In 2014, TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) engaged Forrester Consulting to help assess its activities around customer experience and build a road map for its burgeoning customer experience program. TSIC is an international provider of telecommunication services with headquarters in Stockholm and offices in 14 other countries. It has grown from being the largest IP network in Europe to one of the top two global carriers powered by the Internet backbone, as ranked by Internet performance analysts DYN.
I had a chance to sit down with Simon Dodsworth (SD), VP of voice and mobile; Rickard Bäcklin (RB), VP of brand and marketing; and Linda Bennet-Jansson (LBJ), CX manager, to discuss their relatively young customer experience (CX) program.
What is the mandate for the CX program at TSIC?
RB: It’s an important part of a longer journey. Back in 2011, we initiated a bold transformation project within TSIC. To redefine customer demands in the wholesale space, we looked beyond the internal club of network people, focusing on the future end users and the demands they would put on us in the carrier industry.
A few years back, FedEx learned that "the leaning tower of packages" at its retail locations was making many customers uneasy. Store employees would take a customer's package and place it on the messy pile. Based on that simple visual cue, these customers worried that their package might very well get lost in their seemingly haphazard shipping process. FedEx had run into a problem that plagues many companies, and that is the subject of my latest report, co-written with Tony Costa: CX Pros Are Blind to the Line of Visibility.
Most companies don't understand all of the complex interdependencies that shape their customer experience outcomes. Forrester surveyed CX professionals last year and found that while nearly two-thirds of them use customer journey maps to understand their customer experience, only one in five maps the CX ecosystem. So most CX pros do not understand how employees, business processes, technology systems, partners, and the operating environment come together to enable their customer experience.
And to make matters worse, this lack of understanding blinds them to what elements in their experience are visible or invisible to customers as they interact with the brand. This lack of visibility can lead to problems such as companies unintentionally exposing undesirable ecosystem elements to customers, hiding elements that could add value, or corrupting the experience through counterproductive policies and processes.
Hundreds if not thousands of leading corporations have created chief customer officer (CCO) positions in recent years to help them become more customer-centric. Now US federal government agencies are toying with the idea of adding CCO positions and four have already taken the plunge. In my first Forrester podcast, I spoke with hosts Sam Stern and Deanna Laufer about how federal CCOs can help achieve their agencies' missions and dispeled common objections to creating federal CCO positions. For more of my federal CCO research, check out my Executive Q&A: Federal Chief Customer Officers report on forrester.com or my blog post on the subjectRead more
That's right, Forrester's Customer Experience team is jumping on the podcasting bandwagon and launching a weekly CX podcast! Each week me and my cohost, Senior Analyst Sam Stern, will be speaking with an analyst from our team about their hot-off-the-press research or discussing relevant CX topics in the news. We'll package these up in easily digestible 10 to 20 minute episodes and best of all, these podcasts are available to everyone.
In our first episode, Sam interviews me about how to build a shared customer experience vision. You can listen below, but we recommend you subscribe on iTunes or through your favorite iPhone podcasting app by searching for "Forrester's CX Cast" so you never miss an episode. If you need help accessing or subscribing to the podcast, please contact our producer Curt Nichols at email@example.com.
Do you understand your company's vision for the customer experience (CX) it wants to deliver? How many of your colleagues do? If you're a CX professional, how many colleagues have you shared your company's vision with?
My guess is not many, and I confess, it's not really a guess — I have data that shows few CX pros regularly share their CX visions/strategies with all employees, and even fewer do so in a consistent way.
And that’s a shame, because great customer experiences are built on solid strategies executed by people sharing a common vision. In other words, a CX strategy must see light to be actionable. Only then can it direct the activities and decision-making of managers and employees. In my recent research, I found successful strategy communication requires a four-phase approach:
Inspire a sense of purpose. Spare the 50-page strategy manifestos and instead share a simple illustration, video, or set of promises that captures the essence of the CX vision and draws employees in. UK airline easyJet created a one-page customer charter that described the new easyJet flying promise to customers in plain language. Its CX team developed icons to represent each of the five promises and then enlisted its customer champions to act out life-size versions of the icons for photos and video, which it plans to share internally and externally.
My colleague, Samantha Jaddou, who’s an analyst on the CX team covering the China market, is working on a report about the customer feedback management (CFM) vendor landscape in China. This report will better help Forrester clients, particularly companies that operate in China, understand to whom they should turn to satisfy CFM needs. She is in the middle of fielding a survey, which will be the research foundation for this report.
If your firm is interested in being included in this study to show your product and service capabilities in China in the CFM space, please consider one or both of the following:
Last week, many of our customer experience (CX) analysts — including me and my colleague Maxie Schmidt — were glued to their computer screens, watching a presentation by a big bank. It had introduced a tool to capture and manage ideas from its employees on how to improve the customer experience. This presentation mattered to us because only 25% of CX professionals say their companies’ CX programs actually improve customer experience. Those who fail lack insight into the root causes of poor CX. And those root causes lie in the customer experience ecosystem. So while many companies have programs in place to mine voice of the customer, customer feedback alone is insufficient to get at root causes of bad CX because it penetrates only the top layers of the ecosystem.
This is why companies need to add voice of the employee. Think of your colleagues throughout the organization as canaries in coal mines. They can warn of potential experience issues before customers notice them, alert you to processes, policies, and technology systems that prevent them from providing a good customer experience, help understand how product-related activities that are behind the scenes — like pricing — affect customers, and highlight how the workplace culture affects employees' motivations and abilities to deliver the intended experience. Voice of your employees (VoE) is:
“Any feedback from employees or partners that pertains to their ability to deliver great customer experiences.”
Last week, many of our customer experience (CX) analysts — including me and my colleague Sam Stern—were glued to their computer screens, watching a presentation by a big bank. It had introduced a tool to capture and manage ideas from its employees on how to improve the customer experience. This presentation mattered to us because only 25% of CX professionals say their companies’ CX programs actually improve customer experience. Those who fail lack insight into the root causes of poor CX. And those root causes lie in the customer experience ecosystem. So while many companies have programs in place to mine voice of the customer, customer feedback alone is insufficient to get at root causes of bad CX because it penetrates only the top layers of the ecosystem.
Aware. Fundamentally, social analytics surface information and people an information worker had not considered before. Giving employees a broader perspective will help them do things like staff a fast-moving consulting project.
Companies with customer-obsessed cultures — think USAA or Southwest Airlines — differentiate themselves in their industries and earn major financial benefits as a result. But customer-obsessed cultures don't just happen: To help transform a culture, customer experience professionals must develop a training and coaching curriculum that touches all employees.
In my recent report, "The Customer Experience Curriculum," I write about how companies must identify the key constituencies in the organization, determine how they can best contribute to delivering the intended experience, and then design training and coaching that reinforce those contributions. CX professionals — in partnership with their learning and development colleagues — should:
Create training for CX professionals that provides breadth plus selective depth. To drive customer experience initiatives across the organization, all CX team members need a working knowledge of customer experience concepts plus core skills like customer journey mapping. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) worked with an external partner to train its client experience team in customer journey mapping and customer ecosystem mapping. Team members now apply these skills to diagnose CX problems and improve common customer journeys. They even train other parts of the organization, like claims and customer service, to map customer journeys.