Location Technologies Show A Path To Improved Customer Experiences

Tony Costa

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.
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Want To See Forrester At SXSW? Vote Now!

Kerry Bodine

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!

Branded Customer Experience: The Path To Profits: Kerry Bodine

Wearables: The New Marketers' Challenge: Sarah Rotman Epps (panelist)

The Mobile Mind Shift: Josh Bernoff, Julie Ask

Context: Rescuing Us From Privacy's Dark Age: Fatemeh Khatibloo

Digital Disruption Will Make Everyone A Developer: James McQuivey

You Don’t Know Jack: Personalization & Big Data: Cory Munchbach

‘Paid, Owned, Earned’ Is Dead. What's Next?: Nate Elliott

From Every Screen to No-Screen: Next Gen Responsive: Sarah Rotman Epps (panelist)

The Magic Behind A Well Designed Mobile Experience

John Dalton

Recently I witnessed a bit of design magic.

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.

Voilà. 

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.

My colleague Tony Costa has been writing about these “post PC” experiences, and he’ll be speaking about this topic at both our Los Angeles and London CX Forums. He describes these emerging interactions as:

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The Perils Of Free

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

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.

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Harness Interest In Employee Engagement To Improve Customer Experience

Sam Stern
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
 
In my new report, Sharpen Customer Experience Focus With Employee Engagement, I show how companies can improve employee engagement in ways that also deliver better customer experiences. I found that companies who are succeeding follow a few crucial practices: 
  • 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. 
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7 Ways to Engage Third-Party Providers For A Unified Customer Experience

Paul Hagen

Firms must actively engage external vendors and third-party partners to deliver a unified customer experience (CX). Why? Because partners across the supply chain influence the quality of customer interactions. Sometimes these partners are the face of your company on the front lines in the form of agents, dealerships, value-added-resellers (VARS), distributors, and outsourced call center reps or technicians. Alternatively, they might act behind-the-scenes in the case of suppliers, outsourced credit or risk services, or billing and invoicing vendors. These 3rd parties are a critical component of what Forrester calls the customer experience ecosystem:  the complex, interdependent set of relationships and interactions between customers, employees, and partners that determine the quality of every customer experience.

Failing to engage partners not only degrades customer experiences, it costs companies money. Here are a few examples:

  • Supply chain issues that plagued Google around its Nexus devices through this past holiday season left countless customers empty handed, undermining sales numbers. It also resulted in the UK managing director at Google to issue a personal apology to British customers and offer a refund for shipping to those who were able to purchase a device.
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Creating Audi Fans

Harley Manning

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.

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Join Us At Customer Experience Forum West In Los Angeles, October 9 & 10, 2013!

Harley Manning

It feels as if this summer is flying by. Although it seems like yesterday when we put on Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum East in New York City, it was actually back in June. And now, our Forum For Customer Experience Professionals WEST in Los Angeles  is just eight weeks away.

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. 

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Customer Experience Meets Business Technology In Forrester’s New Podcasts

Harley Manning

Like it or not, the success of your customer experience initiatives depends on business technology.  

That’s because the quality of customer interactions with your brand results from a complex system of interdependent people, processes, policies, and technology that we call the “customer experience ecosystem.” And just like a natural ecosystem, when your CX ecosystem gets out of balance, every part of it suffers — especially your customers.

An increasing number of CIOs, enterprise architects, and application developers get this. That surprises many of the marketers and other business people I talk to on a regular basis. But it shouldn’t: Business technology leaders are ideally placed to see the connective technology tissue needed to create a standout omnichannel customer experience.

To help shed insight into the complex interplay of customer experience and business technology, I recently sat down with Stephen Powers, Forrester vice president and research director serving application development and delivery professionals, to record a podcast. You can hear it in its entirety below (episode 1) or choose topic-sized cuts (episodes 2, 3, and 4).

You can also download the podcasts through iTunes and subscribe to Forrester's podcast series

And if you want to learn more about how to define, implement, and manage customer experience, just follow this link to our website dedicated to customer experience, Why Customer Experience? Why Now?

Enjoy!

Episode 1 (Note: This is the full episode; the other three are shorter cuts of the same conversation.)

Title: Building A Better Customer Experience

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The Discipline Of Delighting Clients At Vanguard

Harley Manning

Attendees at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East in New York saw some great speakers, including Jamie Moldafsky, chief marketing officer at Wells Fargo, John Vanderslice, the global head of luxury and lifestyle brands at Hilton, and Graham Atkinson, the chief marketing officer and chief customer officer at Walgreen.

Interestingly, the speaker with the highest audience rating was Paul Heller, managing director of the retail investor group at Vanguard. Paul spoke about how the firm creates customer loyalty by providing low-cost mutual funds that deliver long-term outperformance, combined with quality service and investor advocacy. At the center of this virtuous cycle: highly engaged employees.

How does Vanguard manage to create a culture that engages employees around providing a great client experience? In this video excerpt of Paul’s speech, he shares the secret: start with “why.”

If you're interested in seeing more great speakers like Paul, check out our upcoming Forums For Customer Experience Professionals in Los Angeles in October and London in November.

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