The Cloud Will Drive Agility Into Your Customer Experience Ecosystem

TJ Keitt

This past June, Forrester began a conversation about what ails the networks of customers, partners, and employees we call customer experience ecosystems. My colleague Rick Parrish attributed the problems to an unhealthy mix of cumbersome rules, disorganized technologies, and complacent management. The result? Businesses aren't able to leverage those customer, partner, and employee relationships to quickly and effectively respond to market changes. Now, if you've followed this blog, you've seen me argue that you can't resolve these issues without a technology strategy that aligns with your business vision. Why? Because you can only do what your technology allows.

In our new report, Want To Improve Your Customer Experience? Turn To The Cloud, we examine how cloud services can help customer experience professionals drive flexibility and responsiveness into their customer experience ecosystems. At the heart of this report is our read of cloud services' fundamental value:

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Improving The Federal Customer Experience Is A National Security Issue

Rick Parrish
Improving the U.S. federal customer experience (CX) is crucial to our nation’s long-term security. I’m not exaggerating. Improving federal CX is about far more than just boosting an agency’s ranking on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) or raising a Net Promoter Score. It’s even about more than influencing the success or failure of major policies – and we all saw how the initial breakdown of healthcare.gov hurt the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
 
Poor federal CX actually weakens the underpinnings of our political system by making people less proud and optimistic about the country itself. Forrester has the data to prove it. The pilot run of our enhanced CX Index shows that the worse a citizen’s experience as the customer of a federal agency, the less likely that person is to say he is proud of the country and optimistic about its future. Not a particular agency, official, or administration – the country itself.
 
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The Race From Good To Great CX Hits The Gas Pedal In 2015

Michael Gazala
2014 wasn’t a good year to be average. Since 2007, the average customer experience in the industries that Forrester tracks has gone up across the board, and the number of truly awful  experiences has dropped like a rock. So if your CX is average, it’s just not good enough to win, serve and retain customers. And it won’t get any easier next year: With companies investing more than ever to differentiate their customer experience, your average offering will soon be considered poor.
 
In 2015, the race from good to great CX will hit the gas pedal. Smart CX teams will increasingly use customer data from diverse sources like social listening platforms, campaign management platforms, mobile apps and loyalty programs – to personalize and tailor experiences in real time so that they inherently adapt to the needs, wants, and behaviors of individual customers. And as companies strive to break from the pack and gain a competitive edge through the quality of the CX they provide, we’ll see the battleground shift to new areas like emotional experiences and extended CX ecosystems, and into laggard industries like health insurance and TV service providers, and even the Federal government.
 
As we do every year, we’ve just published our Predictions report for CX. I want to share a couple of those predictions with you:
 
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Customer Experience Q&A with Roland Boekhout, CEO ING-DiBa

Harley Manning

Have you ever heard of a bank that’s as popular with its customers as Amazon is with Amazon’s customers?

Me neither – at least not until we ran our Customer Experience Index study in Germany this year. That’s when I found out about ING-DiBa.

So what does ING-DiBA do that makes it so special? Attendees of Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals EMEA are going to find out in London on November 17 and 18 because that’s when Roland Boekhout, CEO of ING-DiBa, is going to tell us.

Personally, I can’t wait. Which is why I’m delighted to offer up Roland’s answers to some of our pressing questions – right now.

I hope you enjoy what he has to say and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on the customer experience?Why?

It is always important to us that our customer experiences DiBa in the way that we promise it. We want to turn our customers into fans, and this is something that we work on everyday – for over 8 million customers. We would like to make satisfied customers feel inspired, and unsatisfied customers inspired once again.

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Q&A With Ryan C. Green, Managing Director Customer Strategy And Development, Southwest Airlines

John Dalton

In the airline industry, Southwest is no stranger to customer experience accolades. In fact, it consistently earns top marks on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index compared to other carriers – offering enjoyable and easy experiences that meet customers' needs.

It will be a pleasure to hear directly from Southwest’s Managing Director of Customer Strategy and Development, Ryan Green, next month at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum West in Anaheim, CA. To get an early taste for why Southwest is known for its experience, and the strategy behind it, read on.

Q&A with Ryan Green, Managing Director Customer Strategy & Development, Southwest Airlines

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?

A: Southwest Airlines has always been focused on the Customer. Our company started with the vision to give people the freedom to fly and our differentiator has always been policies and services that lean towards the Customer. As a result, we now fly more passengers domestically, increased our airports served dramatically and Southwest Airlines’ Customer complaints are the lowest in the industry. As we’ve grown and the industry has become more competitive we’ve definitely continued uncovering what our Customers need and want from Southwest Airlines and we are focused on giving them that experience to keep them coming back time and again.

Q: What aspects of the experience that your company delivers matter most to your customers? 

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Q&A with Olivier Mourrieras, Vice President, Customer Experience Centre of Competence, E.On, Part 2

Harley Manning

You know what the Holy Grail is for an analyst? It’s results data – especially financial results data. And that’s especially true for analysts who cover customer experience because all too often CX professionals don’t track – or won’t share – their results.

