Q&A With Declan Collier, CEO, London City Airport

I have to admit that I’m a little intimidated at the thought of sharing a stage with Declan Collier, the CEO of London City Airport, at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA on November 19th and 20th in London

For one thing, if you’ve ever been to London City Airport, it’s an experience that’s far superior to what you’ll get at bigger and better-known airports that I won’t name.* So even though I like to think that I know a bit about customer experience, Declan clearly has something special going on.

For another thing, Declan is charming. Taken together, that combination of content and presentation is, well, intimidating for your humble forum host.

In the run-up to the event, Declan took the time to write some great detailed answers to our questions about what he’s been doing, how his efforts have evolved, and what advice he’d give to others on the journey to customer experience maturity.

I hope you enjoy his answers, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London on November 19th and 20th!


 

Q. When did London City Airport first begin focusing on customer experience? Why? 

A. London City Airport (LCY) has been focused on customer experience since its doors opened in 1987 — it’s a niche player, serving the travel needs of the business communities of Canary Wharf and the City and the political establishment of Westminster, and our passengers expect a consistent, best-in-class experience.

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Q&A With Jo Moran, Head Of Customer Service, Marks And Spencer

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?

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Q&A With Clyde Guinn, President, Days Inn Worldwide, Wyndham Hotel Group

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. 

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Q&A With Tony Ezell, Vice President, Chief Customer Officer, Eli Lilly And Company

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.

That’s one reason why I’m so excited that Tony Ezell, the chief customer officer at Eli Lilly, will be speaking at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West in Los Angeles on October 9th and 10th (he’ll be on the first day, right after the opening Forrester keynote by Megan Burns).

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.

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Q&A with Harit Talwar, President, US Cards, Discover Financial Services

We all felt extremely lucky to score Harit Talwar as a speaker for Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West, which is coming up on October 9th and 10th in Los Angeles. Why lucky? It’s for two main reasons.

First, Discover has been a consistently strong performer in our Customer Experience Index, in a virtual dead heat with American Express. Yet Discover’s customer experience story is not nearly as well known as the American Express story, so we’ve been dying to bring it to a Forrester stage.

Second, Harit blew me away in our first forum prep call. Not only does he really get the concept of a customer experience journey, but also he’s been living it. What’s more, he brings results in terms of metrics like customer loyalty scores, wallet share, and J.D. Power scores as proof that what Discover has been doing actually works.

In the run-up to the forum, Harit recently took the time to answer questions about what Discover is doing and why it's doing it. It’s my pleasure to be able to share his answers with you, and I hope to see you in Los Angeles where we’ll all get to meet Harit in person.

Q. When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why? 

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Q&A With Tom Feeney, President And CEO, Safelite AutoGlass

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Tom Feeney speak about customer experience at an event in Boston. I was fascinated by his story of how Safelite went from a company that put shareholders first to one that put employees first. The reasoning behind this move: Highly engaged employees will deliver a great experience, which will improve business performance and ultimately make everyone happy (including shareholders).

As it turns out, that reasoning is correct. From 2006 to 2012, Safelite’s sales grew by high double digits, and its profits grew by triple digits. (I’ll let Tom reveal the actual numbers when he keynotes on the second day of Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals West in Los Angeles on October 9 and 10).

Despite these impressive results, Safelite is now moving into a new phase of its transformation journey. It’s that multipart voyage toward customer experience maturity that makes Tom’s story a perfect match for our event theme, “Boost Your Customer Experience To The Next Level.”

In the run-up to the event, we asked Tom to answer a few questions about what Safelite is doing and how it’s doing it. His answers appear below. I hope you enjoy them, and I also hope to see you in Los Angeles!

Q. When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?

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Creating Audi Fans

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!

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

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

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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