Stuck In The Middle…Delta Makes It A Remarkable Journey

Last week I started my trip to Boston on a packed flight in a middle seat. If you travel as often as I do and have been stuck in the middle, you know how unpleasant it can be. 

So, you can imagine my surprise when Delta turned my stuck-in-the-middle experience to a remarkable one of customer delight.   

Delta exceeded my expectations by delivering on the promise of what Forrester calls a TRUE brand — trusted, remarkable, unmistakable and essential. In our 21st Century Brand Marketing Playbook, we discuss how these four traits will strengthen the brand pillars that support consumers' new expectations of brands. And how brands that can forge an emotional connection with their customers will enjoy a sustainable competitive advantage. By delivering a remarkable brand experience, Delta strengthened its brand promise, created a strong emotional connection with me, and more.

Here’s how Delta changed my unpleasant travel experience to a remarkable one:

  • I was sitting in a middle seat on a flight from Atlanta to Boston on Monday afternoon
  • First thing Tuesday morning, I received the email below from Delta apologizing that my travel experience was not as comfortable as they would have liked.
  • And, they didn’t stop there. They deposited 500 miles into my SkyMiles account for the inconvenience.
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What’s Your Brand Building Maturity? Are You An Experimenter Or A Leader?

I’ve recently read a lot about the about the importance of engaging consumers to build your brand. And rightly so. Understanding and engaging with your customer is fundamental to brand building success. What gets less digital ink, though, is the equally important task of engaging your employees to build your brand. Not just your marketing department. Not just a few select social bloggers. But every rank-and-file employee, from tech support to customer service. Marketing leaders agree. In fact, in Forrester’s recent survey of marketing leaders, 100% of respondents agreed that “brand building is a company-wide effort that requires employees in all departments to be brand ambassadors.” But this same survey reveals that engaging the enterprise is where marketers struggle most. Marketing leaders are on solid ground when it comes to traditional brand building disciplines such as defining the brand North Star and using that brand promise to guide the brand experience. It is the next stage — creating a consistent brand experience across all functions and touchpoints — that is the chasm that most marketing leaders have yet to bridge. Forrester’s survey reveals that just 9% of respondents are true brand building leaders, who have brand building integrated and embraced across all aspects of the business. Most are still experimenting, but not integrating.

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Our Upcoming Forum On Revenue Acceleration Touches Sales, Marketing And Channel

My colleagues and I (Peter O’Neill here) have been busy here at Forrester putting together the agenda for our next Forum which is in Scottsdale, Arizona, on March 4, 2013 under the title “Accelerating Revenue In A Changed Economy.” Now, achieving that objective requires contributions from many different parts of a B2B enterprise – it is more than a sales enablement topic. So we have gathered together a strong team of analysts from across Forrester to work on content and invite leading practitioners who they work with to provide insights and to advise members on these three B2B functions:

·  The sales and marketing teams that support the direct sales organization that must be empowered and enabled to grow their assigned accounts

·  The marketers in the demand-generation group who must power up their revenue management processes, find new logos and generate new business (see previous blog)

·  The channel management team which needs to orchestrate and manage the partner community to win their loyalty and business.     

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Engaged Employees Do The Right Thing Because It’s The Right Thing To Do

Recently I was on a panel about the impact of cultural change on customer experience. My fellow panelists included Meltem Uysaler, a senior vice president of customer experience for Citi, and Patricia John, the customer experience director for Europcar UK (a car rental agency).

Right at the end of the session, Patricia responded to an audience question by saying that Europcar focused on creating a customer-centric culture because they can’t script every interaction. Therefore, employees need to be able to make the right judgment calls on their own when dealing with customers (or anything having to do with customers, which includes virtually everything a company does).

Patricia John is right. At Forrester, we see this dynamic time and again through our research. For example, every time I see USAA’s Wayne Peacock speak, he always uses the phrase, “We do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.” That’s extremely credible coming from Wayne: He’s the EVP of Member Experience at USAA, which is the number one bank, the number one credit card provider, and the number one insurance provider in our Customer Experience Index.

You, too, probably see this dynamic because it plays out in the news every day. Just compare the decision made by a Southwest Airlines pilot to the decisions made by some United Airlines employees.

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The Data Digest: Uptake Of Mobile Messaging In Europe

This week, there was a lot of blogging and commenting around Facebook possibly acquiring mobile messaging company WhatsApp. And although WhatsApp quickly denied that Facebook acquisition talks were happening, I still really enjoyed all the analysis shared by the different technology blogs on why this would be an interesting deal. Many of these mentioned the differences between adoption of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in Europe versus in the US.

