Don’t Let Volatile Markets Scare You Away From Customer Experience Investments

Harley Manning

If you like horror shows, forget The Walking Dead and check out global markets: In 2016, US stocks got off to their worst start ever. Oil prices are in the toilet — taking oil company stocks with them — and neither looks to fully recover any time soon. Of course, both of these Nightmares on Wall Street might pale in comparison to what a Brexit could do to volatility in foreign exchange rates (and therefore your profit and loss).

In the past, you might have expected China to ride to the rescue. But that won’t happen: The Chinese economy just grew at its slowest rate in 25 years

Companies that obsess over these developments might be tempted to panic and cut spending on customer experience improvement programs, despite the fact that many firms are sitting on piles of cash. But cutting CX budgets is a terrible idea because CX is the greatest potential source of competitive advantage — especially in times of high market volatility. For example:

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Digital Business Ecosystems Rewrite The Rules Of Business

Dan Bieler

Customers use digital experiences to help satisfy their needs every day. Digital tools expand our experiences and change our lives at home and at work. Digital is now intertwined into the fabric of our lives at work and at home. We expect digital tools to add value to us no matter what we’re doing. Some 89% of executives believe digital will disrupt their business in the next twelve months.

To keep up with the rapidly evolving digital expectations of customers, businesses must not just develop a digital strategy but also become a digital business. This means more than building a few bolt-on mobile apps. It’s a fundamental rethink of your business model within a dynamic digital ecosystem that impacts every aspect of your business.  

Transforming into a digital business is complex enough. But the rapid evolution of digital products and services makes it even more challenging for business leaders to navigate the landscape of digital business. Slow innovation cycles jeopardize the survival of traditional firms, and winning businesses will move toward an ecosystem business model. Digital businesses need to embrace digital ecosystems that support the continuous exchange of information and data to create value.

To master digital business, business leaders must minimize the complexity of digital ecosystems and learn to create value within such ecosystems. Digital ecosystems drive faster innovation, more efficient production, and more agile go-to-market activities, because:

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Forrester’s Customer Experience Marketing Summit 2016 In Sydney Is Fast Approaching!

Michael Barnes

 

Six months after our highly successful Summit for Marketing Leaders in Australia, I’m excited to announce that Forrester’s CX Marketing Sydney 2016 event is less than 7 weeks away.

As all organizations operating in Australia understand, the line between brand, marketing, and customer experience (CX) disciplines has blurred as people gain access to companies, services and products on their own terms. How can you thrive in this dynamic environment? Start by effectively coordinating between brand, CX, and marketing teams.  

We’ve filled our agenda with senior CX and Marketing professionals from leading organizations across Australia, and beyond. Key topics they’ll cover include:

  • Driving business results, competitive advantage, and growth by delivering the right customer experience.
  • Identifying the key practices and behaviours that fuel CX innovation.
  • Building and maintaining a brand in a digital world.
  • Instilling an understanding of customer emotions into design experiences and branding strategy.
  • Systematically improving CX through effective measurement.
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Forrester's Top CRM Trends For 2016 And Beyond

Kate Leggett

In the age of the customer, executives don't decide how customer-centric their companies are — customers do. And while good customer experiences can help control costs, executives are more interested in the potential for sustainable top-line growth. 

Forrester defines CRM as:

The business processes and supporting technologies that support the key activities of targeting, acquiring, retaining, understanding, and collaborating with customers.

CRM is the foundational building block of a company's customer experience strategy to win, serve, and retain customers. It allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we just couldn’t conceive of just a few years ago.

Here is a snapshot of 3 of our top 10 trends that you should pay attention to in 2016 and beyond. You can access our full report here.

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The Data Digest: A Happy New Year!

Anjali Lai

The market research industry is built on a fundamental assumption: that any enterprise, product, team, or person can be better than it is today. Researchers mine insights because we are constantly seeking opportunities for greater success and are eager to illuminate the path forward. But researchers aren’t the only ones doing this; although it’s our profession, people around the world share this drive for improvement. These sentiments are at their peak today on New Year’s Eve as we reflect on the highs and lows of the year behind us and resolve to do something better in the year ahead.

Seeking improvement is part of human nature, but in some cases, it’s demanded of us. In the business world, companies that set higher standards also set new consumer expectations and secure customer loyalty. For instance, our Consumer Technographics® data shows that Amazon offers one of the most loved customer experiences across the globe because it provides an unparalleled sense of emotional satisfaction: 

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How Bad Data Management Kills Revenue

Michele Goetz

I'm not one to normally publicly gripe on a vendor, but a recent customer experience with an online purchase is a great example of why organizations can't ignore data management investments.

I have been a regular user of a note-taking app for several years. All my discussions with clients, vendors, and even notes from conferences wind up here. I put in pictures, screen shots, upload presentations, and capture web pages. So it isn't a surprise that this note-taking vendor wants to move me up into a premium version. And for $50 a year, it's not a big deal for me to do even if it just means I'm paying for more space rather than using all the features in the premium package.

So, this morning, I click the upgrade button and voila! My order is taken and shows up in my iTunes account order history.

As this app is web-, desktop-, and device-based and the vendor is born out of the app age, the expectation is that my account status should just automatically convert. I mean, every other business app I have does this. Why shouldn't this one?

