Federal CX Pros Must Start Preparing For The Presidential Transition Right Now

Rick Parrish

It's been eight years since the last presidential transition. Since then, we've seen real progress on the federal customer experience (CX) front, including the creation of the "customer service" cross-agency priority goal; the launch of 18F, the US Digital Service, and similar digital services shops; and the appointment of chief customer officers at four agencies.

Unfortunately, the next presidential transition could derail it all. The new administration might have different management priorities, misunderstand CX and its value, or simply want to undercut the current administration’s achievements. Improving federal CX may be good politics for nearly every conceivable incoming president, but that may not be enough. Some presidential transition experts bemoan times when neither good politics nor effectiveness were enough to save existing initiatives from a new administration's desire to appear different. As one expert put it, "Never underestimate the power of crazy."

Formally, the transition won't begin until the next president is chosen. In reality, work on the transition has already begun. The current administration has already refocused from rolling out new initiatives to securing its legacy; many senior executives are already planning their retirements or looking for work in the private sector.

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A New Era For Customer Experience In Australia? We Think So.

Tom McCann

A new era for customer experience (CX) measurement has just been launched in Australia — are you ready for it?

Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) report for Australian brands is now available for clients here. With the introduction of this research methodology you now have a tool that:

  • Reflects how well your brand’s customer interactions fuel the types of customer loyalty that drive revenue — retention loyalty, enrichment loyalty, and advocacy loyalty.
  • Measures how well your brand delivers on 25 industry specific drivers of CX quality, like how quickly your company resolves customers’ problems.
  • Provides a competitive benchmark of the quality of your brand’s CX compared to other brands within and across industry sectors, on a national or international level.
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Brands In China Have High CX Aspirations But Most Fail To Deliver

Ryan Hart

With recent drops in global stock markets and all eyes on China’s economy, the timing of the China CX Index report couldn’t be more serendipitous. While customer experience (CX) most likely doesn't have a direct impact on all this sudden share volatility, our research shows that there is a strong correlation between CX and revenue growth.

Forrester’s Business Technographics™ data shows that CX improvement is a growing priority for companies in China: 70% of tech and business decision-makers indicated that improving the experience of their customers was a high or critical priority for 2015 and 2016. However, CX Index scores reveal that these aspirations have yet to manifest themselves in actions and — more importantly — results.

Evolved from the inaugural assessment we completed last year, The China Customer Experience Index, 2015 now includes loyalty elements to the mix to gauge how well brands in China are at delivering quality customer experiences that create and sustain customer loyalty. This year, we examined 60 brands across five industries in China: banking, insurance, retail, eCommerce, and mobile device manufacturing.

At a high level, the results of 9,000 customer surveys in China revealed that:

  • No brands stand out as especially good or bad. The good news: No brands ended up in the very poor category. The bad news: none achieved excellent scores either. The vast majority of brands (80%) rated as just OK; 5% landed in the poor category, and 15% qualified as good.
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Australian And New Zealand Firms Say CX Is A Top Priority — But Do They Really Mean It?

Tom McCann

Lots of things are critical to delivering a great customer experience (CX). For instance, do you really understand your customers or simply do a great job of segmenting them? Do you actively encourage employees to provide feedback and recommendations on CX issues? And do you consistently get back to them on actions taken as a result of their feedback?

The truth is, you need to excel at all these practices to deliver exceptional customer experience. But even if you do, it may still not be enough. Ultimately, you’ll only excel at CX if you’ve properly aligned your CX strategy with your overall company strategy.

Forrester recently surveyed 52 Australian and New Zealand businesses, and of those surveyed, 98% believe that their companies are committed to improving CX. But only one-third have a CX strategy that’s actually aligned with the overall company strategy. Forrester's clients can access the full report here. That gap, the one between the priorities of the company strategy and the priorities of the CX strategy, is the business equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle; not all ships that enter will find their way out.

Whether you call them consumers, businesses, patients, citizens, or something else entirely, winning, serving, and retaining those customers must be a primary goal. And how can you achieve that goal? Ensure your CX strategy is actually aligned with the organization’s strategy. If you are one of the almost 70% of companies that have not aligned their corporate and CX strategies, you are like that ship trying to navigate the Bermuda Triangle on a very dark night, without a compass or charts.

Don’t be that company.

What Should Washington Do About The Public's Lukewarm Attitude Toward Digital Government?

Rick Parrish

Digital government is big in Washington. Next year, the White House plans to spend $35 million more on the US Digital Service, $105 million for digital services teams at 25 agencies, and tens of millions more for digital channels throughout the federal government. And that’s just the latest tranche, piled atop hundreds of millions in digital government spending in recent years.

Unfortunately, it looks like federal agencies are more excited about digital government than the public is. As I detail in my recent report, “Washington Must Work Harder To Spur The Public’s Interest In Digital Government,” public interest in digital government is tepid at best. In fact, a Forrester survey shows that only two-fifths of the public agrees that the federal government should focus on offering more digital services. And the news isn’t any better for specific big digital initiatives that are getting many agencies excited. For instance, only two-fifths of the public is interested in a single sign-on credential for federal websites, and fewer than a third of people want federal mobile apps that tailor safety alerts and other government information to the user’s location.

Why is public interest in digital government so weak? I go into greater detail in my report, but the bottom line is that people:

  • Don’t have good experiences with digital government as it exists. For instance, our surveys shows that fewer than half of Americans consider federal websites to be easy to use or well organized, and only about half of the public considers their content to be relevant or professional-looking.
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Is Your Privacy Organization Future-Proof?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Unless you're in a regulated industry, or headquartered in the European Union, chances are that your privacy organization has been limited to one or two lawyers, and maybe a data security expert. This small group has probably been tasked with making sure the firm is in compliance with local laws, and with writing and managing onerous and impenetrable consumer-facing privacy policies. In other words, these teams have worked to keep the company out of legal trouble.

