The Top 10 Pieces Of Advice From Voice Of The Customer Leaders

Adele Sage

I was flipping through the 2012 Forrester Voice of the Customer Award nomination forms the other day, and I realized that I’ve been unwittingly holding on to an valuable resource — all the advice that we asked nominees to impart on other voice of the customer programs. The very last of the six questions on our nomination form is, “What advice would you give to other organizations to make their programs successful?” We got some great answers from the 40 or so nominated companies, so I pulled together the top 10 pieces of advice. If you’re looking for some inspiration for your own VoC program, look no further than the advice of your peers.

1. Build executive support. The majority of nominees offered this advice, and it’s consistent with Forrester’s own research showing that executive support builds a foundation for VoC success. Executive support helps CX pros put key building blocks in place, such as adequate tools to collect and analyze data and processes to systematically act on it. How do you build support? Prove the value of the program by demonstrating tangible business value. Track the results of service recovery efforts to save unhappy customers and aggregate the results of improvement projects initiated by VoC-collected data.

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How To Co-Create Your Customer Experience: Sweat The Details

Kerry Bodine

It’s Valentine’s Day, so shout it as loud as you can: “I love my customers!” Now, prove it by designing products, services, and experiences that actually meet their needs. How are you going to do that? By involving actual customers (as well as employees and partners) in the design process.

This collaborative activity, called co-creation, might ring a bell — two of my recent blog posts addressed what co-creation means and what the benefits are. Co-creation is a versatile and valuable methodology. And while it might seem effortless, it usually doesn’t happen on the fly — which is why Amelia Sizemore and I wrote our latest report, tackling the logistics behind planning a stress-free and productive co-creation workshop.

Newbies often assume that the workshop itself will be the most challenging part of a co-creation initiative, but most of the heavy lifting actually occurs before participants ever show up. Advanced preparation — and lots of it — ensures a smooth and productive workshop that feels like it runs itself. For example, you need to:

  • Hook participants with the right incentives. T. Rowe Price asked a lot of its participants — in addition to a full-day co-creation workshop, participants completed a 30-day diary study and a phone interview. In exchange, the company rewarded each person with an iPad.
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Q&A From Last Week's Customer Experience Index Webinar

Megan Burns

Last week, I did a webinar on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, 2013. We didn’t have time to answer everyone’s questions, so I thought I’d post answers to those we didn't get to.  

"Can consumers respond to having an experience with multiple companies?"

In some cases, yes, and in some cases, no. In the bank, credit card provider, insurance, consumer electronics manufacturer, airline, hotel, and rental car categories, they can pick up to two brands they’ve done business with most in the past 90 days. For retailers, they can pick up to four. For the other six industries, they are limited to one.

"What is the threshold to determine if the person is a customer? Interactions one time, over time? A recent experience?"

We don’t strictly require the person to be a customer. The person could be a prospect or a former customer. All we ask is that this person has done business with the company in the past 90 days.

"Why don't you track high tech?"

We do, actually. Two years ago, we added the consumer electronics manufacturer industry, which covers most of the latest high-tech gadgetry. We don’t include software in part because there are just so many types of software and so many brands. It would be hard to narrow them down to something manageable.

"How does CXi map to NPS?"

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Take Our Survey About Your Digital Experience Improvement Projects Planned For 2013

Adele Sage

It’s time again for our annual survey about all of the digital customer experience improvements, redesigns, and new digital experiences you’re working on this year. Please consider taking the survey, where we’ll ask you about:

  • What projects, if any, you have planned for this year.
  • Details about those projects, like budgets, staffing, and research tools.
  • Incremental improvements you’re working on in addition to — or instead of — the big projects.
  • To what extent all those projects and improvements are integrated.

Not planning anything? That’s okay — we still want to hear from you! 

The info you provide will help shape an upcoming report. And good news: To thank you for your time, we’ll send you a copy of that report when we publish it.

So what are you waiting for? Take the survey!

Thanks so much.

(Agency folks and consultants, sorry — this survey isn't for you, unless you’re planning projects for your own digital properties.)

Why Should You Co-Create Your Customer Experience?

Kerry Bodine

Despite professed customer centricity, many firms don’t think to involve customers, employees, or key partners in the experience design process. That’s unfortunate, because this activity — called co-creation — can help companies understand what types of interactions will best meet people’s needs and then figure out how to implement those interactions the right way.

Co-creation might sound familiar. Some people use the term to refer to Facebook ideation contents or crowdsourcing websites like mystarbucksidea.com. But in the experience design world, co-creation isn’t about soliciting hundreds or thousands of ideas through an online community. It’s the process of face-to-face active collaboration for the improvement and/or innovation of mutually beneficial products, services, or experiences. During co-creation workshops, teams focus on eliciting deep insights from participants — and translating those insights into tangible prototypes that can be evaluated in real time.

