Customer service departments in all industries are increasing their use of chatbots, and we will see usage rise even higher in the next year as companies continue to pilot or launch their own versions of the rule-based digital assistant. What are chatbots? Forrester defines them as autonomous applications that help users complete tasks through conversation.
While Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that 60% of US online adults already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services, there are challenges to widespread adoption. We reached out to our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community members to better understand consumer impressions of chatbots and found that our respondents had a difficult time identifying clear benefits to interacting with them. Many prefer to communicate with a representative who can show real empathy, address more complex needs, and offer them assurance.
Earlier this month, I attended the Qual360 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., where chatbots were a hot topic in both qualitative research and customer experience. Speakers highlighted the opportunity of chatbots while warning about their shortcomings. For example:
In the realm of multichannel customer communications, email is still king. It’s the easiest to send, it’s inexpensive and it’s the channel on which most marketers rely to connect with all kinds of customers. Email marketing is ingrained and inexpensive, but as a result, many marketers abuse it, defaulting to a routine batch-and-blast approach. In 2015 alone, U.S. online users received 3.7 trillion emails. Today’s email practices fail loyal customers because they treat everyone the same way and struggle to deliver basic relevance.
Over-emailing is a persistent problem, and marketers face cultural inertia trying to get over the notion that if they email enough, the customer will eventually take action. One incremental email for a thousand customers may only cost you a single dollar, but the emotional value given up from an annoyed customer will cost you in future purchases and in investment needed to rebuild a loyal customer relationship from scratch. In essence, the long-term investment in building a relationship with loyal customers is compromised because of a short-sighted push for conversion.
Marketers can’t afford to alienate loyal customers. After all, those customers are the ones who want to engage with you in the first place. According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics data, 58% of loyalty program members subscribe to a brand’s email list, compared with just 28% of consumers overall. It’s time for a reboot.
The new Forrester WaveTM: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q2, 2017 (paywall) is live! CFM platforms are part of a larger VoC vendor landscape and help CX professionals manage complexity by centralizing and automating essential VoC activities. This Wave scores 10 vendors that matter based on offering, revenue and interest by Forrester clients: Clarabridge, Confirmit, InMoment, MaritzCX, Medallia, NICE, Qualtrics, Satmetrix Systems, SMG, and Verint Systems.
To score these vendors, we developed a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria in three high-level buckets: Current offering, strategy, and market presence. The criteria and their weighting is based on past research and conversations with vendor and CFM users. Client references played a large role in our evaluation: We conducted 30 hours of client reference calls and fielded a survey among 60 client references.
Have you ever thought about going to the doctor and questioned, even momentarily, “Hmm, I wonder if my insurance will cover this?” Or have you ever received a medical bill that was higher than expected? If so, you know these situations don’t elicit a great feeling — and you’re not alone.
The fear of not being covered or the disappointing surprise of finding out you owe more than expected are all-too-common and unpleasant feelings that customers face when it comes to dealing with health insurance companies.
We used Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) Consumer Perspective Online Community to understand specifically what consumers feel when there is lack of clarity surrounding policy coverage details. They say:
But the key question you are probably asking yourself is, “Do these negative emotional experiences matter — do they affect the bottom line?” We find that the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Lack of clarity or fear of not being covered impacts the overall emotion a customer has about their health insurance provider, which in turn significantly impacts their likelihood to recommend their health insurer to others.
Successful business leaders drive their organizations to create experiences that continually meet or exceed customer expectations. At our CX Forum in Sydney on May 9, Forrester thought leaders and a world-class roster of industry innovators will come together to explore the current and emerging best practices for the design and delivery of exceptional customer experiences in digital channels.
I recently caught up with one of our keynote speakers — Christine Corbett, chief customer officer at Australia Post — to discuss the importance of creating and nurturing a CX-driven culture. Here’s what she had to say:
How has the age of the customer affected the postal service? How have your customers’ needs evolved?
While the rise of the digital economy has created challenges for our traditional letters business, it has opened up exciting new opportunities for Australia Post in parcels. With the rapid growth in online shopping, our customers are looking for greater access, convenience, and choice in the way they transact with us. They are looking for omnichannel experiences: digital for simple transactions, with the option of face-to-face when they need more assistance. More than 50% of our customer interactions are now digital.
Our customers are also looking for more personalised experiences, particularly with parcel deliveries where they can elect to have their parcel left in a safe location of their choosing if they know they’re not going to be home.
What has Australia Post done to improve its customer experience?
We have four key customer focus areas that we have aligned our teams around: creating seamless experiences across channels; listening to customers and taking action; knowing our customers; and empowering our people.
We’ve been busy finalizing the agenda and speakers for the forthcoming CX Forum in Sydney on May 9. That’s only eight weeks away!