As it turns out, my purchased premium service is nowhere to be found. To get immediate support, as only offered in premium service, you need to be able to log in as a premium customer. So instead of an easy and quick fix, I spend over an hour trying to get answers through a support site that shows the issue but an answer that doesn't work. I also see that this is an issue going back for over a year. I try entering in my issue through "contact us" only to find that I get routed back to the support forum and can't even log a ticket. I find an obscure post where the vendor's Twitter handle for support is listed and fire off a frustrated tweet (which goes out to my followers as well, which I'm assuming is not something this vendor would prefer).

So let's break down the data management issue:

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Mobile Becomes A Key Success Imperative For CIOs

Dan Bieler

Forrester survey data highlights the urgency for the CIO to complete the mobile mind shift. In the age of the customer, great mobile solutions are the basis for catering to clients, empowering employees, and optimizing supplier and partner relationships. Yet, the mobile mind shift has its roots in the consumer environment. Most of us have gone “mobile native” over the last few years, having grown accustomed to using apps on our smartphones and tablets at home. This has changed the way we think, look for information, communicate with others, and conduct transactions.

Mobile is now a vital part of the CIO’s business technology agenda to help enhance customer experience, employee productivity, and new revenue channels. Every CIO will need to provide his organization with mobile solutions that support these business requirements. The lack of a comprehensive mobile approach with dedicated interdisciplinary teams for mobile and digital initiatives will translate into lower revenues and many business failures in the years ahead. The most visionary and forward-looking CIOs, meanwhile, are using mobile to build the steppingstones for their digital transformation:

  • Businesses that are most mature in mobile also have the fastest revenue growth rates. Forrester survey data highlights that the most “mobile-mature” organizations also have higher revenue growth rates than the mobile laggards. Mobility is thus an important revenue driver.
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Communication Is Key For Any Relationship

Tom McCann

This is a guest post by Erna Esa, a Research Associate on the Customer Experience team based in Sydney.

In the movie Love Actually, the chemistry between an Englishman (played by the very dashing Colin Firth) and a Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcia Moniz) was evident — but not having the tools to communicate in each other’s language left the pair feeling frustrated and annoyed.

Employees experience a similar type of frustration when they are not offered the opportunity to contribute to the conversations companies have about their customers. How do we know this? Well, we have found that 70% of information workers say that their job requires them to engage with or understand their customers but fewer than 40% of organizations in Australia and New Zealand systematically capture input from their employees about those interactions. That leaves a lot of employees who interact with customers and have knowledge of their company’s customer experience ecosystem without a structured, systematic way of telling their organization what they are seeing and hearing — and that’s frustrating.

Successful voice of the employee (VoE) programs have the potential to transform your organization into one in which talented, dedicated individuals strive to build a career. In many cases, these programs are inexpensive to set up and maintain, yet deliver considerable benefits when implemented across the entire organization. Forrester clients can read about these benefits in our latest report, Engage Employees To Nail The Customer Experience.

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CIOs: 5 Steps To Take Digital Disruption From Theory To Reality

Steven Peltzman

As CIOs, we all know digital disruption is happening at a rampant rate. The challenge we face is moving it from theory to reality. An executive at a client company recently posed the following questions to me: “How do you actually innovate and defend against this digital disruption without blowing up the budget? How do you really do that?”

For me, there are definitely a few steps that take this often discussed CIO requirement from the abstract to the concrete:

Are you close to your customers?
Everyone has customers of some kind, including B2B. Do you know where the pain points are in your customer experience? Where the opportunities are to innovate? You’ve got to understand this dynamic and the best way to start that is with customer journey mapping.  Follow it up by  keeping this “conversation” going by leading or staying involved in a regular customer testing and feedback effort or program. Above all, get out and talk to customers!

Can you innovate on your own mainstream platforms, quick and dirty?
If you can’t innovate easily on your major internal platforms — weeks or days, not months for moderately/small-sized innovations — digital disruptors and likely your direct competitors both have a significant leg up on you. This year alone, we’ve launched 35 small-to-medium, innovative improvements to our business by taking advantage of our SaaS platform. Business moves too fast to wait for months.

Do you use the same tools that startups use to go fast?

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CRM is Fragmenting. It's A Controversial Topic

Kate Leggett

CRM purchasing is undergoing a sea change. I see that companies are no longer purchase heavyweight, end-to-end CRM solutions that have had the reputation of being complex, expensive and hard to implement - even if they have great industry specific capabilities. They itend to mpede user productivity with a bloated set of capabilities that many users can't leverage. A number of dynamics driving this change in purchasing behavior:

  • CRM purchases are moving to the cloud. Companies are replacing legacy CRM with SaaS solutions at a higher rate than before.  Cloud CRM has gained traction, as it provides lower upfront costs, better flexibility, and faster time-to-value compared with traditional on-premises applications. It also shifts the burden of software maintenance to the vendor.

  • Cloud CRM extends the life of legacy CRM. Modernizing legacy CRM to support omnichannel customer journeys is a critical priority. Companies are using cloud CRM  to complement and extend on-premises implementations. Cloud  CRM provides the systems of engagement while legacy CRM provides business process support and data management capabilities.

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