Three Ways To Improve Federal Digital CX On A Shoestring Budget

Rick Parrish

Have you read the results of the Government Business Council’s new “Digital Disconnect” survey?

The results are fascinating, and I could go on for quite some time about them (just ask my dogs, who have been listening to me rant about the survey all morning). However, at the moment, I will focus on the result of just one question.

That question is: “Which of these pose a significant challenge to your agency’s ability to digitally optimize its public services?” The top selection was “budget constraints.” About 64% of respondents said budget is a challenge to improving digital public services.

No way am I going to say that budget isn’t a problem. It’s a huge problem. That’s why Congress needs to fund the digital services groups and other digital customer experience (CX) initiatives that the administration advocates. But too often I hear budget used as an excuse for not doing anything, despite the reality that feds can make real digital CX gains on a shoestring budget and that good digital CX is often actually cheaper than bad CX.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how feds can use CX guerrilla tactics to make gains without budget, personnel, or authority. Back in April, I wrote about overcoming the top five excuses for not improving federal CX, and budget was among them.

Today, I’d like to mention a few more ways that federal agencies can improve their digital CX on the cheap. Here they are:

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When Was The Tipping Point For CX? It Looks Like It Started "Tipping" In 2010!

Harley Manning

Last week, I stumbled across "The Behavioral Economics Guide, 2015" (which you can find here).

I’m kind of a Daniel Kahneman/Dan Ariely junkie so I immediately started scrolling through it looking for articles of interest. And there, on page 8 . . . big score! A graphic that plots the relative Google search frequency of the term “customer satisfaction” against the search frequency of the term “customer experience.”

Here’s why this chart floats my boat: For two years — from 2008 to 2010 — we see the terms coexisting as if people couldn’t quite make up their minds as to whether they were really different or not. Then in 2010 — pow! “Customer experience” starts shooting up like a rocket, while “customer satisfaction” takes a deep dive.

(Coincidentally, in 2011, the attendance at Forrester’s CXNYC shot up to more than 1,300 people on-site, from just more than 800 people on-site in 2010. That led us to add a CX Forum West — now CX San Francisco — and CX Europe starting in 2012.)

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Pitting Big Data Versus NPS Isn’t The Way To Success In CX Measurement

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

You might have seen a recent blog by Tony Cosentino on how “Big Data Analytics Will Displace Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Measuring Customer Experience” because “NPS is prone to error, lacks a causal link with financial metrics, and lacks actionable data.” And while Mr. Cosentino’s blog highlights a critical issue in CX measurement, it only tells part of the story.

The problem in most CX measurement programs — whether that company uses NPS or not! — is that CX pros rely too much on surveys. That’s because of a number of factors:

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Calling All CX Pros! Participate In Forrester's State Of CX Research Survey (And Receive A Copy Of The Results)

Tony Costa
Forrester's CX team is running a study on the state of customer experience in companies and would love your help. You just have to take our short (15-minute) survey. The purpose of the survey is to gain insight into:
  • How companies staff and manage their customer experience efforts.
  • Their attitudes and behaviors in relation to customer experience innovation.
  • Their attitudes and efforts related to customer experience strategy/vision.
  • Their spending priorities in 2015.

Click here to take the survey.

Responses are kept strictly confidential, and Forrester will only ever report the results of this survey in aggregate. Click here to view our privacy policy.
 
As a thank you for helping with the research, anyone who completes the survey will get a copy of our report when it comes out in late Q3 2015. The state of CX survey will be open through July 21.
 
We value your time and insight, and thank you in advance for your participation!
 

Plan Your Summer Vacation Around Customer Experience Inspiration

Rick Parrish

It's finally here. That time of year when seemingly half of the federal workforce flees Washington, D.C., for a well-deserved vacation. It's a magical time for those of us who stay behind: Less traffic shortens our commutes, the Starbuck's and food truck lines are shorter, and fewer people at meetings means more decisions get made.

But the feds heading out for vacation are happy, too. They hope to return refreshed and reenergized. This year, I hope they will also come back inspired with new ideas for improving the federal customer experience (CX). To help them find that inspiration, I've put together this list of travel tips:

  1. Fly JetBlue. JetBlue was the highest-rated airline in Forrester's CX Index. It's a solid omnichannel experience across digital touchpoints on multiple devices, and the airline's employees are friendly, helpful, and empowered to fix customer problems as they occur. The company creates a chummy atmosphere, rather than the us-versus-you environment that some airlines exude. As you enjoy the great experience, remember that it has been created despite structural hurdles that include a large and partially unionized workforce, a highly-regulated market, and razor-thin profit margins. If an airline can overcome these barriers, why can't your federal agency?
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Customer Experience News: This Week In Congress

Rick Parrish

Each Congress considers over 10,000 bills, and virtually none of them ever explicitly focus on customer experience (CX). However, some bills do have implications for federal CX. And although just 3% of bills ever become law, federal CX advocates should stay informed of proposals from the start. That way, we can suggest improvements, help good ideas become law, and plan for what happens when they do.

