Talent Management For The Customer-Obsessed Organization

Rick Parrish

Employees are the lifeblood of a customer-obsessed enterprise. No matter how advanced a company's technology, how big its data, or how trendy it’s marketing, businesses today simply cannot succeed without employees who devote themselves to customers. However, many companies struggle to build a customer-obsessed workforce because they:

  • Hire for skills and experience. Siloed hiring managers focus primarily on job candidates' technical skills and experience and seek little input from applicants' potential colleagues. Knowing how well candidates can code, lift boxes, or write marketing copy is important. However, skillset alone doesn't tell employers if applicants are willing and able to use their skills and cooperate with their coworkers in customer-obsessed ways.
  • Have weak training programs. Most training programs consist of long and dry classroom, online, and coaching sessions rather than short and engaging sound bites that employees can access when they need to. Even worse, training focuses solely on employees' job responsibilities, businesses processes, and operation of technical systems — topics that rarely help employees become more customer-obsessed.
  • Fail to recognize and reward customer obsession. Our data shows that although 42% of companies claim that excellent customer treatment is one of their core values, only one-third of companies actually hold employees accountable and tie employees' incentives to customer experience (CX) metrics.
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The US Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 3: Emotion Holds The Key To CX-Fueled Loyalty

Roxana Strohmenger

Over the past two weeks, my colleagues Harley Manning and Rick Parrish have discussed the rising tide of CX quality, stagnation among top brands, and CX-fueled digital disruption in the results of our US 2016 Customer Experience Index™.

In this post, I’ll explore another big finding from our research: The way an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than the effectiveness or ease of the experience.

CX professionals often think that getting emotion right is simple: Make your customers happy, not angry. However, we find that anger and happiness do not have a very strong influence on customer loyalty. What does?

  • Making customers feel valued, appreciated, and confident drives loyalty. Consider the hotel industry, which had the largest percentage of customers that reported feeling “valued.” We found that 88% of these “valued” individuals will advocate for the hotel brand, and over three-quarters of them will keep their existing business with the company as well as enrich their relationship.
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Forrester Wave™ evaluation of the Customer Feedback Management market

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

I am pleased to announce that Forrester Research is commencing a Forrester Wave™ evaluation of the Customer Feedback Management market and collecting data for a separate VoC vendor landscape overview. I will lead the project and the expected publication date is March 2017. For more information about the Forrester Wave process, please read here.

CFM / VoC vendors support companies' enterprise-wide voice of the customer programs by helping a company with all or some of the following: solicit feedback from key customers across channels, centrally collect solicited and unsolicited feedback, analyze structured and unstructured feedback, distribute insights from customer feedback across the organization, close the loop with customers who have given feedback, act on the insights from the feedback, and monitor CX progress continuously. 

If you want to be considered for this research, we ask you to fill out a questionnaire. We will use it to determine which vendors to include in the full Forrester Customer Feedback Management WaveTM study and to gather data for a separate "Market Overview Voice Of Customer Vendors" report. 

We must receive your responses to our questionnaire by: August 19, 2016, 12 pm (noon) EST.   Please send completed surveys to sross@forrester.com. After evaluating the completed inclusion surveys, we will select several vendors to invite to participate in the in-depth Wave research. Note that not all vendors receiving this survey will be included in the Wave. We will notify you of your status after we have completed the vendor selection process.

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

Federal CX Professionals: Your Time Is Now

Rick Parrish

This post is part of a series dedicated to the challenges, opportunities, and realities of federal customer experience. Interested in learning more? Check out our recent webinar to learn why CX success is vital for government success.

In my last post, I explained how forces arrayed against federal customer experience (CX) improvement hinder Washington’s efforts. Luckily, there’s a way out of this quagmire. To overcome anti-CX forces and achieve all the advantages of better federal CX, customer experience professionals should:

  • Form an unstoppable coalition. Don’t try to fight alone. Instead, join forces with like-minded feds to share information, challenges, and solutions. Start by leveraging the large network of the General Services Administration’s CX Community of Practice, which has over 500 members from more than 70 federal, state, and local government organizations. Then tap into the bureaucratic muscle of the senior program managers, OMB staff, and other officials on OMB’s new Core Federal Services Council, the “government-wide governance vehicle to improve the public’s experience with federal services.”
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Introducing Forrester's B2B Tech Customer Experience Index Methodology

TJ Keitt

Since 2007, Forrester has helped consumer brands evaluate the experience they deliver to their customers with our Customer Experience Index (CX Index™). This methodology powerfully demonstrates to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies the link between CX and customer loyalty. Business-to-business (B2B) firms can benefit from a similar methodology to assess their emerging CX practices. Using the B2C-oriented CX Index as a foundation, we created the Forrester B2B Tech Customer Experience Index, which we are unveiling today.

The B2B Tech CX Index is designed to account for the key differences between B2B and B2C technology companies in managing a customer experience:

  • The number of stakeholders within a single account. In a single B2B account there are numerous "customers" -- individuals who interact directly with the vendor or its products. This can include business analysts, procurement officers, tech management executives, systems administrators, end users, and help desk staff. Because B2B tech companies have to account for many different stakeholders, the B2B Tech CX Index captures this range of customers by surveying both business leaders and technologists.
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The US Customer Experience Index for 2016, Part 2: CX Plus Digital Equals Disruption

Rick Parrish

In a previous blog post about the Customer Experience Index for US brands In 2016, Harley Manning contrasted the rising tide of CX quality with the stagnation among top brands.

In this post I'll explore another big finding from our research: CX-fueled digital disruption. In this year's CX Index results we found that:

  • Wireless service providers continue their advance, floating all digital boats. This year we saw an advance by the wireless service providers that help enable digital disruption through their networks: The high, low, and average scores for the industry all went up. Just as telling, seven of the 11 brands in our rankings improved while the remaining four brands' scores stayed the same. This general upward movement pushed the industry into fifth place overall.
  • Over-the-top (OTT) services crush incumbent TV service providers. This year, for the first time, the CX Index includes OTT service providers — companies like Hulu and Netflix that distribute video over the internet through a subscription model instead of through a legacy pay-TV provider. In their debut, even the lowest-scoring OTT service provider beat the highest-scoring cable company. OTT providers' universal superiority signals a huge threat to the revenue streams of traditional subscription TV services.
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Join me in Sydney for a Dose of Product & Service Design Thinking in Financial Services, August 4th

Ryan Hart

I started my corporate career in financial services – working for several large, global high street banks in Asia. During my time “in the trenches” of wholesale and mass affluent consumer banking, I watched a number of ambitious and well-intended new product and service ideas rise through the ranks of budget approvals and stakeholder support only to make it to market and then die a slow death on the vine when customer adoption or planned value failed to meet expectations.

Notwithstanding, the ideas were good – many smart people worked on these projects. However, equipped with the clarity of time, I reflect back on some of those projects today and see a common thread between them. Fundamentally, those shipwrecks all shared one thing in common – they were never properly vetted with the customer before they were commercialized.

Today, while financial institutions are getting smarter at collecting quantitative data around channel experiences; the qualitative validation piece, the ethnographic research piece, the co-creation with customers piece is still missing in most organizations. In some cases, it’s only happening at the bleeding edge. While agile methodologies and minimum viable product-quick-to-market thinking has closed the gap on aligning with customer needs and expectations, the industry as a whole would benefit from an injection of human centered product and service design thinking to move the industry’s CX from good to great.

Join us for our inaugural invitation-only Next-Generation Financial Services summit in Sydney on Thursday, August 4 where I will delve into the topic of design thinking for financial services with my presentation, Fix your Products and Services with a Dose of Design Thinking.

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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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