Forrester’s 2011 Customer Experience Predictions

Customer experience transformation efforts don’t happen overnight. It can take years to develop the right customer experience strategy and roll out improvements across interaction points. But the screaming pace of technology innovation over the past year has sparked major changes in customer behavior and expectations. The net result? 2011 will be a pivotal year for the customer experience field.

In our latest report, Ron Rogowski and I outline what these changes mean for customer experience professionals in the year ahead — and what they’ll need to do to keep up. The report includes predictions for the customer experience ecosystem, its impact on organizations, and the resulting implications for customer experience vendors. For example:

  • The complexity of the customer experience ecosystem will mushroom. 2011 will bring major changes in the number of devices consumers have at their disposal as well as the types of interactions they’ll expect on those devices. Forrester expects the number of connected TV sales to double in 2011 — and consumers say they’ll be gobbling up eReaders and tablet computers at the roughly same pace that they’ll purchase new laptops. This will force customer experience professionals to expand — and differentiate — their reach. Despite the growing popularity of mobile and tablet devices, the Web (no, it’s not dead) will continue to be a vital part of the customer experience ecosystem in 2011.
  • More parts of the organization will seek to get into the customer experience game. As customer experience takes a more central role in overall corporate strategy, more departments will take an interest and pursue active involvement. In particular, product management and marketing will both look to start building out experience platforms around core product and service offerings in order to engage customers more deeply across multiple channels. The IT group will support all of these efforts per usual, but operations and HR will also get thrown into the mix as customer experience efforts expand into the redesign of internal business processes and customer-centric hiring, training, and compensation practices.
  • The vendor landscape will get a major shakeup. As firms look for outside help with their customer experience initiatives, we expect customer experience transformation consultants, interactive agencies, and service design agencies to jostle for position. But that won’t compare with the all-out war to own the “customer experience management” space. Given intense client interest in customer experience initiatives, it’s no surprise that technology companies of all shapes and sizes have started to rebrand themselves as customer experience management (CEM) vendors. However, CEM is a strategy supported by an ecosystem of technologies — and a single platform that supplies all CEM needs will never exist. Instead, we expect more of what we saw in 2010: many vendors, each of which supplies a piece of the puzzle, claiming to own it all.

For a complete list of our customer experience predictions for 2011, please see the full report.

Ron and I will be sharing our predictions (including a few that didn’t make it into the report!) during our teleconference on February 1st at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. We hope you can join us.


Great post! We are also

Great post! We are also seeing more and more customers expand their programs beyond a central group such as tech support into marketing, product development and HR. In addition to expanding beyond single department programs, we're seeing a lot more desire to share the results of customer feedback at all levels of the organization- especially with front-line employees to help them see the real results of their efforts. The more that companies share customer experience information across their orgnanization, the more likely they are to make improvements- which benefits all of us as consumers. I'm looking forward to seeing your full report!

thanks for your input!

hi Jodi -- Thanks for sharing this insight.

I've been doing some research on customer-centric organizations, and I'm also seeing more of this company-wide sharing of customer feedback. Let's hope the trend continues!

Performance matters even more

With the major changes in the number of devices consumers have at their disposal that you are projecting, plus an expansion of the types of interactions they’ll expect on those devices, it's incumbent on customer experience folks to work with their techies on the performance of applications and services that they may be delivering to consumers on their smartphones and mobile devices. Unlike the seamless "to the cloud!" world that Microsoft paints in its new (and obnoxious?) TV ads, it's a challenge to maintain optimum customer experience in the cloud, when you no longer have end-to-end visibility across your network and your customers may be using a myriad of different browsers and devices to access your services. I agree with Paul Czarnik, who wrote this week in a blog post titled, “To the Cloud!!!” – Oh, STOP!: "Performance should be your second cloud priority, right behind security. If your cloud application doesn’t perform, your target customers won’t use it." (

--Rob Garretson
Gaithersburg, MD

Great point

Going back to the early days of the Web and even earlier days of software development, customer experience and tech folks have always had to work together. And yes, the growing complexity of the customer experience ecosystem makes this collaboration even more important now. Thanks for your thoughts!