2016: CIOs And CMOs Must Rally To Lead Customer-Obsessed Change Now

Cliff Condon

In the coming weeks Forrester will publish its annual set of predictions for our major roles, industries, and research themes — more than 35 in total. These predictions for 2016 will feature our calls on how firms will execute in the Age of the Customer, a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

In 2016, the gap between customer-obsessed leaders and laggards will widen. Leaders will tackle the hard work of shifting to a customer-obsessed operating model; laggards will aimlessly push forward with flawed digital priorities and disjointed operations. It will require strong leadership to win, and we believe that in 2016 CMOs will step up to lead customer experience efforts. They face a massive challenge: Years of uncoordinated technology adoption across call centers, marketing teams, and product lines make a single view of the customer an expensive and near-impossible endeavor. As a result, in 2016 companies will be limited to fixing their customer journeys.

CMOs will have good partners, though. As they continue to break free of IT gravity and invest in business technology, CIOs will be at their sides. 2016 is the year that a new breed of customer-obsessed CIOs will become the norm. Fast-cycle strategy and governance will be more common throughout technology management and CIOs will push hard on departmental leaders to let go of their confined systems to make room for a simpler, unified, agile portfolio.

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Communication Is Key For Any Relationship

Tom McCann

This is a guest post by Erna Esa, a Research Associate on the Customer Experience team based in Sydney.

In the movie Love Actually, the chemistry between an Englishman (played by the very dashing Colin Firth) and a Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcia Moniz) was evident — but not having the tools to communicate in each other’s language left the pair feeling frustrated and annoyed.

Employees experience a similar type of frustration when they are not offered the opportunity to contribute to the conversations companies have about their customers. How do we know this? Well, we have found that 70% of information workers say that their job requires them to engage with or understand their customers but fewer than 40% of organizations in Australia and New Zealand systematically capture input from their employees about those interactions. That leaves a lot of employees who interact with customers and have knowledge of their company’s customer experience ecosystem without a structured, systematic way of telling their organization what they are seeing and hearing — and that’s frustrating.

Successful voice of the employee (VoE) programs have the potential to transform your organization into one in which talented, dedicated individuals strive to build a career. In many cases, these programs are inexpensive to set up and maintain, yet deliver considerable benefits when implemented across the entire organization. Forrester clients can read about these benefits in our latest report, Engage Employees To Nail The Customer Experience.

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Can Content Really Drive Commerce?

Sucharita  Mulpuru

In a recent Forrester-Shop.org study, we found that 70% of online retailers are investing in “content” in the coming year. What sort of content you may ask. Usually when they say “content” retailers mean videos, blog posts and magazine-like content that is best for consumers at the top of the shopping funnel. This type of content though is notoriously difficult to monetize though.  A number of companies like Babycenter in the late 1990s were the first wave of content-driving-commerce digital players to try this.  They quickly realized it was not only difficult to do but that top-of-the-funnel content was easier monetized through advertising.

But we’re in a different era now and that’s kicked up the possibility of new success from content.  We now have ubiquitous mobile devices with web connectivity, social networks like Pinterest and Instagram that thrive on content, and the disruption of the entire content industry (RIP, Lucky Magazine which was one of the hottest media properties in 1999).

But are things really that different now?  For all its attempts to drive commerce, even fashion darling Refinery29 could never make shopping happen.  One of the more recent torchbearers of content-commerce synergies, Thrillist-JackThreads, decided the businesses are better split apart than together.  

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Netflix Claims Earnings Are Down As Many Subscribers Cards on File Do Not Get Updated

Brendan Miller

On Thursday Netflix blamed card processing issues for disappointing subscriber growth. Netflix said the move by U.S. banks to replace hundreds of millions of credit and debit cards with new EMV chip-enabled cards this year has led to involuntary service cancellations as subscibers cards did not automatically renew when the new cards were issued.   It is estimated that 575 million new EMV chip cards are being issued to consumers in 2015*. Many of these new cards require updated account information to be collected by subscription or recurring businesses servicing the affected cardholders.  Although the cardholder’s account number may not change with the new card, the CVV and expiration date of the card most likely will change.

