We are working on a new report on the voice-of-the-customer (VoC) vendor landscape 2013.
The report will provide a guide to the current landscape of the VoC vendor market as well as the features and services currently delivered by a variety of vendors and will show where we see the growth potential in the future.
To all CX and CI professionals who use VoC vendors: We would love to hear about your experience with your current and past vendors. If you would like to take part in this research, please reach out to Corey Stearns (email@example.com).
To all VoC vendors: We just launched a vendor landscape overview survey. If you help companies listen to, interpret, share, and act on customer feedback and haven't received the survey, please reach out to Corey Stearns (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The idea of customer-focused rewards and incentives for employees isn’t new. But lack of widespread adoption points to missed opportunities for many companies. Forrester asked customer experience (CX) executives whether or not their firms link employee recognition to customer experience metrics, and the vast majority of informal and formal reward programs are not tied to customer experience outcomes.
My recent interview with Blair Skramstad from John Deere Financial reinforced why connecting employee and customer goals is so important. Blair told me that they recently rolled out a customer experience storytelling competition to collect great CX stories and shift their culture to be more customer-centric. One of their customer experience champions expressed frustration that so many of the story submissions she received were anonymous. She discovered that employees were afraid that their managers would be upset that they were spending time with customers as opposed to their primary responsibilities. This is a perfect example of where well-crafted customer-centric goals would have made a difference.
In July, I delivered a webinar about customer experience innovation. I explained that in order to create innovative experiences that drive differentiation and long-term value, companies need to triangulate on consumer needs, the business model, and the brand. I received several great questions during the call, and I thought it would be worth answering them again (in brief) here:
How many companies are following that process of developing customer experience innovation?
Unfortunately, not as many as I’d hope.
In Forrester’s recent survey of 100 customer experience professionals, 69% percent of respondents reported that their companies have dedicated personnel for customer experience innovation. Sixty-four percent have allocated time to innovation activities. And 55% have dedicated innovation budgets.
These numbers sound promising — but they just don't add up. In 2013, only 8% of the companies in Forrester’s annual Customer Experience Index received a top grade from their customers — and that's a pathetically low number in comparison to the amount of professed innovation in the industry.
Companies seem to be missing the point about aligning innovation efforts with consumer needs, business model, and brand — and that’s what keeping many from differentiating.
Is it possible that “staying with the lines” of the current business model or corporate brand squashes innovation?
Location technologies used to be thought of as the domain of maps and navigation, but no more. Today, location is a critical enabler embedded in a growing number of app categories ranging from social networking to shopping to app discovery. Further, companies in retail, hospitality, transportation, healthcare, and other industries that have a strong emphasis on physical infrastructure are increasingly turning to location technologies as a means for improving their customer experiences. These companies are using location to:
Personalize service. eBay Now is making product delivery more personal by delivering products to customer wherever they are -- not a street address, but literally where they are. So the next time you're camped out at Starbucks or the park and need something in about an hour, eBay Now will bring it to you. In this case, eBay Now personalizes the experience by making the customer the destination, not an address.
Each year, SXSW crowdsources part of its programming. For 2014, eight Forrester analysts have proposed presentations based on our current and upcoming research. If you’d like to see any of these presentations at SXSW, we’d love your vote. It’s easy: After a quick sign up, just follow the links below and give these sessions a thumbs up. Voting ends this Friday, September 6 at 11:59 PM CT. Thanks for your support, and we hope to see you in Austin!
I was reviewing some research with a customer experience colleague who suddenly realized that he’d left some notes on his laptop, which was tethered to his desk. Knowing that he just started using Evernote, I suggested he sign into his account on his iPhone (which never leaves his side) and get his notes there.
For seasoned Evernote users there’s nothing magical about this. But for my coworker, something significant happened. Though young enough to be considered a digital native, he’s also worked long enough to associate productivity tools with desktops and laptops, client-side apps like Lotus Notes and Microsoft Office. His work life has been so deeply informed by PC-based tools that even though he knew, rationally, that he didn’t have to run back to his laptop to consult his notes, his habits told him otherwise. Only when he logged in via his iPhone and experienced what a cloud based note-taking app could do for him did his ideas about work begin to swerve a little. You could see it in his smile. That’s good design – it makes life a little better, opens up possibilities, adds a little gusto.
