Thanks for all your thoughtful responses to last week’s post about why companies fail to meet customer needs. Clearly there’s more work to be done in that department, but for now, I want to move on to the next Customer Experience Index (CXi) criteria: “easy.” Many firms claim to be easy to do business with, but which ones got the highest rating from customers?
This year, USAA (bank) and Kohl’s both earned a score of 92% in this category.
For USAA, there is definitely some overlap between its ability to identify latent customer needs and its level of easiness. For example, depositing a check via mobile phone makes the deposit process easier for everyone, not just the most geographically dispersed parts of the customer base. Strong customer understanding also led to creation of the Auto Circle experience, which is designed to make the entire car buying process easier for customers, not just the parts that a financial institution like USAA would typically have been involved in.
With winter winding down and marketers coming out of hibernation, the fresh air means one very important thing: It must be conference season!
Along with South by Southwest and a variety of vendor conferences, you'll find me gearing up for Forrester's Customer Intelligence Forum, being held on April 18th and 19th in Los Angeles. The Forum theme is "From Cool To Critical: Creating Engagement In The Age Of The Customer," and we will explore the ways customer-obsessed marketers will win in the next digital decade. This will be an excellent opportunity for data-driven marketers to connect and learn about industry best practices and future trends.
One trend I find most fascinating (and this will be no surprise to regular readers) is the abundance of new data sources for customer intelligence. As a result of my interest — and of course, attendees' interest — this year, I'm leading a track about identifying customer insights from emerging data sources. With help from my awesome colleagues Tina Moffett and Roxie Strohmenger, we're going to host four interactive sessions around new data, how to evaluate the various channels, and how to harness data from these sources to uncover actionable insights.
Yesterday, the White House released a long-awaited set of recommendations that are focused on helping individuals take greater control of how their data is collected and used for online marketing purposes. It includes what's being referred to as a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights."
The language is vague. The timeline to completion is long. The guidelines, for now, are "opt-in" for organizations. All true.
But folks? The glory days of scraping and selling and repurposing customer data are over. The Oval Office has spoken on the issue of privacy and personal data, and its bill of rights is crystal clear: Tell me what you’re collecting, how you’re using it, protect it well, give me a copy, and give me a chance to correct it, delete it, or opt out entirely.
Many people who set out on the quest to evolve from being the steward of broken things to a more strategic role of a sales enablement leader often ask me, “What should our bill of materials look like?” or “What kinds of deliverables should we be producing?” That’s the kind of thinking that begets more “broken things.” The question I tell our clients they should be asking is: “What are the kinds of ongoing services you can define jointly with sales leadership, develop and continually improve, and that you can demonstrate the business value by producing measureable results that matter to leadership?"
Given that backdrop, I am delighted to have Daniel West, vice president of Informatica University and Enablement speaking at our Sales Enablement Forum. Daniel and his team at Informatica have made some outstanding progress to elevate the function from an afterthought to a critical and strategic function within their company. One of their focal points have been to move away from creating many different training programs or toolkits measured by the number of people who took the course or the number of tool downloads to something far more impactful. They focus on creating and delivering a few services that are measured by an agreed upon metric of success defined jointly by Daniel and their executive leadership. This is the kind of game changing approach that makes Daniel a HERO. We recently had the chance to ask him some questions and share his thoughts as he evolves his role.
How has your leadership’s view of Sales Enablement changed over the last year or so?
Does your firm use customer analytics to optimize relationship marketing efforts? Does your firm use analytical techniques to understand and predict customer behavior? If so, we want to hear from you.
We are launching our first Customer Analytics Adoption Survey for customer analytics users. With this survey, we want to understand how you use and apply customer analytics in your organization. In particular, we’re fielding questions to understand the goals and challenges with using customer analytics, the descriptive and predictive analytics techniques and models you use, the business impact of customer analytics, the customer metrics you track, and how you prioritize customer analytics initiatives across the customer life cycle. We encourage you to participate in this survey, as this information will help you benchmark your customer analytics adoption against peers and assess future opportunities.
Only a short couple of years ago, social media was squarely the domain of marketing and public relations. But consumers changed the rules. They didn’t want to use social media purely for engagement; they wanted to talk to someone behind the brand to get support and share their experiences.
eBusinesses have responded. According to a recent study from Booz & Company, 75% of marketers using social media identify customer service as a primary use of their social media platform.