But data privacy, collection, and use practices are becoming more visible, to regulators, to media and ultimately to individuals. And as a result, firms need a different kind of privacy organization to meet the need for transparency head-on. 

So tell us, has your privacy organization changed in the past few years? Are you staffing it with new skillsets? Creating more dotted lines to teams like marketing, product development, etc? Changing from a compliance-focused organization to one poised to capitalize on privacy as a market differentiator?

If so, my colleagues, Heidi Shey, Enza Iannopollo and I would love to hear from you for current research we're working on. Reply here, or email fkhatibloo@forrester.com, and THANKS!

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How To Make The Case For Customer Experience - For B2B Pros

Deanna Laufer

Are you working as a CX pro in a B2B company? And do you find it challenging to make the case for your CX program? You are not alone. In fact, many CX pros in B2B companies we spoke with struggled to get funding for their efforts: because they can't isolate the role of CX in driving financial success, they lack insight into how different clients’ experiences affect purchasing decisions, or they don't gather sufficient data about these experiences. That’s why Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian and I researched how B2B companies like Cisco Systems, Sage Software, Optum, Shell, and Tetra Pak have conquered these challenges and built a burning platform for their CX initiatives.

CX professionals managed to overcome these challenges by creating the preconditions for success. Following their lead, you should:

  • Rethink metrics and analytics to link CX to financials. CX pros need to look beyond the usual metrics like revenue or NPS to find the metrics that help link CX to business success.. For example food packaging company Tetra Pak found that a custom partnership index was a better predictor of sales and volume growth than other metrics they tested.
  • Use customer understanding tools to segment clients by role and influence. Working with internal stakeholders that cross the customer life cycle, CX pros can use qualitative research or journey mapping to understand the different roles within client accounts and the role they play in overall account health. For example, Walker Information conducts qualitative research with its client’s customers to identify the decision-makers and user.
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How To Win Funding For CX In B2B – 4 Steps To Building A Burning Platform To Spark Action

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

Are you working as a CX pro in a B2B company? And do you find it challenging to make the case for your CX program? You are not alone.

In fact, many CX pros in B2B companies we spoke with struggled to get funding for their efforts --because they can't isolate the role of CX in driving financial success, they lack insight into how different clients’ experiences affect purchasing decisions, or they don't gather sufficient data about these experiences.

That’s why Deanna Laufer and I researched how B2B companies like Cisco Systems, Sage Software, Optum, Shell, and Tetra Pak have conquered these challenges and built a burning platform for their CX initiatives.

CX professionals managed to overcome these challenges by creating the preconditions for success. Following their lead, you should:

  • Rethink metrics and analytics to link CX to financials. CX pros need to look beyond the usual metrics like revenue or NPS to find the metrics that help link CX to business success.. For example food packaging company Tetra Pak found that a custom partnership index was a better predictor of sales and volume growth than other metrics they tested.
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You Can't Afford to Overlook Your Customers' Emotional Experience

Megan Burns

In 2014, Forrester analyzed CX Index data to see which of the three dimensions of CX quality matters most to customer loyalty – effectiveness, ease, or emotion. We found that emotion, how an experience makes the customer feel, has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than either of the other two factors. Repeating that analysis with data from the first wave of our 2015 CX Index only strengthened that conclusion. Emotion was the #1 factor in customer loyalty across 17 of the 18 industries that we studied this time around.

Unfortunately, few CX programs pay as much attention to emotional experience as they do to functional experience. That’s partly because few people understand emotions very well. Conventional wisdom says that emotions are too unpredictable to manage. We disagree. True, we can’t control customer emotions (nor should we). But we can understand and influence them in a way that makes everyone happy.  

How, exactly, do you do that? Forrester hadn’t explored that question in much depth in the past, but that’s changed. Just last week I published the first of a series of reports on the role of emotion in CX and what it means for CX professionals across the globe.

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What Do CX And The Environmental Movement Have In Common (AKA Top 10 Tactics To Rally Your Organization Around CX Metrics)?

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

We all share this sentiment that we want to protect our resources — our planet for generations to come — so that our children and their children can live happily ever after. It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we see a little girl holding a flower in her hand. I realize that we all share this sentiment every time the press reacts with irate reports criticizing the extent of pollution in China — or when “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” became part of pop culture with Jack Johnson’s song of the same name (sorry if you have that song playing in your head now). Protecting the environment is the right thing to do. But how many times have you used disposable dishes or cutlery when there were other options that were just less convenient? And why do you do that? It’s easy: Life gets in the way.

As a customer experience (CX) professional, you’ll have noticed the parallels by now. You regularly try to share insights from CX measurement or the voice of the customer (VoC) program with your colleagues across the organization to tell them what important customers think about their experiences with the company and what their pain points are. Using these insights is the right thing to do. But how many times have you met polite but superficial interest? And why is that? Life gets in the way. Your colleagues are busy, don’t know why to care, or have other priorities. It’s no wonder then that 72% of CX pros we asked in our recent survey on the state of CX maturity said that their organizations have only been somewhat or not effective at all in improving customer experience.

I looked at ways that CX pros have managed to rally their organizations around CX metrics and found 10 tactics that companies like Avaya, Elsevier, Hampton Inn & Suites, Sage Software North America, and Verizon have proven to work in the real world.

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