How Customer Experience Pros Can Cut Through The Controversy And Capitalize On Net Promoter

Net Promoter is both popular and controversial, so naturally we in Forrester’s customer experience (CX) research practice get lots of questions about it from CX leaders whose companies have adopted it or plan to adopt it in the future. Overall, we know that Net Promoter can effectively support CX efforts when companies implement it correctly. But we also know that correct implementation from a CX perspective is in no way a given.

Here’s what CX pros in particular should do to make sure that they ( . . . and their companies, and their customers . . . ) get the most out of the Net Promoter methodology:  

  • Use the Net Promoter language to explain customer experience efforts. Perhaps the most valuable thing that Net Promoter provides is a clear language with which to discuss customer loyalty. CX pros can capitalize on any momentum around Net Promoter at the corporate level by connecting planned experience improvements to it. Wherever possible, explain how a change to the experience will help reduce Detractors or increase Promoters.
  • Focus on the system more than on the score. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is only valuable if it helps an organization improve customer loyalty. CX pros must ensure that they have a system in place to examine the drivers and root causes of NPS determination, identify the ones that are related to the customer experience, and initiate improvement efforts accordingly.
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Want To Know How Your 2012 Customer Experience Plans Compare To Others? Take Our Benchmarking Survey To Find Out.

Calling all customer experience professionals! It’s that time of year again . . . time for Forrester to take a snapshot of what’s going on inside customer experience programs around the globe.

Want to see how your company’s 2012 plans stack up? All it takes is 10 minutes. Complete Forrester’s Q4 2011 Customer Experience Survey, which will ask you a few questions about:

  • Your company’s goals and objectives for customer experience in 2012.
  • How your organization manages customer experience on a daily basis.
  • The customer experience categories you plan to funnel budget into for 2012.

Once the survey closes in mid-December, we’ll analyze the data and write a summary report titled “The State Of Customer Experience, 2012.” We’ll send you a copy of that report when it publishes in January — even if you’re not a Forrester client.

Thanks in advance for helping with our research. This data will fuel not only this report but also much of our other research throughout the coming year.

(By the way, this survey is for customer experience professionals who are working to improve customer interactions with their own companies. Agency employees, technology vendors, and consultants should take a pass on this one. There will be surveys for you later in the year.)

Help Forrester Make Its 2012 Customer Experience Predictions!

It’s that time of the year again . . . Most of you are well into your 2012 planning, and at Forrester, we’ve also got our eyes on the year ahead. 

But first, we’re taking a look back. Ron Rogowski and I recently revisited our 2011 customer experience predictions report and chatted about what’s happened over the past 10 months.

In some cases, our predictions were accurate (if we do say so ourselves). For example, we said that tech vendors would engage in an “all-out war to own the customer experience management space” and that it would create a “confusing marketplace that will not shake out in 2011.” We also said that “customer service will gain popularity as a key opportunity for engagement.” Given our ongoing research and client conversations, we think these predictions were spot on.

And on a few points, we missed the mark. When we wrote our last doc, people had just started hacking the Kinect for Xbox 360 to create fun demos like real-time light sabers and digital shadow puppets. We wrote, “In 2011, we'll see companies start to leverage this technology, too, with healthcare (think guided physical therapy exercises) and marketing (a la interactive product demos) diving in first.” Well, we haven’t exactly seen a tsunami of activity in this area. But were we way off? Or did we just jump the gun? Only time will tell!

In either case, the fun continues.

Ron and I are collaborating again on our 2012 CX predictions report — and we want to know what you think. 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.

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Bring Market Insights Out Of The Shadows

I recently had a discussion with my colleague Richard Evensen about how customer experience (CX) pros draw on the work done by market insights (MI) departments. Our conclusion: In most cases, they don’t. Instead, we often find CX teams doing their own research to understand and improve the experience. This represents a broader phenomenon that we call shadow MI — research commissioned or executed inside of a company without the approval or involvement of MI professionals.

Why do CX leaders rely on shadow MI rather than engage their MI departments for help? Based on our conversations with clients, it’s because MI departments are seen as:

  • Not fast enough. CX pros need quick and continuous feedback from customers in order to actively manage the experience. MI teams aren’t traditionally built to operate at that tempo, and many aren’t comfortable doing so.
  • Not focused on the experience itself. Naturally, CX leaders care most about customers’ interactions with their organizations, but MI teams often focus on other areas, like product development and marketing.
  • Not action-oriented. Due to the previous two points, CX pros often see MI as unable to drive action. In a recent discussion in our online customer experience community, one contributor said, “Customer experience feedback is more operational and immediate than market research.” This perspective leads many CX leaders to treat the two areas as fundamentally different.
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