Welcome To The Dawn Of Anticipatory CX

Ryan Hart

Forrester’s CX Index shows that, across the board, companies are getting better at delivering quality customer experiences (CX). But in as much time as it takes to open a celebratory bottle of champagne, the tide of rising customer expectations threatens to push the product or service CX pros have been working on for so long toward obsolescence. Essentially, customer expectations are rising faster than companies can conceptualize, design, and deliver improved experiences.

Now, imagine if you could better manage your customer’s expectations before the delivered experience — first by elevating your customer’s positive emotions as early in the interaction as possible and then initiating a positive emotional momentum that will carry throughout their journey with your brand. It’s called anticipatory CX and it is the most powerful element of CX that you’re not currently paying attention to. Consider the following:

  • Evolution gave us anticipation as a motivating force. People are wired to anticipate future happy experiences as opposed to negative events. When you think about the BBQ this weekend or your friend’s wedding next month or a vacation later in the year, you’re anticipating a positive experience. Your brain’s intrinsic anticipatory-reward system has kicked in.
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Yes, Federal CX Professionals, They Are Out To Get You

Rick Parrish

This post is part of a series dedicated to the challenges, opportunities, and realities of federal customer experience. Interested in learning more? Register for our complimentary government CX webinar next week, and be sure to join me as I host Forrester's first-ever CXDC Forum on Sept. 12th in Washington, DC.

It's been 23 years since the White House first told federal agencies to improve the experiences they provide to customers. Yet three presidents, two executive orders, and a bevy of memos and committees later, federal customer experience (CX) is still in crisis. In fact, federal agencies have:

  • The lowest average score on Forrester's CX Index. The federal average of "poor" was worse than all 17 private sector industries we rated and far below the overall average of "OK." In fact, even the weakest performers in most industries still outscored the government average. The National Park Service and US Postal Service, the highest-rated federal agencies, scored only as high as the average for banks.
  • A near-monopoly on the worst experiences. Seven out of the 10 worst organizations in the CX Index – and five out of six in the "very poor" category – were US federal agencies. Only internet service providers and TV service providers came close to matching this level of underperformance.
  • Shockingly bad websites. Forrester's Consumer Technographics survey shows that only 53% of customers agree that federal websites are "exactly what [they] should be." Fewer than three in five customers consider federal sites easy to use or well organized.
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The US Customer Experience Index for 2016, Part 1: The Bar for CX Quality Inched Up

Harley Manning

It’s time for one of Forrester’s big annual events: The publication of this year’s Customer Experience Index report for US brands.

The report is based on Forrester's CX Index™ methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at large US brands. Between our Q3 2015 report and our 2016 report we saw modest but clear progress among many of those brands, as 58 out of 319 had a significant improvement in their experiences.

  • Twenty-eight brands gained 5 points or more. The 28 brands were scattered across 12 industries plus the US federal government, where three agencies made big increases.
  • Five industry averages rose. Every year we show the range of scores by industry together with industry means. In 2016 the bar went up significantly for five industries:  wireless service providers, traditional retailers, hotels, internet service providers (ISPs), and US federal government agencies (which is more of a sector than an industry but you get the idea).
  • The percentage of Good and Okay scores rose slightly. The percentage of Good and Okay brands each increased by two percentage points. Those gains came equally from declines in the Poor and Very Poor scores, which each shrank by two percentage points.   
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Forrester’s Customer Experience Marketing Summit 2016 Is Coming To Singapore August 25th!

Fred Giron

Customer experience (CX) and marketing leaders, mark your diaries! I’m excited to announce that Forrester’s CX Marketing Singapore 2016 event is less than six weeks away.

As all organizations operating in Singapore and in Southeast Asia understand, CX is fast becoming the only competitive differentiator for their business. The lines between brand, marketing, and CX disciplines are blurring as customers 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 Singapore 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 behaviors 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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Customer Experience Drives Revenue Growth, 2016

Harley Manning

In 2015, we explored whether customer experience really matters to business success or whether CX is just the latest hype. Our conclusion: superior CX drives superior revenue growth in industries where customers are free to switch business and competitors deliver a differentiated customer experience.

This year we repeated our study to see if the results held true across an additional year of data. To do that we compared five pairs of publicly traded companies where one company in each of the pairs had a significantly higher score than the other in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index during the period 2010 to 2015. Then we gathered financial data from company SEC filings like Forms 10-K and 10-Q.

The tough part was normalizing the results. We focused on isolating revenue that could be traced directly to consumer behavior; we also backed out revenue from mergers and acquisitions, revenue from sale of assets, and other windfalls.

Once we normalized the revenue data we used it to build models that calculated the compound annual growth rates (CAGR) for the ten companies from 2010 to 2015. We found that the CX leaders in all five pairs of companies outperformed their relative CX laggard counterparts.

In two industries, cable and retail, leaders outperformed laggards by 24 percentage and 26 percentage points, respectively. Even in the industry with the smallest spread, airlines, the CX leader enjoyed a healthy 5 percentage point advantage in global revenue.  And when we compared the total growth rate of all CX leaders to that of all CX laggards we saw that the leaders collectively had a 14 percentage point advantage.  

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“Uber For X”: The X Doesn’t Stand For Experience

Deanna Laufer

An on-demand startup called Peach began delivering lunch to my office recently. Depending on the day, I can order mango chicken curry, mushroom tacos, or eggplant rollatini, and Peach will deliver it at lunch time for about 10 bucks.

