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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Hurricane Sandy Scorecard: NSTAR 1, Verizon 0

Harley Manning

Like millions of Americans who live along the Eastern seaboard, my family got hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Now don’t get me wrong: Compared with residents of New York, New Jersey, and several other states, we had it easy in our little suburb north of Boston. Even so, there were a few exciting episodes, like this tree that fell on my neighbor’s house.

Fallen tree on power lines

And then there was this power line that came down on the sidewalk across the street from our home, about 4 feet from where I had been standing 20 minutes earlier (I had been talking to a firefighter).

What fascinated me, however, was what came after all the excitement: service recovery by our electrical utility and telecom provider.

Let’s start with our local electric utility, NSTAR. As you can probably guess from the above, our power had to be cut. To restore it, NSTAR needed to coordinate with both our local fire department and our local public works department in order to get that giant tree off the power lines before it could repair them.

When I looked at the job ahead for the utility, I guessed that we would be without power for at least a day. But exactly 12 hours after NSTAR cut power so that the burning lines wouldn’t pose a hazard, the tree was gone and our electricity was restored. In fact, NSTAR beat its own estimate by about 90 minutes.

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Q&A With Randy Pond, EVP, Operations, Processes, And Systems, Cisco Systems

Moira Dorsey

In response to many requests to feature more business-to-business (B2B) content at our events, next month’s Outside In: A Forum For Customer Experience Professionals will feature several B2B keynote presenters, including Randy Pond, EVP of operations, processes, and systems at Cisco Systems. In preparation for the event, I caught up with Randy to talk about his keynote and the importance of championing the voice of the customer at Cisco. Check out a preview of Randy’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in Los Angeles, November 14th to 15th, to hear Cisco’s full story.

Q: What gets in the way of delivering the right experience to your customers?

First, in some areas, I believe we lack consistent policy and practices in the business that we can inspect, enforce, and govern.  It’s a combination of the legacy of our entrepreneurial spirit, drive to market, and speed to market. The second is related to the fact that we have a regular influx of acquired companies that we have to embed into our offering, scale into the marketplace, and turn loose to our customers. This can get us into trouble when we may not have the same sense of urgency when we release products. As well, there is a big push on the sales team to get new products moving and out to customers and a big pull from our customer base to get these new offerings in the marketplace. And that stretches our ability to make them as effective and easy to use as we would like. 

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Your Customers Are Complaining. Do Something About It

Adele Sage

I'm about to start a gut renovation of my kitchen, which, of course, is an incredibly stressful not to mention expensive project. For cabinets, we got a recommendation for a designer at a local cabinet store. We met with her, got some great ideas, and went home to wait for the quote.

After no word for a week, we reached out for an update. Several days later, she finally called and quoted a dollar amount over the phone. I was thrown off. No written quote? No detail? When I asked for more info, she emailed me a fantastic quote that included drawings and details on every component but had a slightly higher price at the end than what she'd quoted verbally. Odd. Then, as we made changes to the design, this miscommunication pattern repeated. We ultimately decided to get cabinets elsewhere.

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Verdict: Samsung Galaxy Is Not Cool. This Is Winning?

Harley Manning

An appeals court in the UK just decided that the design of the Samsung Galaxy does not infringe on Apple patents for the iPad.

Why? Well, the opinion by Judge Colin Birss concluded that, "They are not as cool.”

That’s pretty damning. Consider that customer experience occurs at three levels: meets needs, easy, and enjoyable (emotionally engaging). So what the judge is really saying with his ruling is that the emotionally engaging iPad differentiates itself  based on customer experience — whereas the Samsung Galaxy does not.

As a result of this ruling, Apple must run ads in newspapers, magazines, and on its website publicizing the fact that the two designs are different.

Does anyone else see the irony in that? I don’t know whether Apple can get away with what I’m about to suggest, but here’s the ad I’d love to see it run:

"Official Government Verdict: The iPad Is Cool And The Samsung Galaxy Is Not Cool  

According to a recent ruling by an appeals court in the UK, the Samsung Galaxy isn’t cool enough to be considered a copy of the Apple iPad. Here is what the judge said in praise of the iPad:

'The extreme simplicity of the Apple design is striking. Overall it has undecorated flat surfaces with a plate of glass on the front all the way out to a very thin rim and a blank back. There is a crisp edge around the rim and a combination of curves, both at the corners and the sides. The design looks like an object the informed user would want to pick up and hold. It is an understated, smooth and simple product. It is a cool design.'

What did he say about the Samsung Galaxy?

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Join Us At Customer Experience Forum West In Los Angeles, November 14-15, 2012!

Moira Dorsey

Our Forum For Customer Experience Professionals in Los Angeles is just four weeks away — and we have some exciting news!

First, our final lineup of external speakers is confirmed. All of our main-stage speakers are from companies featured in our new book, Outside In — some of them are even the subjects of case studies in the book.

Many of you have asked us to feature more business-to-business content in our events, so in response, we have both Randy Pond, EVP of operations, processes, and systems at Cisco Systems, and John Taschek, VP Mof market strategy at salesforce.com. Both companies are in the book, and Randy is the executive sponsor of the program that won one of our 2012 Voice Of The Customer Awards.

In addition to Randy and John, we have Dr. Jim Merlino, the chief experience officer for Cleveland Clinic, a world-famous, $6 billion healthcare provider. The work he is doing is as applicable to organizations outside of healthcare as it is relevant to all of us who have ever been (or will ever be) patients.

We’re also excited about our main-stage panel on building a customer-centric culture with Nancy Fratzke of US Cellular and Kelly Harper of BMO Financial Group. Transforming a culture is one of the hardest things any of us will do, and both of these panelists have successfully done it.

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