Unfortunately, there is a gap between objective and performance. A large reason for this gap is the role of customer support in social media leadership. According to the same Booz & Company survey, only 26% of respondents describe customer service as a department responsible for contributing leadership to social media strategies. This doesn’t surprise me. I speak frequently with organizations that describe customer support’s role as more involved than a year or two ago – typically support provides manpower to assist in support-related social content – but they are not deeply involved in driving strategy.
I believe consumer behavior will continue to push eBusinesses to re-evaluate their approach to social media and move to more strategic integration between marketing, branding, and customer service. Why? Consumer adoption of both direct social support and peer-to-peer support has exploded in the last two years. See “Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy.” Further, the majority of consumers expect a reply to their positive and negative comments on Facebook and Twitter.
It’s that time of year again. We’re already in the midst of planning our annual Customer Experience Forum, and now we’re gearing up to collect and evaluate nominations for our Voice Of The Customer Awards — which we’ll present at the Forum.
If you’re new to the awards, here’s some background: Forrester's annual Voice Of The Customer Awards recognize organizations that excel in collecting, analyzing, and acting on feedback from their customers, incorporating customer insights into everyday decisions. We conduct the awards for three basic reasons: 1) to emphasize the importance of voice of the customer (VoC) programs; 2) to celebrate organizations that are leading the way; and 3) to highlight best practices.
If you (or, if you’re a vendor, your clients) have a strong VoC program, we encourage you to participate. It's free and it offers a great opportunity to earn some solid PR while sharing your wisdom with other customer experience pros. Also, we only reveal the names of the finalists and winners, so the potential downside is limited.
You can find all of the information you need on our VoC Award home page. The 2012 nomination form will become available there on March 5th. In the meantime, you can review this year's timeline, get answers to FAQs, and check out information about past winners.
Recently I published a forecast about mobile subscriptions and mobile subscribers (people) by region, worldwide. In 2012, more than half of the world’s population — around 4.3 billion people — will own at least one mobile handset. In emerging markets, where the penetration of landline phone connections has been low, the adoption of mobile phones has soared over the past five years. Mobile handsets are able to provide a cheaper and more convenient means of telecommunications access. They are breaking down barriers to entry — and have been received with welcoming hands and ears.
In the recently published Forrester Research World Mobile Adoption Forecast, 2011 To 2016 (Global), we break down the numbers and growth drivers for the adoption of mobile Internet across the globe. Many consumers who have not been able to go online will now get the opportunity to access the Internet due to declining mobile data costs. About a fifth of the world’s mobile subscribers are currently using their mobile handsets to go online. According to our research, the global penetration of mobile Internet users will exceed that of PC-based Internet users in 2016.
Those of you who know me (Peter O’Neill) know that I’ve lived in Germany since 30 years. Now, when I grew up in the UK, I remember so well the BBC journalist Alistair Cooke reading his “Letter From America” each Sunday night on the wireless (as we called radio then!): It was a great familiarization exercise and stood me in good stead when I visited and worked in the US many years later. As I do at least one inquiry per week for Forrester clients describing the state of the European and/or German tech market, I thought I’d kick off a regular blog in the same vein – probably bi-monthly – where I highlight something I think is important for you that has or is about to happen in Germany.
The online registration page has always been a necessary evil. Despite the obvious need to collect customer information online, 11% of US adults have previously abandoned an online purchase either because they didn't want to register online or the site they were visiting was asking for too much information. Many websites make it downright difficult to register, with seemingly endless input fields, complex password requirements and even annoying captchas all conspiring to make the process of buying online incredibly frustrating. To put this in context, a retailer with $200m of annual online revenues could be leaving a further $22m on the table simply due to the complexity of the registration step in their checkout process. But this is old news. For years eBusiness professionals have obsessed with optimizing the registration process, using A/B and multivariate testing to try and find the right balance between collecting enough customer information and exasperating their customers.
However, the days of optimizing the registration process may be fast coming to an end. In fact the playbook on customer registration tactics is being completely rewritten as a new and increasingly familiar button takes hold across the web: