My wife and I have finally reached the last phase of a lengthy and complex home renovation project. To make sure that the new stairwell gets installed with the least risk of personal injury (descending the stairs first thing in the morning, in the dark, before coffee, and before the banister has been completed — not a good idea), we decided to spend a couple of nights in a hotel while our contractor finishes the job.
That hotel happens to be a Courtyard by Marriott property, one of a handful of businesses to achieve a rating of excellent in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (Cxi). In the CXi, we ask consumers to measure how well each brand they’ve done business with measures up against three criteria: value, ease of use, and enjoyability. Most brands score OK to very poor. So how does Courtyard do it?
It's skirted the requirements trap. All hotels have rooms, showers, and parking. Wi-Fi, a business center, a dining area, and fitness facilities are pretty generic too. These things are required to compete in this market. But merely having these things is not enough.
For one thing, if you’ve ever been to London City Airport, it’s an experience that’s far superior to what you’ll get at bigger and better-known airports that I won’t name.* So even though I like to think that I know a bit about customer experience, Declan clearly has something special going on.
For another thing, Declan is charming. Taken together, that combination of content and presentation is, well, intimidating for your humble forum host.
In the run-up to the event, Declan took the time to write some great detailed answers to our questions about what he’s been doing, how his efforts have evolved, and what advice he’d give to others on the journey to customer experience maturity.
I hope you enjoy his answers, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London on November 19th and 20th!
Q. When did London City Airport first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
A. London City Airport (LCY) has been focused on customer experience since its doors opened in 1987 — it’s a niche player, serving the travel needs of the business communities of Canary Wharf and the City and the political establishment of Westminster, and our passengers expect a consistent, best-in-class experience.
Ever since Forrester began conducting its Customer Experience Index study, retailers have topped all other industries. They not only have the highest average scores (as rated by their own customers), they comprise the majority of the companies in the “excellent” category. In fact, the only other industry that comes close to retailers is hotels.
That’s one reason why we’re delighted to have Jo Moran, head of customer service for iconic retailer Marks and Spencer, speak at our Customer Experience Forum EMEA in London on November 19th and 20th.
The other reason is that Jo has been on a journey to boost Marks and Spencer to a higher level of customer experience maturity — which is exactly what our forum is about.
In the run-up to the event, Jo graciously agreed to answer our questions about what she’s done so far and what she’d do differently if she had it to do over again. Her answers appear below.
I hope you enjoy her responses as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London on November 19th and 20th!
Q. When Marks and Spencer (M&S) first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
Simultaneously: using two devices at the same time to “multitask for efficiency.” Despite overwhelming evidence that humans cannot really split their attention among multiple tasks, 82% of global consumers believe that multiscreening makes them more efficient, and they act on that belief.
The survey is now closed. Many thanks to all of the agencies and service designers who submitted. We'll be in touch soon.
The survey deadline has been extended to November 7 at midnight Eastern! Please see my comment in the thread below for more details.
“Who can help us design great customer experiences?” I increasingly hear this question from our Forrester clients — and depending on what kind of work the client is after, my answer is often, “a service design agency.” I recently wrote two blog posts discussing the importance of service design and its relationship to customer experience. In December, I’ll be publishing a report that will help prospective clients find potential service design partners.
This report will focus on agencies that design service-based interactions that span the following steps in the customer journey: buy, access, use, and get support. Agencies that primarily design the employee experience will also be considered for inclusion in the report. If that sounds like your agency — and you’ve got one employee or several hundred — we’d love to include you. Just fill out this survey by November 1.
Service design is critical to customer experience (CX). (If you’re not sure why, please check out my post from earlier this week called "Service Design: The Most Important Design Discipline You’ve Never Heard Of," and then come back and continue reading.) But what exactly is the relationship between the service design and CX? And how does the field of user experience (UX) factor into this picture?
User experience primarily focuses on the design and development of digital interactions. Today, this typically means websites, mobile phones, and tablets, but UX can also include touchpoints like kiosks, desktop software, or interactive voice response systems.