In fact, the news got me wondering to what extent consumers use mobile messaging at the moment. Forrester’s European Technographics® Consumer Technology Online Survey, Q4 2012 shows that just over one in 10 online European adults (16+) use mobile messaging (e.g., WhatsApp, Skype, or Viber), and this rises to 21% for European smartphone owners. Further analysis shows that usage is very much driven by age:

 

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Using Mobile Phones To Augment Our Reality

I was standing out in Union Square in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. It brought back memories of my "crazy lady in Macy's" journey. This time, I was standing on the sidewalk in front of Forever 21. Capturing the looks of those passing by watching me use my phone to look at the shop window could have been more interesting than what I was capturing on my screen. I give marketers and retailers credit for pushing the envelope and experimenting with mobile technology. Unfortunately, it seems like we are not a LOT further along than we were a year ago. Some combination of the CPUs, GPUs, and networks cannot keep up with the tracking to overlay much more than 2D images. The experiences are triggered from a narrow band or library of symbols, graphics, and pictures. 

Retailers shouldn't be discouraged from using AR; AR is a very good tool to facilitate the discovery and consumption of simple content. 

I also believe that AR is well suited for entertainment and amusement - a good way to engage with the consumer base and offer an enhanced experience. 

Check out the muppets Band-Aids. 

Also check out the Zappar t-shirts being sold; the cost of the service is low, with Zappar sharing in product revenue. Their time-to-market is short in terms of preparing the content. Their app is already in the app store - altogether, very low barriers to entry to use AR with your products. 

 

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Help Forrester Make Its 2013 Customer Experience Predictions!

It’s that time of the year again . . . Most of you are well into (if not done with) your 2013 planning — and at Forrester, we’ve also got our eyes on the year ahead.

Ron Rogowski and I have been engaging our fellow analysts in lively conversations about what will happen in the field of customer experience (CX) in 2013. But before we tell you what we think, we want to get your perspective on what 2013 will bring. 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.

Specifically, we’d love to know:

  • What will be your biggest CX challenges next year?
  • What are your most important CX initiatives and priorities for the next 12 months?
  • What are your predictions for the field of CX in 2013?

Please share your thoughts for 2013 in the comments section below, or join the conversation in our customer experience community. We can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Mark your calendars: Our predictions report will be out in January, and we’ll share our prognostications in a teleconference on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. ET (18:00 GMT).

Spice Up Your Next Meeting: Play The Customer Journey Game

The following is a guest post by Kara Hoisington, a member of the terrific advisor team for Forrester's Interactive Marketing Council.

 

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Shaq Admits: The Game Has Changed. If You’re A B2B Marketer, Your Game Has Changed Too.

Ever since the mighty three joined the Miami Heat, the great Shaquille O’Neil has been relentless in his criticism of head coach Erik Spoelstra, Chris Bosch, and the Miami Heat’s ability to play with the “big boys.” Even an NBA championship didn’t seem to make a difference. This weekend, Heat fans across South Florida were rewarded with Shaq finally admitting he was wrong. In Sunday’s Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Shaq was quoted as saying “I was wrong. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was wrong. The game has changed.” Finally, Shaq was acknowledging that there were more ways to approach winning in the NBA than having “bigs” in the paint. He understood that the Heat organization had changed the paradigm of the game by playing small and nimble to reach the finals last year and to win it all in 2012 . . . with more to come in the future as this new paradigm quickly becomes an NBA reality.

Being such a huge Heat fan, I loved reading this over the weekend. But what does this have to do with B2B marketing?

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Managing the Cross-Touchpoint Customer Journey

It’s no great surprise that many retailers are reporting an increase in multi-touchpoint engagement from their shoppers this year in the run-up to Christmas. Our own Technographics® data has been showing an increase in the use of things like mobile, tablets, and click-and-collect services for some time. But as the number of touchpoints shoppers are using increases, so does the complexity faced by brands trying to manage coherent, consistent, and compelling experiences across these multiple touchpoints.

The reality we now face is that customer journeys cross touchpoints.

Forrester’s Marketing Leadership team has been championing an approach to thinking about the customer journey not as a marketing funnel but as a life cycle -- a dynamic, circular ecosystem of touchpoints that morphs over time, possibly with each customer and each journey. But even making the leap from a funel based paradigm to this approach is just the first step in working out how best to optimize each touchpoint.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to just assume that every touchpoint needs to replicate every other touchpoint. Customers don’t use each touchpoint in the same way. Their expectations about what they can achieve on mobile and how a mobile app might help them interact with their physical environment with, for example, a mobile store locator or a bar-code scanner is very different from what they expect to be able to achieve when they call your call centre.

Touchpoints need to be designed within the context of an overall customer journey. Not in isolation.

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