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 Imperative

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 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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Standardize Great Customer Experience Delivery

Sam Stern

In my last report, "Standardize Great Customer Experience Delivery," I look at how companies create, share, and assess customer experience (CX) standards. Done well, CX standards prevent avoidable customer experience mistakes, ensure consistent experience delivery, and set a high bar for customer experience quality.

But bad CX standards are worse than no standards at all.

Unfortunately, customer experience professionals can make current problems worse — and even cause new problems — when they create the wrong CX standards. Remember the infamous Comcast customer-service call from the summer? That was, in part, caused by a bad CX standard. Comcast created a standard for its call center reps that requires them to capture a specific reason why a customer is canceling his or her service before moving forward in their scripts. Back in July, a customer recorded his agonizing attempt to cancel without providing a reason and then posted it online — where it was listened to by millions, creating a public relations nightmare.

But don’t give up on CX standards. 

To craft the right standards, CX professionals should identify which parts of the experience need standards, create effective standards that strike an appropriate balance, socialize and reinforce the standards with all employees, and measure the impact of standards on customer and business metrics to confirm that they work.

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Customer Experience Q&A With Andrew Murphy Of John Lewis

Harley Manning

I get just as excited as the next analyst about the latest and greatest startup. But you know what? There’s something extra cool about a brand that’s been around since 1864, and yet runs neck-and-neck with Amazon in our UK customer experience rankings.

That’s why we invited Andrew Murphy, retail director of John Lewis Department Stores, to speak at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London on November 17th and 18th, 2014.

As we near the event, Andrew graciously answered some of our most pressing questions about the why and how of John Lewis’ famous service experience — which is all the more impressive given its brand promise: “Never Knowingly Undersold.” (Translation: Great customer experience doesn’t have to mean high prices.)

I hope you enjoy his responses, and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!

Q: When did John Lewis first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?  

A: John Lewis has had a long-term focus on what we would previously have termed “customer service,” dating back to our founding principles from 1864. More recently, the advent of omnichannel retailing with all of its inherent demands has caused us to revisit these principles and redouble our efforts to provide a truly world-class customer experience.

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You Need Great Employee Experiences To Create Great Customer Experiences

TJ Keitt

It's easy to get swept up in the power of the digital age, where smart mobile devices and cloud services open the door for new and exciting ways to engage customers. We think a lot about how these technologies will create enticing customer experiences (CX), making these digital touchpoints the face of the brand. I admit, as a technology fan, I'm enamored with this idea. But I'm also someone who thinks a lot about technology and the workforce, so I was equally animated by a conversation I recently had with the head of a CX consultancy. He warned that businesses risk over rotating on technology, viewing their people as receding in importance in delivering satisfactory customer experiences. He went on to say that businesses that make this make do so at their own peril. I agree.

More than three quarters of the information workforce -- those using a computing device (e.g. PC, smartphone, tablet) at least one hour per day -- interact with at least one customer as a routine part of their job. Over half of the workforce regularly interact with customers, partners, and customers. Are CX professionals thinking about the experiences these employees need as they think about customer needs? And -- close to my heart as a tech guy -- have they thought about what these neat digital tools can do for their employees, as they have about digital's effect on customers?

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