Over the past few weeks, I’ve been part of a group that picked the winners of Forrester’s Voice Of The Customer Awards for 2011. I can’t yet tell you the names of the three winners — those companies will be announced on June 21 at our Customer Experience Forum in New York, along with the other seven entrants that made up our top 10. But I can share some insight into what separated the winners from the contenders.
At one end of the spectrum, the clarity with which entrants described their programs didn’t create much differentiation. With very few exceptions, descriptions ranged from very clear to extremely clear and “please stop with the detail already, my eyes are starting to bleed” clear.
At the other end of the spectrum, the business benefits that companies derived from their voice of the customer (VoC) programs provided diamond-hard clarity as to which companies were great and which were just good.
To understand why that is, consider the question in the awards submission form that asks about business benefits. It was worded exactly like this:
“How has this activity improved your organization's business results? Please be as specific as possible about business benefits like increased revenue, decreased cost, increased customer satisfaction, or decreased customer complaints. Please specify how you measure those benefits.”
The judges were looking for a response along the lines of:
We heard these specific things from customers through our VoC program.
As a result of what we heard, we made these specific changes.
There are rare moments in technology when everything changes. When the entire framework defining how we interact with machines (and consequently, each other) shifts perceptibly. That happened when the TV was invented, it happened when the computer mouse was made available commercially. These kinds of changes forever alter our economics, our social life, and our individual experiences.
It's now about to happen again. Only this time, the shift that is coming is on such a large scale that not only will it change things dramatically, it will usher in a new era in human economics (and therefore, everything else).
We call the new era the Era of Experience. I'm working furiously to complete a report detailing all the specifics so you'll understand what this era entails and, importantly, what you can do to anticipate this era rather than follow it.
In fact, at our Customer Experience Forum in New York City during the last two days in June, I gave an exclusive preview to the 600+ attendees of what the Era of Experience was. In my speech, I gave a live demo of the PrimeSense technology that the people at Xbox built on to create the Kinect for Xbox 360 platform. This platform incorporates a full-body gesture control interface, voice control, and face recognition. It's as if all the science fiction we've been reading for decades was really just a how-to manual for Kinect. Oh, and this future-defining platform costs all of $149.99 at Amazon.
We just finished judging the entries for Forrester's Voice of the Customer Awards 2010. Announcing the winners will have to wait until we’re onstage at the Customer Experience Forum in New York on June 29. But there is something I want to announce right now: I am really impressed by the entries! :-)
Because I was also a judge last year, I couldn’t help but notice some big changes from last year. Here they are in no particular order:
I’m moderating the “Trends in Customer Experience” panel at the upcoming “Customer Experience Forum” in New York on June 29th and 30th… and couldn’t be more excited. In preparation for the event, I’ve been talking with my panelists, who include: Kathleen Cattrall, Vice President of Branded Customer Experience for Time Warner Cable; Neff Hudson, Assistant Vice President of Member Experience at USAA; and Janice Brown, Manager of Channel Strategy and Orchestration at FedEx. Among others, here are three reasons to come see this session:
Building an organization-wide customer experience movement. Kathleen is a powerhouse who describes her work in terms of a grassroots revolution. She credits, in part, Time Warner Cable’s 14-point CxPi jump this past year to her success at making customer experience the key agenda item for a 3-day set of sessions with 400 senior leaders company-wide.
Orchestrating cross-channel strategy. Janice devotes her waking hours to orchestrating customer experience across channels, which makes her a treasure trove of ideas about getting buy-in from a diverse group of leaders company-wide.
Integrating marketing, sales, and service. Customer experience veteran Neff Hudson focuses on this integration, ensuring quality across all customer touchpoints, including social media, call center, IVR, Web, mobile, and face-to-face. He has great perspective on bringing the customer voice into new product design, which includes USAA’s launch of Deposit@Mobile, a mobile app that lets members deposit checks using the camera in their smartphone.
How did you like our Customer Experience Forum? Did you come participate in person at the event in New York? Or did you see some of the presentations that we offered as a live stream?
On my way home from New York, I met a friend at LaGuardia airport for a coffee and I enthused about the event to him. He leant forward as if to let me in on a secret: "There's a company that I deal with, that always delivers an excellent customer experience - and you've probably never heard of it."
He proceeded to tell me that three generations of his family rely on USAA for all their financial needs. Boy, was he surprised when I told him who I'd been speaking with earlier... :
Happy Friday everyone!It's hard to believe, but Forrester's Customer Experience Forum is just 17 days away. A few of my colleagues have already talked about the event, but I thought I'd add my own take with a sneak preview of the track I'm leading.
One of the great crimes of Twitter is the way Twitter users put "TW" at the start of perfectly good words and think it's cool, or ironic, or some combination of the two ...
My colleague: We're having a Tweetup before the Customer Experience Forum in NYC.
Me: Really? I thought that was frowned upon in New York. Haven't you seen The French Connection?
My colleague: Eh? Don't be so obtuse. I said "Tweet Up". It's like "Meet Up" for people who use Twitter and created an entire lingo of words with "TW" at the start, like "Tweeple" for "People" and that sort of thing.
Forrester’s first ever Customer Experience Forum kicks-off exactly one month from today, on June 22. The theme for the forum this year is “The Customer Experience Journey: Keeping Momentum In A Downturn.” I’m thrilled to be part of this wonderful event that will include executive speakers from big-name companies such as USAA, Virgin America, Symantec, Vanguard, New York Times and more.