Co-creation is an extremely versatile tool, one that can inform the design of discrete touchpoints, complex customer journeys, emotionally resonant experiences, and just about anything else you can think of — even the employee experience. But pulling off an effective co-creation session requires extensive planning, preparation, and willingness to let a few customers behind the scenes.

So what’s the payoff? In our recent report, Amelia Sizemore and I outline several of the benefits co-creation provides, including:

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New And Future Research On Customer Experience Measurement

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

My colleague Megan Burns and I have just published our new report "Executive Q&A: Customer Experience Measurement" in response to all the great questions we’ve been getting about measuring customer experience. To measure customer experience (CX), firms need a framework that tells them not only how good their customers' experiences are but also how to improve them and what benefits to expect from doing so. Increasingly, companies are developing such a framework despite facing sometimes-major obstacles.

This report answers some of the most common questions customer experience professionals agonize over when it comes to CX measurement. 

One of those questions we are often asked is, “What does it mean to measure customer experience?” Here is the answer. Forrester defines CX as: how customers perceive their interactions with an organization. Therefore, fundamentally, to measure customer experience is to measure customers' perceptions of their interactions with a firm.

Check out the full report for answers to these additional questions:

  • What types of customer experience metrics do we need?
  • How can companies pick the right metrics for each section of their customer experience measurement framework?
  • Which customer experiences should we measure?
  • How can companies measure customer experiences that span channels?
  • How should companies use the customer experience metrics they collect?
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Surveys Are Here To Stay

Adele Sage

By Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and Adele Sage 

Allow us to paint a vision of the future for you: After interactions with your favorite companies, no one asks you how you liked those interactions. Your email inbox contains no requests for a few minutes of your time. No one asks you to wait on the phone line to answer a few questions. The word "survey" has vanished from your vocabulary.

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Indoor Venues Are The Next Frontier For Location-Based Services

Tony Costa

GPS-enabled smartphones have made location the cornerstone of the mobile experience. Location powers popular smartphone apps such as Foursquare, shopkick, and Yelp; overall, navigation and mapping apps are the third-most-used category of smartphone apps, ranking higher than gaming, news, and shopping. Yet, as important as location is, its dependence on satellite-based positioning systems prevents it from playing a significant role indoors -- where we spend up to 90% of our lives.

As I discuss in my new report, Next In Tech: Indoor Positioning, indoor positioning technologies are rapidly changing this situation by enabling users, venue owners, and app developers to determine a person's (or object's) position inside buildings. The impact of this change will be profound:

  • Make the physical world searchable down to the object level. By geotagging objects (through manual tagging or low cost tracking beacons), indoor positioning will make it possible to search for products and objects in the physical world as easily as we can on the Internet.
  • Provide a new platform for in-store shopper engagement and experiences. Indoor positioning will not only help shoppers with tasks such as locating products on shelves, calling for assistance, and accessing in-store services but will also enable retailers to engage shoppers in real time as they shop.
  • Digitize the call for help. Requesting help in venues will soon go digital, as indoor positioning will enable the help to come to you rather than you going to the help.
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New For 2013 — The Forrester Customer Experience Index Award Of Excellence

Megan Burns

Last week, we released our sixth annual Forrester Customer Experience Index. This week, we’re introducing something new to go along with the benchmark — an award.

From now on, any brand that scores an 85 or above in our Customer Experience Index (CXi) will receive both a physical award and a badge for its website naming it a “Forrester Customer Experience Index Award Of Excellence” winner for that year. Here’s a sneak peak at what winners will get:

 

Mockup of the Forrester Customer Experience Index Award Of Excellence

Without further ado, please join me in congratulating the winners of the first annual CXi Award Of Excellence, 2013: Marshalls, USAA (bank), Amazon.com, Kohl’s, Target, Courtyard by Marriott, Sam’s Club, Rite Aid, Costco, Lowe’s, TJ Maxx, JCPenney, and Marriott Hotels & Resorts!

Special congratulations to four of these brands — USAA (bank), Amazon, Kohl’s, and Costco. They were on the list of “excellent” brands in our 2012 CXi, too. It’s not easy keeping up with changing customer demands, so kudos to them for maintaining their leadership positions.

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Can You Buy Your Way To A Better Customer Experience?

Kerry Bodine

Earlier this month, Avis announced that it will acquire Zipcar. On paper, the combination of a traditional car rental company with a car-sharing service sounds like a win-win deal. Unfortunately, many of Zipcar’s customers think they’ll end up as losers. Here’s just a sampling from the hundreds of comments that concerned Zipsters have posted on Facebook since the acquisition announcement.

  • “Avis is horrible. They ‘lost’ a car I returned not that long ago. It was in the parking lot the entire time but was recorded as being a different color. And they were insanely ignorant and seemed [to] revel in my panic . . . ”
  • “I've had the worst experiences with Avis, repeatedly :-(”
  • “I've had nothing but terrible experiences with Avis. I want to believe that Zipcar will not change, but I'm very skeptical that this will turn out good . . . ”
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