Customer experience focuses on the design, implementation, and management of interactions that happen across the entire customer journey. This includes the interactions that take place as customers discover, evaluate, buy, access, use, get support, reengage, and leave.
As the image below shows, I believe that all UX work is a subset of CX work. Customer-facing digital touchpoints are by definition part of the CX, and employee- or partner-facing digital touchpoints either directly or indirectly affect the customer experience in some way.
Service design, like customer experience, focuses on the design and implementation of interactions that happen across the entire customer journey. Service designers also design the behind-the-scenes activities that enable those experiences to be delivered as planned.
Do you know what the right metrics are to measure your customers' experience? Do you know how to make the best use of the metrics to improve the customer experience?
If you cannot measure the customer experience, you cannot manage it. And that means that you will never move beyond the find-and-fix approach that characterizes the "repair" stage on the path to customer experience maturity.
So join me and your peers in the Forrester Workshop, Customer Experience Measurement Essentials, in Cambridge, Mass., on October 24th.
This workshop is a great opportunity for all CX professionals to:
Learn Forrester's framework for measuring the customer experience: how to identify the right metrics to measure CX and how to make the best use of CX metrics.
Today is the first annual Customer Experience Day! There’s a growing number of professionals who are dedicated to making great customer experiences — and today is a day to celebrate their work. Today I’d also like to celebrate the role of design in helping customer experience (CX) pros create those experiences. It's not graphic design, interior design, or industrial design — but the lesser-known field of service design. You may not have heard of service design yet, but I’d argue that it’s the most important design subspecialty in the business world today.
What is service design? Its purview includes the design of interactions that span time and multiple touchpoints. Service design is sometimes easiest to grasp when contrasted with product design. Product designers create tangible things: tennis shoes, teapots, and tablet computers. Service designers create intangible experiences: the series of interactions that you have as you book a flight, pay a bill, get a driver’s license, or go to the doctor. Service designers also design the behind-the-scenes activities that enable those experiences to be delivered as planned.
How’s this for a challenge? Imagine you’re the president of one of the largest economy hotel chains in America. Your goal: deliver a consistent, high-quality on-brand customer experience across all of your properties.
Now add in that the brand is more than 40 years old, you have 15 major direct competitors, and the behavior of your customer base is changing rapidly. And oh, yeah, you have to work through franchisees.
If you can imagine all that, then you might have a rough idea of what it’s like to be Clyde Guinn. I love talking to Clyde because he’s both grounded in the traditional hotel business and on top of how that business is rapidly changing. In the run-up to Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West in Los Angeles on October 9th and 10th, Clyde was kind enough to answer some questions that we posed to him.
I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I do, and I look forward to seeing many of you in Los Angeles!
Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
A: As a hospitality company, customer service is something that we, as well as our industry in general, have always focused on to some degree. It’s a vital part of ensuring success. I think what’s changed, or perhaps evolved, is how we measure the customer experience.
What does “omnichannel” really mean? And is it a viable strategy for customer experience professionals?
For customer experience professionals, omnichannel — the popular buzzword used to describe a company’s efforts to wrangle a consistent experience across all channels — is already legacy thinking that represents a limited approach for designing and delivering services. Instead of thinking about all channels, companies should focus on designing content and services delivered in specific touchpoints — the touchpoints that align with customer needs and the business' strategic goals.
This requires new thinking about the ways that customers interact. Companies must:
Understand target customers and their real goals. Using ethnography and other exploratory techniques, customer experience professionals can get to the bottom of how customers operate and what they really care about, which ultimately determines what they need and where they need it.
Design services first. In a recent conversation with a large financial institution, we learned that the bank does not have separate touchpoint teams. Instead, it has a deposit team, for example, responsible for all related services and deployed appropriately across relevant touchpoints.
Deliver in the right touchpoints for target customers. Giffgaff, for example, doesn’t have phone support. Its model is based on an active community populated by a very specific type of user.