I don’t know about you, but $10 a day for lunch is a bit steep — have you seen the cost of daycare lately? But when the only other option is a mediocre on-site cafe, Peach starts to look better by comparison and has great customer service: When a colleague’s lunch was stolen, Peach refunded her the money — no questions asked. I predict that Peach will succeed — at least at Forrester — because it provides the convenience that on-demand companies are known for, paired with great customer experience.

Unlike Peach, though, recent on-demand failures:

  • Didn’t understand their customers. Helloparking, a Boston startup for finding parking, failed despite multiple pivots. Upon reflection, the founders acknowledged that they “never defined clear hypotheses, developed experiments, and rarely had meaningful conversations with target end users.” What’s worse, they “rarely got out of the building.”
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How To Transform Your Organization Into A Customer Experience Powerhouse

Keith Coe
In my previous blog, I discussed why customer experience is important and what the indicators are that your organization needs to transform itself and its customer experience. In this follow-up blog, I cover how an organization transforms to provide a better customer experience as well as lessons that we've learned from our consulting work.
 
Q: How does an organization begin to transform to provide a better customer experience? 
 
A: Transforming customer experience requires a strategy — a vision for what an organization wants the experience to be and a plan to make it happen. Customer experience professionals whom Forrester surveyed identified the lack of a clear strategy as the biggest obstacle to customer experience success. To overcome this obstacle, Forrester recommends a three-phased approach.
 
 
In practice, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for transforming customer experience. And it’s not just the customer experience that needs to change. Oftentimes, so does the organization itself. It depends on the current situation as well as the nature and scope of the transformation needed. For example, does an organization need to reinvent to compete and lead in a rapidly changing sector? Is it trying to escape commoditization and build the competencies to stay ahead of the pack? Or is the challenge to repair critical customer journeys and better orchestrate customer experience management across functions?
 
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Transforming Your Organization Into A Customer Experience Powerhouse

Keith Coe
Not surprisingly, most executives whom Forrester surveys want their organizations to deliver a better customer experience and to become more customer-centric. But few organizations are achieving this aspiration: 82% of brands in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) got scores of “OK” or worse by customers.
 
Stakes in the race for customer experience excellence are high: Each year, billions of dollars in revenues are in play, to be won or lost due to customer experience. Many organizations are at risk of losing customers and revenues to competitors and digital disruptors that can provide a better customer experience and respond more nimbly to changing customer needs.
 
Executives often ask Forrester how to deliver a better customer experience. I’ve summarized their most common questions and the answers that we base on our consulting work and research:
 
Q: What do you mean by “customer experience”? 
 
A: Forrester defines customer experience broadly: It’s how customers perceive their interactions with an organization. These interactions range from their overall relationship to specific customer journeys and touchpoints, both digital and nondigital.  
 
Q: Why does customer experience matter?  How does it affect financial results?
 
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Calling All CX Pros: An Opportunity To Get Data And Participate In Forrester’s Research

Sam Stern

Everyone I talk to has internalized the importance of improving customer experience delivery in the age of the customer. But in today’s hypercompetitive business landscape, and with ever-rising consumer expectations, actually delivering better experiences is a tall order. To help understand how companies are tackling this challenge, we’re conducting research on how some of the world’s smartest, busiest people are leading customer experience initiatives in their organizations.

Does that sound like you? If so, I invite you to fill out the Forrester Customer Experience Programs Survey.

We took great effort to create a survey that is frictionless and enjoyable that you should be able to move through quickly. And as a thank you, we’ll send you the survey results when they’re ready. In other words, for a small contribution of your time and insight, you’ll get a rich set of data on how your peers are tackling key CX challenges.

Key details are:

  • Survey open: April 19th - May 6th. But don’t delay, the survey will take about 10 to 12 minutes of your time to complete. Why not take it today?
  • Survey length. The survey has about 30 questions.
  • Topics covered. We cover CX team size, skills, responsibilities, budgets, and reporting structure.
  • Related research. We plan to use the data in a series of reports about CX teams, their roles, responsibilities, and budgets. We will also use it in research about how CX pros foster more customer-centric cultures, work with colleagues, and work with partners across their CX ecosystems to deliver better experiences.
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Design A Customer Feedback Strategy That Doesn’t Annoy Customers

Kara Hoisington

Asking customers for feedback is one of the most direct ways to understand their experiences and needs across touchpoints. However, we’ve all experienced an organization’s attempt to execute this . . . usually poorly.

Surveys are too long. Callbacks are interruptive. What are they going to do with my feedback anyway?

Combatting these types of complaints is core to recent conversations with organizations who are establishing voice of the customer (VoC) programs. Some questions include: How do you ensure you are engaging with customers at the right time in the right channels, what is the main metric you are asking to ensure consistent data collection, and what is the best way to ask the question to encourage participation?

Recently I used Forrester's internal collaboration platform — Chatter — to collect stories about when colleagues were asked for feedback. I received a litany of the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer feedback designs. Below are the main takeaways from my internal and external conversations along with examples to consider as you think about the best way to collect information from your customers.

1. Make It Easy

Uber and a local food delivery service Peach make it easy to give direct feedback on a specific experience. They provide visual cues to remind customers what they are giving feedback on and a simple mechanism for providing it (a star rating). There are various ways of executing, including emojis (think Facebook’s recent updates) and scales (e.g., 1 to 5, 1 to 10). Any of these tactics work, as long as they align with your brand and are asked consistently across touchpoints. Both of these examples also provide an opportunity to give more feedback afterward to provide context to the rating.

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