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.
We’ve probably all heard some story about over-the-top customer experience in our day. Like the story about the family on vacation at the Ritz Carlton, Bali. The family of a child with a severe food allergy was on vacation. The food they’d brought for their child spoiled en route. When they arrived, the manager of the hotel consulted with his executive chef who was unaware of any shops on the island that stocked the specialty items that had spoiled. But he did recall a shop in Singapore, where his mother-in-law lived, which stocked food the child could safely eat. So what did he do? He called his mother-in-law had her get the items and jump on a plane to Bali. For those of you who are curious, that’s a 3-plus-hour flight!
Stories such as these stand out for obvious reasons. But they don’t scale. That’s why companies need to focus on delivering great experiences, day in and day out, with products and services that meet customer needs, are easy to use, and are enjoyable.
It’s this last piece — enjoyability — that’s so hard to pin down. Why? First off, enjoyability is subjective. What one person thinks of as fun, another person thinks of as foolish. Skydiving, anyone? (I’ve tried it and think it’s kind of cool, but maybe it’s not your thing.) What’s more, many of the things that we think benefit customers, such as providing seemingly unlimited product configurations or service choices, are actually the opposite of enjoyable because they cause anxiety and hurt the decision-making process. And to top things off, it’s hard to sustain an enjoyable experience from start to finish. Ever been to a theater to watch an otherwise-satisfying movie only to be disappointed with the ending? How about being treated like royalty when considering signing up for a service only to be disappointed by how you were treated once you became a paying customer?
Interest in customer experience at pharmaceutical companies has shot up in the past few years. This came home to me more than a year ago at our 2012 Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East, where every meeting I took was with one or more decision-makers at pharma companies.
But there’s another reason why I’m looking forward to Tony’s speech. In talking to him during the run-up to our event, I’ve gotten a good look at what he’s doing and why it matters to so many people. Because let’s face it: The prescription drugs we take go right to the most important experience in most of our lives — our health.
Why does customer experience matter to a life-sciences company like Lilly, and what is it doing to make it better? We recently put some of these questions to Tony, and you can read his answers below. I hope you enjoy them and that I get to see you in Los Angeles where we can all hear Tony in person.
Q. When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
A. Lilly’s focus on customer experience actually can be traced back to the company’s beginning in 1876 when Colonel Eli Lilly went against the trend of the time and focused on developing products of the highest quality to provide the best experience for his customers.