That’s why I’m starting this new weekly blog series. Every week while Congress is in session, I’ll take a look at a few new bills that could affect federal CX and offer my initial thoughts on each. I hope my views start a weekly conversation about which bills seem most promising for federal CX and the overall role Congress should play in improving the federal customer experience.

Let’s begin by taking a look at two bills that House leadership recently assigned to committee:

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How The Social Security Administration Hit A CX Trifecta With A Mobile App

Rick Parrish

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program had a problem: It was paying out way too much in unearned benefits to program participants. This was happening because participants weren’t reporting their income often enough. As participants’ incomes went up, their SSI eligibility went down — but they continued receiving SSI benefits based on the lower income they had previously reported.

SSA used fundamental customer experience (CX) techniques to solve this problem. As a result, it ended up fixing not one problem, but three.

First, SSA and its contractor performed basic quantitative and qualitative customer research to discover why people weren’t reporting their income. The reason wasn’t fraud — it was convenience. SSA had made it too difficult for beneficiaries to report their income, so they weren’t doing it as often as they should. But how to make it easier? Solid CX design methods presented the solution: a mobile app.

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Guerrilla CX For Government

Rick Parrish

Federal customer experience (CX) professionals are trying to wage a conventional war against bad CX. But they usually don’t have the budget, personnel, or authorities they need to win big, decisive battles. That’s why federal CX pros should consider changing their approach and use some proven CX guerrilla tactics instead. To make the most of their limited resources, federal CX pros should use their available data, foster rapid-fire experimentation, and create memorable moments that build coalitions. Here’s how.

Make The Best Use Of Available Customer Data

A formal voice of the customer program with both quantitative and qualitative feedback mechanisms is ideal — and you’ll definitely need one eventually — but you don’t need anything that fancy to start improving your CX. Instead:

  • Aggregate and use the customer data you already have. Most federal agencies have way more customer data than they realize. Even a motley collection of one-off surveys, website and social media analytics, call center logs, and customer emails can be mined to uncover pain points. Don’t worry about painting a photo-realistic picture of your customers. Just aim for a few broad brush strokes that can guide basic CX improvement.
  • Go for big impact by exposing the unfiltered voice of the customer. If you don’t have the data to impress decision-makers’ left brains with intricate multivariate regression analyses, awe their right brains with dramatic quotes and stories of major customer problems. All the numbers in the world aren’t as powerful as listening to a call center recording of a crying mother or reading an email from an irate retiree.
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What Do I Do With My Data?

Kara Hoisington

Part One: Don't Use A Technology Band-Aid 

While kicking off a project last October, a client showed us slide after slide of reports, architectures, and data flows. Overwhelmed by information, the client looked at us and asked — what do I do with all this data? It's a plea for help I have heard on almost every engagement since. Due to this trend, I am starting a blog series answering the question from a multitude of perspectives. Each blog will dig deeper into a particular dimension including organizational communication, analytics processes, reliance on technology, and creation of actionable data dashboards.

Clients usually start conversations thinking they need to re-evaluate their technology in order to more efficiently automate their insights-to-action process. However, after digging under the surface, this is rarely the crux of the problem. Technology is usually just the easiest target. In addition, vendors usually overpromise on what they can deliver.

Due to the marketer’s pursuit of a magic bullet to automate data into insights and insights into action, leaders enter into contracts with solution providers boasting “omnichannel” capabilities that “connect data across channels to personalize communications.” Unfortunately, technology companies rarely focus on or understand the process and organizational changes that need to happen in order to successfully leverage these capabilities.

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CX Interview On Designing The Human-Machine Interface With Parrish Hanna Of Ford Motor Company

Allegra Burnette

Parrish Hanna is the global director for human machine interface at Ford Motor. Parrish and his team guide the design and development of the interior interactive experiences for all Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Through the synthesis of emerging technologies, consumer understanding, and thoughtful physical and digital design, they ensure clarity, ease of use, meaning, value, and safety. We sat down to talk more about the role of design leading up to Parrish’s keynote at CXNYC 2015.

Q: The car is a very personal object. How do human-centered design methods fit into the context of the work that you do?

A: For me, I skipped the whole design thinking thread, because that was just always how I worked and thought — this very iterative, user-centered design being informed by qualitative and quantitative understanding, continuously doing generative, iterative, formative, and evaluative measurement while progressing through research toward understanding. But what’s interesting about our space is what resonates is actually designing for experiences through the application of science, the translation to engineering, and the emotion of design. To me, ease of use and intuitiveness and task completion are just the cost of entry. Beyond that, how do you imbue this much deeper, richer emotional connection to the brand, product, or service or to the experience itself? And for us, it’s in the context of the automotive ecosystem, which is a mobility ecosystem, compared to, say, a transactional website or a retail experience.

Q: How do you go about doing that?

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