That’s why I’m especially pleased with what I am able to share with you today.

Last week I posted part 1 of Forrester’s customer experience Q&A with Olivier Mourrieas of E.On, one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. Olivier will be speaking at Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London on November 17 and 18, 2014, and he was kind enough to share some thoughts with us in advance of his appearance.

This week I’m posting part 2 of Olivier’s answers, in which he tells us the tangible business results that the E.On CX program has achieved.

I hope you enjoy what he has to say and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Q: How do you measure the success of your customer experience improvement efforts (e.g., higher customer satisfaction, increased revenue, lower costs)? And have you seen progress over time?

There are hard and soft benefits which we are continuously demonstrating:

Hard Benefits:

  • Churn reduction: Increasing Net Promoter Score (NPS) leads to increased loyalty. This will help to stabilise the Private Household and SME customer base.
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Design Thinking Drives Innovation With Drop, A Connected Kitchen Product

Allegra Burnette

Sculture at Staunton FarmAfter a gorgeous long fall weekend tramping around ponds and through pastures in search of sculpture, while oohing and aahing over the upstate New York autumnal palette of greens, yellows, oranges, and reds, I got a nice welcome back to work today. My first Forrester report is live on our client site! It’s a case study on Drop, an iPad-connected kitchen scale and recipe app, which was developed by a small team based in Ireland and is currently in pre-order.

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Q&A with Olivier Mourrieras, Vice President, Customer Experience Centre of Competence, E.On -- Part 1

Harley Manning

Here’s an objection I sometimes hear when I talk to people about how improving  customer experience can boost business performance: “Sure, it sounds great for glam industries like automotive or fashion.  But I sell widgets.”

Okay, it’s fair to say that the business value of CX is more obvious for industries that advertise in magazines with slick, glossy paper. But the reality is that focusing on CX can also do a lot for less sexy industries.

That’s why we invited Olivier Mourrieras of E.On to speak at Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London on November 17 and 18, 2014. E.On is one of the world's largest investor-owned electric utility service providers. And even though utilities don’t exactly captivate their customers, E.On has made huge, measured advances in the customer experience it provides, resulting in corresponding improvements to business results.

Olivier recently responded to our questions about what E.On has been doing and how it’s evolved. He gave us such amazingly detailed insight that I’ve broken his answers into two parts, with Part 1 appearing below.

I hope you enjoy what he has to say and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?

Prior to 2009, customer focus had not been a crucial part of E.ON’s strategy. Customer satisfaction scores were often lower than market average scores across the group resulting in high customer churn.

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Q&A With Siqi Chen, Cofounder And CEO, Heyday

John Dalton

Thinking you know your customers will no longer cut it when it comes to delivering a top-notch customer experience. To create the most compelling differentiated experiences, firms not only need to know their customers but also understand what their customers care about most. 

Siqi Chen, Heyday cofounder and CEO, gets this. The "effortless journaling" app goes the extra mile to deliver a seamless delightful experience — particularly for first-time users "where there aren’t obvious motivations to invest," in Siqi’s words.

I had a chance to sit down with Siqi in advance of his keynote session at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West to talk about how Heyday competes on experience in the competitive mobile playing field. Hear more of Heyday’s story next month in Anaheim, California, November 6th to 7th.

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?

A: We focused on the customer experience from the inception of the company. As a mobile company, the way our customers interact with their devices is intensely personal. We run on a device that is the primary computing device for most people, a device that is with our customers physically for most of their waking life and a device that our customers interact with in the most intimate way: through touch. Because of this, great products on mobile devices require a very high bar for attention to detail and emotional value, in addition to the foundations of speed and value delivered that every great product requires.

Q: What aspects of the experience that your company delivers matter most to your customers?

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Help Us Benchmark The State Of CX Maturity In 2014 (And Get A Free Copy Of The Results)

Megan Burns

In 2007, I wrote a report about how to measure customer experience (CX) across an entire enterprise. At the time, I could find just three companies — three! — that were actually measuring CX this way. Everyone else I talked to said that their companies had no CX measurement or that they measured CX in a piecemeal way, touchpoint by touchpoint. They desperately wished that executives would see the value of measuring and managing CX at an enterprise level but admitted their leadership just wasn’t thinking that way yet.

Fast-forward to 2014 and things look a lot better in the world of CX. Leading companies in every country and every industry are making CX a strategic priority, investing millions to improve how customers perceive their interactions with the firm. It’s great to see, but I have to admit . . . I’m not willing to declare victory just yet.

My concern is that these improved customer experiences won’t stay good over the next five years. There remains a risk that this flurry of improvement projects will fade into memory, allowing dysfunctional CX practices and processes to revert back to their old ways.

To keep that from happening, companies need to do more than fix broken customer journeys or redesign average ones. They need to increase their level of CX maturity by creating self-sustaining systems (human and technological) in each of the six disciplines that characterize great CX companies — strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance, and culture. But are they?

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