for subscriptions, financial accounts, and other services.
At some point we all have to go through the basic task of updating our personal information with a company. It’s simple self-service task, right? You log in to your account, click on a link that says “change mailing address,” input your new information, and move on. You may even get a reassuring email confirming that your information has been changed. It seems so simple — and in this day and age it should be. But why, then, do companies make it so hard to change your address online?
In the past week I must have gone through the process at least 20 times and found a range of problems including:
Apple understands desire. The first thing consumers will notice about the iPad 2 is how it feels: Lighter (by a crucial 2 ounces) and thinner (at 8.8mm, thinner than an iPhone 4). Color triggers emotion: iPad 2 comes in not just black but white, with multiple colors in the thin "smart covers" that snap into place with "auto-aligning magnets" and clean those unsightly fingerprints off your screen. The rest is important but more cerebral. Dual-core processor, HDMI video-out converter for the 30-pin connector, etc. Emotion enters back into the equation when consumers see what they can do with the device--see their loved ones through FaceTime, touch-edit videos in iMovie, improvise on touch-instruments in GarageBand and actually sound good doing it.
In a post-PC world, consumers have a more intimate relationship with their devices. They use them on the couch and in bed and not just at their desk. They show their devices to other people (40% of iPad owners in Forrester's surveys report regularly sharing their iPad with other people). Fostering that desire is a smart way to differentiate your piece of glass from other pieces of glass that perform essentially the same functions.
Beyond the device itself, Apple's product strategy cultivates an emotional connection with consumers through:
Content. Apple's unrivaled app ecosystem adds value to its product. With 65,000 apps, the iPad has the edge in custom-built content. For consumers shopping for tablets, the number of apps isn’t as important as the price of the device, battery life, and 3G service flexibility, but it does matter: 23% of consumers considering buying a tablet rank “number of available apps” in their top-three important features, according to a Forrester survey fielded in January 2011.