Do subscription type businesses that use Card-On-File need to be concerned they will also see increased declines?

Recurring and subscription billing merchants should be using Account Updater Services (as Netflix does) for updating new payment credentials. Over the past decade, the major card brands have introduced Account Updater services that allow merchants, via their processors, to submit card data on file to the networks for updating and correcting stale information. By utilizing these services merchants retain more customers and their customers enjoy uninterrupted service. Many payment platforms are now supporting this feature as a managed service to reduce the burden on the merchant of transmitting Card on file information to the processor.

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Find Out And Remember Who Your Buyers Are At Each Stage

Peter O'Neill

Last month, I enjoyed working with my colleague TJ Keitt as he prepared his report “B2B CX Professionals: Find The Full Range Of B2B Customers”, now published for customer experience professionals who are Forrester clients. As he writes, “Despite the clear benefits of improving B2B customer experience, there's a hitch: Before B2B CX professionals can help their customers, they have to identify them. But at most of the B2B firms we spoke to, it’s hard for CX professionals to locate and engage customers other than the complex groups of decision-makers with whom sales personnel interact in client organizations.”

An interesting point. It is definitely difficult to identify all the CX touchpoints between businesses when striving to optimize the customer experience, because the B2B interaction is long and complex:

  1. Successful B2B marketing causes (or overlaps with) sales interactions . . .
  2.  . . . initiating contacts with order processing, legal, shipping, and receiving . . .
  3. . . . leading to exchanges with accounts payable, service, and support . . .
  4. . . . and so on (hopefully to advocacy and retention).
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The Race For Mobile Payments Is Heating Up In Southeast Asia

Zhi-Ying Ng

My recently published report, “The Mobile Payment Opportunity In Southeast Asia,” finds that mobile payments are hot in Southeast Asia, with online and mobile-based purchases already exceeding tens of billions of dollars. Venture capital firms are also investing close to $75 million in mobile payments, drawn by a combination of factors including a booming digital content market, increase in online and mobile commerce and favorable government policies.

Well aware of the mobile payment opportunity, banks are scrambling to build their own mobile payment systems. But it’s not just financial institutions that are competing against each other to provide the best mobile payment services to their customers. Surging smartphone penetration in the region has created revenue opportunities for mobile operators, credit card networks and financial technology startups, all of which are also rapidly ramping up their mobile payment capabilities to stay competitive.

The brutal reality is that there is a high risk some of the banks’ mobile payment systems will fail. How then can banks ensure the success of their mobile payment systems?

eBusiness professionals need to keep up with the shifting landscape by understanding the market trends, usage scenarios, and local mobile payment options available to consumers. We recommend that banks incorporate three market dynamics into their mobile payment strategies:

  • User scenario for mobile payments varies across Southeast Asia. P2P payment growth in emerging markets differs from developed markets. We expect remittances to continue to spur P2P payment growth in emerging markets, and P2P payments will continue to account for a small share of transactions in developed markets.
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The Data Digest: Window Shopping: Now A Popular Activity On Tablets

Nicole Dvorak

If you’ve noticed fewer window shoppers on the streets lately, it may be because they’re at home window shopping from their couches; that is, they’re discovering and exploring products without necessarily intending to purchase.

For our 2015 US Mobile Landscape report*, Forrester analyzed mobile audience data from our behavioral tracking panel to understand how consumers use smartphones and tablets in 2015. We found that although professionals often group both devices under the “mobile” umbrella, consumers use smartphones and tablets in very different ways. One notable difference centers on mobile commerce: While smartphone commerce is still struggling to get traction, for tablets it’s already one of the most common activities. In fact, Forrester’s US Mobile Phone And Tablet Commerce Forecast, 2015 To 2020 shows that total tablet retail purchases more than double those made on a smartphone.

