Our application development and delivery (AD&D) team has recently launched our survey on digital customer experience initiatives, and we’re looking for information on your digital customer experience strategy and technology investments. Some of the questions we’d like to get answers to include:
What projects (if any) you have planned for this year.
Details about what those projects look like (e.g. budgets, staffing, and primary decision-makers).
A colleague of mine here at Forrester lives out in San Francisco now. And given his new proximity to the "wellhead of innovation" that is silicon valley, he took advantage and attended a talk by Luke Wroblewski. Luke wrote "Mobile First" back in 2011, and he's continued on to be a prominent figure in the mobile design speaking circuit. And Luke is not the only leading RWD and mobile UX author to keep their momentum going and become a talking head. Ethan Marcotte, author of the orginal "Responsive Web Design" article back in 2010, and Brad Frost have become prominent figures prosletyzing mobile and the next new, bleeding edge aspect of mobile UX design. While I appreciate their thought leadership, I find it increasingly frustrating to hear about how the mobile technology capabilities and market are moving so fast, and yet the bulk of organizations aren't investing to keep up. So I want to write an open letter:
"Dear Mobile Hype Leaders,
We get it. Mobile is here to stay. Please slow the hype train down.
Living in an increasingly software-mediated world, consumers are more conscious of the value of their data and concerned over its protection and stewardship. At the same time, companies realize that integration of their internal data with external partners is what will elevate personalization, contextualization, predictive apps, and customer service to the level demanded in the age of the customer.
Forrester Senior Analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo urges firms to share some of their data with other firms to drive contextually appropriate knowledge about customers. The result: A more complete view of customers that each sharing firm would not have on their own. In this episode of TechnoPolitics hosted by Rowan Curran, Fatemeh describes the rewards of adaptive intelligence and how firms can use it to gain competitive advantage.
In the Age Of The Customer, executives don’t decide how customer-centric their companies are – customers. In an attempt to move the needle on customer service operations, in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your brand, these are the top trends that you should be paying attention to. You can get my full report here.
DELIVER PAIN FREE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Trend 1: Customers Demand Omnichannel Service
Customers want to use a breadth of communication channels for customer service. Across all demographics, voice is still the primary communication channel used, but is quickly followed by self-service channels, chat and email. In addition, channel usage rates are quickly changing. Customers want consistent service experiences across these channels. They also expect to be able to start an interaction in one channel and complete it in another. In 2014 and beyond, customer service professionals will work on better understanding the channel preference of their customer base, and guiding customers to the right channel based on their on the complexity and time-sensitivity of their inquiry.
Trend 2: Customer Service Will Adopt a Mobile-First Mindset
Application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals in retail must contend with established categories of packaged apps for store operations, eCommerce, supply chain, and loyalty.
But most packages hail from the pre-digital disruption era of mono-channel retail — store or eCommerce.
AD&D pros must chart an application upgrade and integration course that delivers omni-channel consumer experiences despite the incompatibility of the package data models with new use cases such as click-and-collect or buy online, return in store.
I've had a preview of the new FUJITSU Retail Solution Market Place and I'm excited because it helps retailers to orchestrate the applications and data they already have to meet consumers' cross-channel expectations.
On January 6, Microsoft announced their intentions to purchase Paraturefor a reported $100M. This event is a good thing all around. Net, net, it plugs some holes in the MS Dynamics CRM product, and gives Parature, a 13 year old company, a viable exit strategy.
Microsoft Dynamics is a strong CRM product for customer service. Forrester considers it a leader in our most recent CRM Suites Customer Service solution wave. Microsoft Dynamics is also doing well. At their recent analyst event, they communicated the following statistics: 12% revenue growth in FY13; Dynamics AX and CRM growing by double digits worldwide and 30% in the Americas and Asia; and CRM Online growing by 80% in FY13, with two out of every three new customers opting for cloud. Microsoft Dynamics has 359,000 customers and 5 million users, while Microsoft Dynamics CRM has 40,000 customers and 3.5 million users. Read more about this event here.
Today's news of Verint'sintent to acquire KANA ushers a new wave of consolidation in the greater customer service space. Today’s customer service technology ecosystem is complex and comprised of a great number of vendors that provide overlapping and competing capabilities. I’ve previously blogged about what these critical software components are. In a nutshell, the core capabilities needed for customer service include:
Routing and queuing: providing the ability to route and queue an inquiry – whether voice, digital (ex. email, chat), or social to an agent or a group of agents
Agent desktop/case management: Allowing cases to be created, workflowed, and resolved.
Workforce management and optimization: Allowing agent interactions with customers to be monitored for quality; allowing agent scheduling, forecasting, performance management, coaching, learning etc.
When Limelight Networks bought SaaS web content management (WCM) vendor Clickability in 2011, it united WCM with video streaming and a large, global content delivery network (CDN) to create an offering unlike that of other vendors: Limelight Orchestrate, a multifaceted “digital presence management platform”.
Limelight liked to say marketers and other digital pros could, with a one solution, manage multichannel content and digital experiences including video and shave relevant milliseconds off page-load times and site delivery.
Flash forward to last week. On December 23, Limelight announced the sale of the Clickability WCM business to Upland Software, an Austin, TX, company that, in two years, has added six cloud-based software solutions to its enterprise work management portfolio.
Limelight says it will focus on “delivery optimization capabilities” – in a word, speed. It’s a change I can follow. Limelight invested in WCM enhancements and pushed “digital presence management” to marketers and technology pros, but WCM revenue never skyrocketed for the publicly traded company. Limelight estimates WCM revenue in 2013 at $13.7 million, according to an SEC filing, a small slice of its $170 million or so annual turnover. For Limelight, the CDN business still rules.
At a recent software summit for industry analysts in Stamford, CT, IBM made a big point of showing off some of its newest employees. They’re not computer scientists from top engineering schools like MIT or Carnegie Mellon, but visual designers, interaction pros and user experience experts from design schools like Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt -- urban hipsters in a sea of button-down IBM’ers.
This is part of IBM’s growing effort to embed “design thinking” into software development across its portfolio. Central to the effort is the new IBM Design Studio in Austin, TX, led by design general manager Phil Gilbert. The group is recruiting design-minded professionals by the hundreds to help inject human-centered design principles into next-generation business software. They work closely with software teams to rethink interaction models and influence what’s coming out next.
The facility has also hosted dozens of high ranking execs from across IBM in “design camp” events aimed at teaching the relevance and importance of design-centered thinking across the company.
“We are attacking this transformation from the bottom, top, and (everywhere) in between,” said Gilbert.
This isn’t just an effort to make software look good. Software vendors are realizing that to be competitive, software products must have powerful capabilities, function smoothly, streamline complexity and be usable across a spectrum of people, regardless of their technical skill.