Outside In Holiday Promotion (Part Two) — Book Giveaway!

Kerry Bodine

Our book giveaway contest is over and our 10 randomly selected winners are:

Holly S. from Fannie Mae
Arshad F. from Mobrise 
Thomas Z. from CIO2020.com
Juha-Pekka H. from P&C Insurance
Monika K. from HSBC
Francesco R. from Pasticceria Romeo
Kim P. — @retaincustomers
Christian B. — @CSinnovations4
Derek G. — @derekgardiner
Zsolt N. — @zsoltnagy4
 
Someone from Forrester will be in touch soon. Congratulations, and happy reading!

 

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What simple innovation brought billions in new investments to Fidelity? What basic misunderstanding was preventing Office Depot from achieving its growth potential? What surprising insights helped the Mayo Clinic better serve both doctors and patients? The solution in each case was a focus on customer experience, the most powerful — and misunderstood — element of corporate strategy today. Your gut already tells you that customer experience is the key to business success. Now you can prove it. Based on fourteen years of research, Forrester’s new book Outside In offers a complete roadmap to attaining the experience advantage.

Want to win a copy of Outside InWe’re giving away 10 copies this Friday, December 14. You can enter to win two different ways:

Option 1: Tweet

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Engaged Employees Do The Right Thing Because It’s The Right Thing To Do

Harley Manning

Recently I was on a panel about the impact of cultural change on customer experience. My fellow panelists included Meltem Uysaler, a senior vice president of customer experience for Citi, and Patricia John, the customer experience director for Europcar UK (a car rental agency).

Right at the end of the session, Patricia responded to an audience question by saying that Europcar focused on creating a customer-centric culture because they can’t script every interaction. Therefore, employees need to be able to make the right judgment calls on their own when dealing with customers (or anything having to do with customers, which includes virtually everything a company does).

Patricia John is right. At Forrester, we see this dynamic time and again through our research. For example, every time I see USAA’s Wayne Peacock speak, he always uses the phrase, “We do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.” That’s extremely credible coming from Wayne: He’s the EVP of Member Experience at USAA, which is the number one bank, the number one credit card provider, and the number one insurance provider in our Customer Experience Index.

You, too, probably see this dynamic because it plays out in the news every day. Just compare the decision made by a Southwest Airlines pilot to the decisions made by some United Airlines employees.

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Help Forrester Make Its 2013 Customer Experience Predictions!

Kerry Bodine

It’s that time of the year again . . . Most of you are well into (if not done with) your 2013 planning — and at Forrester, we’ve also got our eyes on the year ahead.

Ron Rogowski and I have been engaging our fellow analysts in lively conversations about what will happen in the field of customer experience (CX) in 2013. But before we tell you what we think, we want to get your perspective on what 2013 will bring. So here’s your chance for fame and fortune — or at least the opportunity to be mentioned in a Forrester report! If your ideas or comments contribute to our final analysis, we’ll add you as a contributor to the research.

Specifically, we’d love to know:

  • What will be your biggest CX challenges next year?
  • What are your most important CX initiatives and priorities for the next 12 months?
  • What are your predictions for the field of CX in 2013?

Please share your thoughts for 2013 in the comments section below, or join the conversation in our customer experience community. We can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Mark your calendars: Our predictions report will be out in January, and we’ll share our prognostications in a teleconference on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. ET (18:00 GMT).

Bank Of America's Tough Decision Shouldn’t Be Tough At All

Harley Manning

I was both encouraged and perplexed by an article in The Wall Street Journal that described the internal debate at Bank of America over how to grow revenue. One side of the debate wants to charge new fees for basic services like checking accounts. And who do they want to charge? Their unprofitable customers who “typically have less than $50,000 in annual household income.” Those customers do little business with the bank, and Bank of America reportedly loses a couple of hundred dollars a year on them.

The other side of the debate wants to raise revenues by getting these unprofitable customers to buy more financial products from the bank — for example, get a credit card or buy a CD or take out a mortgage. If that happened, the problematic customers would generate enough revenue to become a money-making proposition for Bank of America.

If I were picking the winner of this debate, the decision would be easy. A growth plan that depends on extracting ever-increasing fee revenue from the very people who can least afford to pay it – for services that were formerly free – doesn’t seem like a growth plan at all. But getting a bigger share of those same customers’ wallets by selling them products that they’re going to buy from someone is a strategy that’s already working today for a bank that I’ll talk about in a minute.

The real question in this debate should be, how can Bank of America get its unprofitable customers to do more business with it? The answer: Provide a vastly improved customer experience — toe-dipping will not get the job done.

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Why It Takes Guts To Do Human-Centered Design

Kerry Bodine

The right customer interactions, implemented the right way, don't just happen. Instead, they must be actively designed. This requires learning — and then sticking to — the steps in a human-centered design process. But this approach is not for the faint of heart.

If you want to embrace human-centered design, you have to admit that you don’t know the answers to your problems. At its core, design is a problem-solving process. It takes into account the needs of customers, employees, and stakeholders — and it can be applied to create new (or improved) products, services, and experiences. While that all sounds good, embarking on a problem-solving project implicitly means you don’t have the answers to your current business problems. And in today’s solution-focused business environment, not having an answer can be seen as a weakness.