Our behavioral data shows that in the first half of 2015, 68% of tablet owners visited a shopping site at least once in a given month — that’s more than the number who visited news/media, TV/video, or even social networking sites! And these tablet shoppers aren’t just visiting Amazon.com. Only about half took to Amazon —the other half visited other online shopping websites that fit their interests, brand preferences, and lifestyle.

 

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Differentiate Your Customer Experience with "Signature Moments"

Ryan Hart

Every March, children run around, eagerly filling baskets with Easter eggs. The eggs come in all sorts of colors and sizes, some hard to find, some more easily discovered.  The ritual continues every year with the Easter Bunny (or parents in rarer cases) hiding eggs to impart joy and wonder in innocent children.

One can analogize that smart companies have taken over the role of the Easter bunny, trying to bring joy and delight to customers, not children.

While the holistic brand experience, or Easter egg hunt, looks at the sum of these interactions – each interaction can be broken down further into a series of microinteractions.  These small-scale opportunities, when carefully tied back to the brand, give birth to what Forrester calls ‘Signature Moments’ - which we define as: 

Memorably crafted and branded microinteractions that deliver delight and value to customers in an often subtle yet, recognizable way.

In my report, Differentiate your Customer Experiences with Signature Moments, I describe the ‘what, how, and where’ of Signature Moments, provide examples, and look at how they can be carefully designed and infused into broader customer journeys to delight, differentiate and ultimately resonate with local customers.

During ideation of these moments, take stock of the following:

■   Is it sufficiently differentiating?Assess whether the proposed microinteraction is like a literal signature, unique only to your company and not easily replicated by others in the market.

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The Transition to EMV Presents New Opportunities for Mobile Payments

Brendan Miller
Merchant EMV hardware and software upgrades at the POS pave the road for additional contactless mobile payment transactions. Most new EMV POS hardware equipment also comes Near Field Communications (NFC) ready.  In timely fashion many new mobile payments types are hitting the market (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal) to take advantage of the new NFC/EMV payment acceptance hardware being installed in merchant locations.  This creates a new opportunity for both in-store and eCommerce merchants if leveraged appropriately.   
 
Tapping and paying with a mobile device removes the EMV experience friction points.   Tapping and paying with a mobile device is just as frictionless as swiping a card through a mag-stripe terminal. Consumers will find the NFC transaction more convenient than an EMV card transaction, which requires dipping it in an EMV terminal, waiting for it to read the card, remembering a PIN and then pulling it out of the reader.  Consumers will likely gravitate to the NFC simpler transaction process and become more habituated to using their mobile device to pay in-store.  Furthermore, as mobile payment providers move toward digitizing consumer loyalty credentials in-app will also help reduce additional check-out friction points.   
 
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Does The New Facebook Reactions Get A ‘Like’?

Erna Alfred Liousas

This week Facebook released “Reactions” for two pilot markets: Ireland and Spain. The new reactions available for posts? Love, haha, yay, wow, sad, and angry.

Myself and Forrester analysts Jennifer Wise, Samantha Ngo, Brigitte Majewski across mobile, social, and advertising pow-wowed on this new addition.  Here are our thoughts: 
 
  • Facebook wins from this move. Hello new and granular consumer data. Facebook can continue to optimize its own news feed experience, and grow monetization of its data with improved audience profiles and targeting for ads – on its site, and everywhere else.  
  • Brands may get better sentiment data... Marketers need to go beyond counting likes, so what about counting “angries” vs. “yays” instead? Counts can suddenly mean positive or negative sentiment. Funneling these sentiments into consumer insights can help 1) inform ad targeting with refined consumer preferences and affinities, 2) test emotional story arcs, and 3) fuel retargeting. A clothing retailer could target consumers who react “wow” to dress posts. But the big “if” is: will Brands own Reaction data? We’re hoping yes. 
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