How Zappos Brought Me Back To Forrester

In 2008, after nearly four years as an analyst on Forrester’s Customer Experience team, I left to explore the world of the Mad Men. I led the interaction design team at a top-20 advertising agency in Boston and, after a move to San Francisco, advised marketing agencies on things like their corporate strategies and go-to-marketing messaging.

While it was an exciting time for me, I kept coming back to a belief that I’ve held for years: A great customer experience is truly the best marketing.

And then I read Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, the story of Zappos’ rise to one of the best-known (and, some could argue, most successful) customer-centric companies. I devoured the entire book, cover to cover, on a flight from JFK to SFO. I dog-eared pages and highlighted passages. I even ignored a really great in-flight episode of 30 Rock in order to keep reading. And as we pulled into the gate in San Francisco, I realized that I needed to return to my passion: customer experience. Ultimately, what really makes me happy is helping companies make their customers happy.

And so here I am. (Thanks, Tony!)

I’m thrilled to be back on Harley’s team and doing a job I love. Here are the types of things I’ll be exploring through my research:

  • Customer experience design. You may have read my 2007 report, “Desirable Online Experiences: Taking Web Sites Beyond Useful And Usable,” which looked at how companies were using the Web to connect with people in a more emotional and personal way. Now I’m taking that research to the enterprise. What do engaging, end-to-end customer experiences look and feel like? And what does it take for companies to create these experiences across touch points as diverse as the Web, physical store, and call center?
  • Customer experience organizations. My 2006 report, “The People Who Make Great Web Sites,” uncovered the skills, structure, and budgets of some of the day’s most effective Web organizations. Now I’m updating that research with a focus on enterprise customer experience organizations. What do these org structures look like, who’s on the team, and how do they make decisions that potentially impact the entire company?

Along the way, these two coverage areas will intersect with each other (what implications does the design of a new service have on organizational operations?) and with other topics like customer experience strategy and corporate culture. And yes, I may even have a thing or two to say about marketing.

Please reach out anytime if you have a question or just want to say hello!



Kerry - Congrats on coming back "home." I'm sure we'll continue to benefit from your research and I'm really psyched for you!

Hope all is well at Hill!

Thanks, Mike! I'm so happy to be back. I hope everything is going well for you and your team. Please say hello to Johnny and Neha for me. :)

Welcome Kerry!

I share your passion for Tony's book - Loved it!

We are new Forrester clients, and we are focused heavily on guidance from Forrester about all things related to customer experience. I will be interested to read what you have to see re: 'Customer experience design. What do engaging, end-to-end customer experiences look and feel like? And what does it take for companies to create these experiences across touch points as diverse as the Web, physical store, and call center?'

Our technology helps organizations execute multichannel customer experiences, from personalizing the experience on the web, to making a check out at a kiosk relevant, to empowering the call center reps to make the very best recommendations.

We'll be in touch to schedule an inquiry. Welcome back

Jenn Vonhagen, CMO
Swyft Technology

Looking forward to talking!

Thanks, Jenn. I'm looking forward to learning more about your company and hearing how I can help! Talk soon.

Ah, this helps my addled

Ah, this helps my addled brain. It was early in the year (?) that I ran into you and your husband at a party in SF and was pretty sure you weren't at Forrester then but HAD been so finding your blog here again confused me! Now I know what happened. Congrats to you and Forrester for the transparency; that demonstrates a lot of confidence!


Believe it or not, our CEO actually gives boomerangs to people who leave and come back! :) Glad we didn't make your head explode.

And yes, it was at Dan's 40th where we ran into each other. Hope to see you again sometime soon!