Four Steps For Optimizing Customer Service Operations

This post originally appeared on destinationCRM.

 

Customers want efficient, effortless service from the touchpoint and communication channel of their choice. They want to receive accurate, relevant, and complete answers to their questions upon first contact with a company. Forrester data backs this up: Sixty-six percent of customers agree that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good service. Forty-five percent of US online adults will abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

Why is it so important to deliver on customer expectations?  Customer satisfaction correlates to customer loyalty, and loyalty has economic benefits. Forrester calculates that a 10-percentage-point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion in revenue. Conversely, poor customer experiences are costly: Our data shows that 75% of consumers move to another channel when online service fails, which can incur a cost of many millions of dollars.

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Surfing The "Mobile Shift"

Ever hear about the myth of the “seventh wave”?  Surfers use it to describe the big one — the wave that you can ride all the way into the beach. While it’s been a while since I’ve tested its premise at the shore, I often think about the seventh wave when dealing with the constant waves of tools, processes, and technology we developers face. With the constant change you face, how do you determine which technologies  will change everything from overhyped vendor pabulum (3D TV, anyone?) We don’t have the capability to invest in every new technical advance that comes down the pike, so we need to be able to tell the seventh-wave technologies from the others that might provide incremental productivity benefits or cost reduction but don’t change everything we do or think.

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The Dreaded G-Word: Digital Experience Governance Doesn't Have To Be So Bad

We’ve all heard how people perceive governance: It slows down processes, stifles innovation, and adds unnecessary bureaucracy. It’s time to get over those perceptions. You need governance, and policies and processes don’t need to be roadblocks. Instead, they can enable better customer experiences using governance models that bridge the gap between IT and the business, unify digital experiences across customer touchpoints, reduce time-to-market, and foster a culture of customer-centric innovation.

But right now many organizations we speak with haven’t given enough thought to their governance model. We identified five main areas of digital customer experience governance that application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals should pay attention to:

  • Roles and responsibilities. Governance means oversight and executive sponsorship. Right now, this is often siloed around business group and, for IT, siloed around software applications.  Digital experience governance instead requires a cross-business executive sponsor, cross-business digital experience steering committees, and cross-application IT functional committees. 
  • Charters. This is your mission statement. It defines your scope, goals, objectives, and articulates the business case. Too often, we talk with organizations that haven’t actually defined their digital customer experience goals, and if they have, their charter is static and siloed around individual brands. Instead, look to define your goals and create a dynamic, cross-business, and cross-application mission statement.
  • Processes. Governance needs to solve the problem of siloed processes: business working alone and then dropping requirements on IT’s desk. Processes must become more iterative and collaborative.  
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SharePoint Enters Its Awkward Teenage Years

Rob Koplowitz and I collaborated on this research. Forrester clients can access the full report here. The research uses data from Forrester’s August 2012 Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey to analyze the current and likely future state of SharePoint adoption in enterprises. Selected results from the survey are available here.

Microsoft SharePoint is the centerpiece of many enterprises’ collaboration and content strategies, but it isn’t clear to us that enterprises will continue to invest in SharePoint to provide a broad range of social, web content, and content delivery functions.

Our latest Global SharePoint Usage Online Survey (2012) suggests that customers struggle to adopt SharePoint’s full range of features, hurting the product’s long-term business value.  Many business managers (as opposed to IT managers) aren’t satisfied that SharePoint delivers good business value to their companies, citing uninspired user experiences, technical complexity, and other factors.

IT management is more satisfied with SharePoint than business management, and this satisfaction is driving aggressive adoption of new SharePoint releases. Plans to adopt the latest release (SharePoint 2013) are very strong.

In addition to challenging satisfaction levels with SharePoint among business managers, SharePoint faces three other barriers to its continued domination of enterprise collaboration and Intranet platforms:

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TechnoPolitics Podcast: Digital Disruptors Will Sink Your Company If You Don't Become One Yourself

Digital disruptors will sink your company...

...if you don’t become one yourself. So says James McQuivey, author of Forrester’s new book Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation (available everywhere February 26, 2013). You always knew digital was going to upend things. In every industry, digital disruptors are taking advantage of new platforms, tools, and innovation to undercut competitors, ingratiate customers, and disrupt the usual ways of doing business. There have always been winners and losers when disruption hits, but digital disruption hits harder and runs deeper than anyone would have guessed.

Digital Disruption is a book about how to innovate with a digital twist — a must-read for anyone who wants to be a digital winner. 

In this episode, TechnoPolitics sits down with Digital Disruption author James McQuivey to:

  • Learn what digital disruption is and how it affects every industry (even cement companies).
  • Understand the mindset of digital disruptors.
  • Find out how your firm can fend off digital disruptors by becoming one itself.
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Are You Really Ready To Test Agile?