With fall coming up, I was reminiscing about my summer. And funnily enough, one of the lower moments had to do with free ice cream. Whole Foods had advertised an “Ice Cream Social” on a Saturday in July — free ice cream from 2 to 5pm. By the time my husband and I managed to squeeze my 8-week-old daughter and one set of grandparents into our car and drive there, it was 4:30pm. But that was still before 5pm, right? Yeah. Unfortunately, when we entered the store, there were no signs of an ice cream social anywhere. Turns out, the store had run out of ice cream earlier. What a bummer! Now all of us had to trudge back into the car without having eaten the ice cream we were all much looking forward to.
Now you might say “stop whining” since the ice cream was free. But here is the thing: Even though we certainly had no right to expect anything in the first place, Whole Foods changed the game by promising something. We were upset because Whole Foods didn’t deliver on its promise. And you know what? Only a few weeks later, it happened all over again! Whole Foods hosted an event in which people could bring back their used toothbrushes and get new ones. Guess what? When we got there, they only had toothbrushes for left-handed people left. Given that left-handed people only represent about 10% of the world’s population that was very disappointing and started to feel like a marketing gimmick.
Earlier this summer, Gallup published their 2013 State of the American Workplace report. That report showed that higher levels of employee engagement correlate with better customer outcomes like improved satisfaction scores and loyalty. But it also found that rates of employee engagement in the US working population remain stubbornly low: Fully 70% of US workers report that they’re either not engaged with their jobs, or actively disengaged.
Create employee engagement roadmaps. Customer experience leaders should start by assessing the level of employee engagement at their firms today. With this data in hand, CX pros can perform gap analyses to identify areas for improvement.
To better compete in the US luxury automotive landscape, leadership at Audi of America had focused on improving three fundamental areas: the brand, the products, and the dealership. And they had made huge progress.
But according to Jeri Ward, director of customer experience at Audi of America, “The customer experience had not kept pace.”
Troubling data points made that clear: Customer loyalty was at 40%, and sales satisfaction was in 26th place out of 31 brands. But what really drove the problem home was this quote from an Audi customer: “The whole time the salesman spoke with me, he was eating Skittles out of a bag in front of me.”
Just imagine that you’re trying to buy a $60,000 to $90,000 car from someone who can’t be bothered to stop cramming junk food into his mouth. Would that work for you? I didn’t think so.
In this excerpt from Jeri’s speech at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East, she describes some of the tangible actions Audi took to solve this problem by creating a customer-centric culture that inspires passion for the Audi experience. The results the firm’s efforts produced are a testimony to its success: In just three years, sales satisfaction went from 26th place to 12th place, and the company has experienced 30 months of record sales.
As always, we welcome your comments! And if you're interested in seeing more great speakers like Jeri, check out our upcoming Forum For Customer Experience Professionals in Los Angeles in October and London in November.
Like CX Forum East, the theme of our Los Angeles event is “Boost Your Customer Experience To The Next Level.” We picked that theme to showcase examples of companies that improved the customer experience they provide, whether they were just starting out, already leading their industry, or somewhere in between.
To kick off the event, Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst Megan Burns will describe the four-step path to customer experience maturity that she details in her new report. The fascinating thing about this study is that when we started it, we thought we’d uncover several paths that companies have followed to get to success. But what we found instead is that there is only one path that’s proven to work, and many paths that lead to dead ends and failure.
In addition to speeches and track sessions by Forrester analysts like Megan and my co-author Kerry Bodine, our speaker lineup features senior leaders from companies that recently made major improvements to their customer experience. These executives include the president of Days Inn Worldwide, the CMO and VP of CRM at Sears, the chief customer officer at Eli Lilly, and the president and CEO of Safelite Autoglass.