In fact, we’re so solution-focused that providing answers has become almost a knee-jerk reaction. Here’s a quick experiment: Ask the next colleague you see how to solve a particular problem, and she’ll likely give you an answer or two — maybe even three. It’s very unlikely that your colleague will pause for a moment, reflect on your question, and proceed to ask you more about the challenge you’re facing. But that’s exactly the approach that human-centered design takes.

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Outside In Holiday Promotion — Signed Books For Your Clients Or Employees

Kerry Bodine

Looking for the perfect gift to show your clients or employees the value of customer experience? How about a copy of Outside In signed by one of the authors? We’ll be happy to oblige, as long as you have a mailing address in the US. You’ll buy the books, and we’ll do the signing and pay to ship them back to you. Here’s how it works:

  1. Contact Forrester’s Megan Reinhart (mreinhart@forrester.com) to let us know you’re participating and how many books you’d like us to sign.
  2. Go to the Outside In page on 800CEOREAD.com. Buy enough books for your clients and employees and have them shipped to us. 800CEOREAD.com offers books at 43% off, $14.25 each, for bulk orders. Ship to either address, depending on the author you’d like to have sign the books:
    Harley Manning
    60 Acorn Park Drive
    Cambridge, MA 02140
    Kerry Bodine
    150 Spear Street, Suite 1100
    San Francisco, CA 94105
  3. When we receive the books, the author will sign them (Harley in Cambridge or me in San Francisco). We’ll also include a short message of your choosing, as long as it’s something we’re comfortable with.
  4. We’ll ship them back to you at our expense.
  5. You can distribute them to your clients or employees however you’d prefer — by mail or in person.

Happy holidays!

It's Time To Exercise Your Customer Experience Muscles

Megan Burns

I was talking to a client the other day who was very frustrated. She told me that her executives talk about customer experience all the time; they seem “bought in” to the idea that it matters. But when push comes to shove, none of them have done anything to drive real improvement.

She asked me . . . how can that be? If they get it, why don’t they do something?

I struggled with this question for a long time but finally came up with an analogy that made everything clear. It’s this: Customer experience is the “eat healthy and exercise” of the business world.

Think about it. We could say the following about both topics:

  • Everyone knows it’s important, and why.
  • When talking to others, we probably pretend we do it better than we actually do.
  • Deep down, we aren’t quite sure what we should do — it’s complicated and confusing.
  • The things we know we should do just aren’t that fun or exciting, so we often avoid them.
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Forrester’s 2013 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Survey

Kerry Bodine

Calling all customer experience professionals:

  • Do you know about your company’s customer experience priorities and initiatives (or lack thereof)?
  • Do you know what your company’s customer experience plans are for 2013?
  • Do you know how your company’s customer experience resources are structured?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, please help us out by completing Forrester’s 2013 global customer experience benchmarking survey. The info you provide will help shape reports to be written in the new year by Megan Burns and yours truly. And to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a copy of any reports that we publish with this data.

Thanks so much!

(Agency folks and consultants, sorry — this survey isn't for you.)

A Cure For Customers' Survey Fatigue

Adele Sage

You just bought something at your favorite store. You walk out with a skip in your step thinking about when you might wear this new purchase. You give into your compulsion to check your email on your smartphone, and there, waiting for you, is a survey from that very company asking about your experience. You groan, but you click on the link. The survey isn't formatted for your phone, so you have to pinch to zoom in and out. You don't understand the first question. Or the second one. Frankly, you don't really care. You close your browser window, curse the company and every other company that has ever asked you to complete a survey, and vow never to shop anywhere ever again.

I'm no doctor, but I'm confident in my diagnosis: You are suffering from survey fatigue.

You're not alone. Survey fatigue has even made it into pop-culture as a known malady, thanks to articles like this one in USA Today. It's no surprise that consumers are irked; most companies' customer experience measurement programs and voice of the customer programs rely on surveys for the necessary data. As a result, consumers are getting barraged with requests for feedback, and, really, it's just because companies have good intentions. They want to know how they're doing and how they can improve the experience.

If you're one of these survey-reliant companies, what can you do? I'm working on some research right now on that very topic with our new analyst, Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian. We're exploring indicators of survey fatigue to help you spot the problem as well as best practices for reducing any fatigue that does exist.

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Designing The Employee Experience

Kerry Bodine

In the dozens of conversations I have each week with companies charting their paths to a better customer experience, the role of employees often comes up. We talk about the importance of employee empowerment and how critical it is that employees feel free to make decisions that are right for customers. We discuss tactics like hiring, socialization, and rewards that can help organizations build corporate cultures that reinforce customer-centric attitudes and behaviors.

But rarely — if ever — does anyone ask me about actually designing the employee experience.

As I’ve said before: Great customer experiences don’t happen by accident — they have to be actively designed. In other words, you need to follow a structured process to ensure that you’re meeting customers’ needs and enabling interactions that are easy and enjoyable for them. While the discipline of design hasn’t yet become mainstream in the business world, companies around the globe — E.On Energy, Fidelity Investments, Mayo Clinic, and Virgin Mobile Australia, just to name a few — have started to embrace the value of design in customer experience. They’re conducting ethnographic research to uncover customers’ hidden needs. They’re bringing customers in for co-creation sessions to develop new experience ideas. They’re iteratively prototyping and testing the proposed solutions.

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