Early this year, on January 15, I published our first research on testing for the Agile and Lean playbook. Connected to that research, my colleague Margo Visitacion and I also published a self-assessment testing toolkit. The toolkit helps app-dev and testing leaders understand how mature their current testing practices and organization are for Agile and Lean development.

The Agile Testing Self-Assessment Toolkit

So what are the necessary elements to assess Agile testing maturity?  Looking to compromise between simplicity and comprehensiveness, we focused on the following:

  • Testing team behavior. Some of the questions we ask here look at collaboration around testing among all roles in the Scrum teams. We also ask about unit testing: Is it a mandatory task for developers? Are all of the repeititive tests that can be run over and over at each regression testing automated?
  • Organization. In our earlier Agile testing research, we noticed a change in the way testing gets organized when Agile is being adopted. So here we look at the role test managers are playing: Are they focusing more on being coaches and change agents to accelerate adoption of the new Agile testing practices? Or are managers still operating in a command-and-control regime? Is the number of manual testers decreasing? Are testing centers of excellence (TCOEs) shifting to become testing practice centers of excellence (TPCOEs)?
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Big Data And The German Dilemma

Reflections from the 10th Safer Internet Day Conference in Berlin, February 5th 2013

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Safer Internet Day Conference in Berlin, organized by the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture and BITKOM, the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunication and New Media. The conference title, ‘Big Data – Gold Mine or Dynamite?’ set the scene; after my little introductory speech on what big data really means and why this is a relevant topic for all of us (industry, consumers, and government), the follow-up presentations pretty much focused either on the ‘gold mine’ or the ‘dynamite’ aspect. To come straight to the point: I was very surprised, if not slightly shocked at how deep a gap became visible between the industry on the one side and the government (mainly the data protection authorities) on the other side.

While industry representatives, spearheaded by the BITKOM president Prof. Dieter Kempf and speakers from IBM, IMS Health, SAS, and others, highlighted interesting showcases and future opportunities for big data, Peter Schaar, the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection, seemed to be on a crusade to protect ‘innocent citizens’ from the ‘baddies’ in the industry.

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More Changes Afoot In The CRM Space: Sage Drops SageLogix and ACT! To Focus On Core Products

Yesterday, the UK-based Sage Group said it had agreed to sell seven of its noncore products, virtually divesting itself of its North American operations. Notable divestitures in the CRM space are:

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Big Data Adoption In Asia Pacific: Clear Use Cases Drive Growing Demand

Some markets and industry sectors in Asia Pacific (AP) were clearly early adopters of big data initiatives, but interest has now spread to almost all subregions and verticals. The reason is simple: More and more organizations now understand the value of data for not only addressing customer demands and expectations but also for responding to changing market dynamics and improving operational efficiency.

The common link across all big data initiatives is an interest in using more types of data, from more sources, to enable timelier, better-informed insights. With that in mind, we’re seeing two common use cases driving big data awareness and investment across industries:

Demand-driven, customer relationship-oriented initiatives

These initiatives are a response to increasing customer expectations for more personalized service. Typically centered on improved customer insight and engagement, organizations are seeking ways to better access and leverage customer data to improve understanding, more effectively personalize relationships, predict behavior, and ultimately deliver improved value via increased customer intimacy. Specifically, the sheer volume of readily available and increasingly accessible data that organizations can leverage — such as location data from mobile devices, apps and personal data on customer preferences and relationships from social networking sites — is driving big data initiatives. Early adopters typically include telcos, retailers, banks, insurance firms, and citizen-oriented eGovernment initiatives.

Supply-driven, efficiency-oriented initiatives

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Emerging HCI Platforms Will Demand Cooperation In Aesthetics And Engineering For Innovative Design

We’ve all heard the aphorism “a picture is worth a thousand words.” These days, that’s certainly true of the balance between content and behavior that modern application developers face. There’s long been a certain amount of creative tension between designers and developers, but good developers generally appreciate the value of effective visualization.

This week I’m yielding my soapbox to a guest blogger: Rowan Curran. Rowan is a research associate on the application development and delivery role team, and I often enjoy his tweets about his own particular interests in the digital media space (follow him at @shortpierreview). His remarks below about his most recent vacation day are a good reminder that the changing nature of print and digital experiences will place increasing demands on developers to blend the real and the digital. Devs might even find themselves spending more time with designers and (gasp) artists as the real and the digital converge.

 


 

If you could see Siri as well as talk to her, what might she look like? I recently attended a panel of digital artists the MIT Media Lab who are struggling to answer questions like this. Their works ranged from algorithm-generated mosaics to more traditional digital photo-stitching. But the most surprising and interesting medium that they were working in was big data and visualization. The most poignant realization of this was Joshua Davis’s work on the visualization of IBM’s Watson.

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