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?
Customers hold the power in their relationships with businesses. Today, it's not enough for businesses to deliver products. Customers expect them to deliver outcomes and success.
To do this, businesses must understand who the customer is, what their pain points are in achieving their business goals, and must help them choose the right products to meet their goals. The relationship does not stop there. Businesses must ensure that a new customer is properly onboarded, and is realizing ongoing value from their purchase. Forrester data backs these statements up. 68% want vendors who “understand my business, my problems – and help me solve them.”
This is the mission of customer success teams. They actively manage customers post-purchase, to ensure their ongoing success, with the end goal of reducing churn, increasing customer lifetime value and advocacy - the latter of which influences new sales.
Most businesses pursue this mission by standing up customer success organizations. They use a health score — comprised of financial data, CRM data, product usage data, support cases, customer feedback — to track their customers. However, most company employees interacting with customers don’t have this visibility into a customer’s health which can impact overall relationships.
Totango, a vendor of customer success solutions, has a very different view of customer success. Sure customer success teams manage overall customer relationships. However, Totango believes that everyone interacting with customers must have access to customer data and their health in order to better engage with them. Employees must also be able easily, with little friction, access this information from within the context of their application.
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’re firmly in the age of the customer, where customers - not executives - decide how customer-centric their companies are. And while good customer experiences can help control costs, executives are more interested in their potential to fuel 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 enables new business strategies, integrates to many technologies and is constantly rejuvenated by new trends. Here are 4 of the 10 trends that we see in CRM in 2017.
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.
In today's world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is. Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness, and emotion
Looking ahead, Forrester sees 10 trends for 2017 that customer service professionals should take into account as they move the needle on the quality of service that they deliver: Here are six of them:
Customer service organizations address a smaller volume of simple voice-based customer contacts as they mature their self-service, automated engagement, and digital operations.
Trend No. 1: Companies extend and enhance self-service. Customers of all ages are moving away from using the phone to using self-service — web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, automated chat dialogs, or chatbots — as a first point of contact with a company Dimension Data reports growth in every digital channel and a 12% decrease in phone volume. In 2017: Customer service will continue to invest in structured knowledge management and leverage communities to extend the reach of curated content. Service will become more ubiquitous, via speech interfaces, devices with embedded knowledge, and wearables for service technicians.
Happy 2017! Settling in to the New Year often renews hope and excitement for the future, and rekindles anticipation for the brands, products, and experiences on the horizon. This year, it’s hard to think about imminent innovations without considering a modern imperative that is rapidly moving to the forefront of conversation: customer empathy.
We are barely three weeks into 2017 and already the cry for customer empathy – and brands’ responses to it – are popping up frequently. At the Consumer Electronics Show, the “insanely cute” Kuri personal robot stole consumers’ hearts, and took the notion of “tech love” to a whole other level. The progression of Artificial Intelligence is sparking public debate about the role of compassion in human connection. And people find themselves seeking meaning, purpose, and understanding over happiness.
The need for empathy affects how customers evaluate brands too: Consumers increasingly prefer companies that resonate with shoppers’ personal values. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® social listening data shows that consumer buzz about company values is on the rise:
If you follow my blog regularly, you already know that I love to travel. And while I’ve had my fair share of travel hiccups (missed flight connections, last-minute assignments to the dreaded middle seat, lost luggage – you name it), I’ve always glossed over these snafus and accepted the fact that traveling inevitably comes with a few small challenges.
Until this year, when I hit executive traveler status on a major airline thanks to the loyalty points I amassed during my trips. Suddenly, my tolerable travel experiences became overwhelmingly enjoyable ones, and I quickly came to love (a word I don’t use loosely!) flying with this airline because of the VIP treatment. My reaction isn’t unique. In fact, it’s characteristic of my generation: Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that Millennials highly value loyalty programs that reward customers with enhanced customer service and special status, as Millennials cherish this sense of validation and exclusivity.
Specifically, our data shows that the loyalty program reward tactics that work for middle-aged and older consumers are not enough to satisfy Millennials. While customers of every generation want discounts, Millennials also expect loyalty programs to offer a premium customer experience. And what’s more, younger consumers want the flexibility of applying loyalty points to a variety of benefits – from travel upgrades to digital media content to charitable donations – while their older counterparts are happy using their points to get cash back.
Happy CX Day! As part of our CX Day celebrations, which include a very special episode of CX Cast, and a comprehensive CX reading list that doubles as a holiday gift buying guide for the CX pro in your life, we are launching a new report: Why CX? Why Now?
In collaboration with my colleague, Sam Stern, we looked at why now is the time for CX pros to convince executives and colleagues at their organizations to double down on improving the customer experience. To make it a lot easier for you to message this across in your firm, we included an infographic that:
Conveys without a doubt how urgent it is to invest in CX because your customers, competitors and employees are changing!
Gives you six tangible business benefits from improving customer experience that will help you make the case for why CX drives business results. For example, Southwest Airlines, a consistent CX leader, has been profitable for 43 consecutive years, in an industry better known for red ink and bankruptcies.
Tells you which challenges most companies (and probably yours) face on the road to better CX. One example: More than half of CX pros said that their organization's culture impedes their success.
Shows the path to improving CX, starting from a CX vision, continuing with building CX competencies and strengthening your business technology foundation.