Our focus this year is on exploring the current and emerging best practices for the design and delivery of exceptional customer experiences in digital channels. To put it more simply, we’re going way beyond the why and what to dig deeper into how.
CX and digital marketing professionals need to accelerate the pace of change, so for 2017 we’re deep-diving into four key themes:
The future of digital CX. How can you blend new technologies like bots, artificial intelligence, and digital assistants into your existing digital CX strategies? How do these new tools change customer behavior and expectations? And how will the practice of CX be altered as a result?
CX design and delivery. What are the best practices for creating innovative, distinctive customer journeys that cross functions like sales, marketing, and customer service? How can you truly embrace CX as a team sport?
Technology stack and strategy. How can CX and IT collaborate to tackle new thinking about CX technology strategy and management? How can these groups work together to drive the digital transformation of their entire organizations?
Creating and nurturing a CX-driven culture. How can you deliver sustainable, remarkable experiences? What does it really mean to instill a customer-obsessed culture and what are the hallmarks of a CX-driven organization?
Source: Forrester, "Make Omnichannel A Cornerstone Of Your Telecom Digital Transformation"
Poor customer experiences remain the Achilles’ heel of telcos’ digital transformation efforts. We live in the age of the customer, and today’s telco customer has expectations that far exceed the traditional standard of telco customer service. A random search on Trustpilot for customer satisfaction with telcos in various countries shows widespread dissatisfaction.
Offering customers seamless omnichannel experiences is critical for telcos’ digital transformation efforts. Today, customers expect to use a variety of digital touchpoints. This omnichannel approach affects telcos’ customer engagement activities at every stage of the customer life cycle, yet many telcos are still struggling to meet their customers’ rising expectations for coherent end-to-end customer engagement. This matters because omnichannel:
Is central to telcos’ customer experience initiatives. Customers do not care about channels. They want to have great experiences irrespective of how they engage with telcos.
Is more of a cultural transformation than a technology project. Omnichannel solutions require a telco to think about the customer journey from the perspective of the customer. This is a radical break with the past.
Opens opportunities for telcos to act as third-party service brokers. Omnichannel will empower telcos to act as service brokers for third parties if they can align their big data, content, and knowledge management strategies.
The Future of Retail Will Blow Your Mind. A bold claim? You bet.
The retail industry is facing a tectonic shift. Empowered customers are challenging age-old truths every day. New distribution channels, e-commerce impacting physical stores, new payment systems and innovative technical solutions disrupt old operating models. Mobile and wearables connect customers wherever they are. Retailers face new and unprecedented challenges.
But you know this, right? You’ve developed a digital strategy. You’re selling online. You’ve got a mobile app. Maybe some digital signage in your stores. You’re sorted.
Happy Valentine’s Day! You know the feeling of being in love: You want to stay with your significant other forever, love them more each day, and tell everyone how great they are. Your customers know it, too! Many companies have begun tracking how their customers feel as part of their CX measurement program. In the CX Index™, we too track how customers felt during their most recent interaction with a brand.
What’s Love Got To Do With It?
We find that customers who give high scores on Emotion are more likely stay with the brand, spend more on products or services, and tell others how much they love the brand. And just like in relationships, there’s a big difference once your customers fall in “love” – customers in the CX Index who rate the brand a perfect seven out of seven on Emotion, or “love” the brand, say they are 18% to 40% more likely to enrich their relationship with the brand. For brands in all industries, this means that there is business benefit to helping your customers fall in love with you (whether via greater revenue, lower churn, or both).
Let’s Talk About Love
Brands benefit from higher customer advocacy loyalty when customers love them -- but how can brands benefit if they don’t know what love is? Forrester analyzed the specific emotions felt by customers during their most recent interactions with brands in the CX Index.
● Baby, don’t hurt me. Brands whose customers score them high on Emotion almost never make customers feel negative emotions like frustrated, angry, or anxious.
We followed a rigorous, academic approach that started with the premise that improving CX drives customer loyalty. Using our Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) survey questions about customers’ loyalty to and spending with a particular brand and combining them with industry-level numerical assumptions, we answered the following question: How likely is a customer to stay with your brand, or spend more, or recommend you to others — and what would that be worth to your organization in dollars and cents?
For each customer, we calculated a loyalty-based revenue potential and a CX Index score. Calculating these numbers at the individual level allows us to track the relationship between CX and revenue throughout the entire range of CX Index scores and develop models to describe the nuances of how CX drives revenue in a particular industry. With these models, we can predict the revenue associated with a brand’s CX improving — or even deteriorating.
We tested several models to find the “shape” that best describes the data. We found that the relationship between CX and revenue potential tends to follow three main shapes:
Linear. CX and revenue move in lockstep. Whether you improve a poor experience, a mediocre experience, or a good experience, the impact on revenue will be the same.