Transforming Your Organization Into A Customer Experience Powerhouse

Keith Coe
Not surprisingly, most executives whom Forrester surveys want their organizations to deliver a better customer experience and to become more customer-centric. But few organizations are achieving this aspiration: 84% of brands in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) got scores of “OK” or worse by customers.
 
Stakes in the race for customer experience excellence are high: Each year, billions of dollars in revenues are in play, to be won or lost due to customer experience. Many organizations are at risk of losing customers and revenues to competitors and digital disruptors that can provide a better customer experience and respond more nimbly to changing customer needs.
 
Executives often ask Forrester how to deliver a better customer experience. I’ve summarized their most common questions and the answers that we base on our consulting work and research:
 
Q: What do you mean by “customer experience”? 
 
A: Forrester defines customer experience broadly: It’s how customers perceive their interactions with an organization. These interactions range from their overall relationship to specific customer journeys and touchpoints, both digital and nondigital.  
 
Q: Why does customer experience matter?  How does it affect financial results?
 
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Calling All CX Pros: An Opportunity To Get Data And Participate In Forrester’s Research

Sam Stern

Everyone I talk to has internalized the importance of improving customer experience delivery in the age of the customer. But in today’s hypercompetitive business landscape, and with ever-rising consumer expectations, actually delivering better experiences is a tall order. To help understand how companies are tackling this challenge, we’re conducting research on how some of the world’s smartest, busiest people are leading customer experience initiatives in their organizations.

Does that sound like you? If so, I invite you to fill out the Forrester Customer Experience Programs Survey.

We took great effort to create a survey that is frictionless and enjoyable that you should be able to move through quickly. And as a thank you, we’ll send you the survey results when they’re ready. In other words, for a small contribution of your time and insight, you’ll get a rich set of data on how your peers are tackling key CX challenges.

Key details are:

  • Survey open: April 19th - May 6th. But don’t delay, the survey will take about 10 to 12 minutes of your time to complete. Why not take it today?
  • Survey length. The survey has about 30 questions.
  • Topics covered. We cover CX team size, skills, responsibilities, budgets, and reporting structure.
  • Related research. We plan to use the data in a series of reports about CX teams, their roles, responsibilities, and budgets. We will also use it in research about how CX pros foster more customer-centric cultures, work with colleagues, and work with partners across their CX ecosystems to deliver better experiences.
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Design A Customer Feedback Strategy That Doesn’t Annoy Customers

Kara Hoisington

Asking customers for feedback is one of the most direct ways to understand their experiences and needs across touchpoints. However, we’ve all experienced an organization’s attempt to execute this . . . usually poorly.

Surveys are too long. Callbacks are interruptive. What are they going to do with my feedback anyway?

Combatting these types of complaints is core to recent conversations with organizations who are establishing voice of the customer (VoC) programs. Some questions include: How do you ensure you are engaging with customers at the right time in the right channels, what is the main metric you are asking to ensure consistent data collection, and what is the best way to ask the question to encourage participation?

Recently I used Forrester's internal collaboration platform — Chatter — to collect stories about when colleagues were asked for feedback. I received a litany of the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer feedback designs. Below are the main takeaways from my internal and external conversations along with examples to consider as you think about the best way to collect information from your customers.

1. Make It Easy

Uber and a local food delivery service Peach make it easy to give direct feedback on a specific experience. They provide visual cues to remind customers what they are giving feedback on and a simple mechanism for providing it (a star rating). There are various ways of executing, including emojis (think Facebook’s recent updates) and scales (e.g., 1 to 5, 1 to 10). Any of these tactics work, as long as they align with your brand and are asked consistently across touchpoints. Both of these examples also provide an opportunity to give more feedback afterward to provide context to the rating.

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Simplifying the Seller's Journey -- Real World Sales Enablement Experts Weigh In

Steven Wright

In this, the age of the customer, the value of simplifying the customer’s journey seems abundantly clear. But what is sometimes left in its shadow – especially as B2B marketers work to better align sales and marketing efforts – is how to simplify the seller’s journey.

For the new report, “Simplifying the Seller’s Journey,” I spoke with sales enablement practitioners at various companies, with from ten  to thousands of sellers, to investigate  how they are simplifying the seller journey – including using various sales enablement automation solutions.

Their experiences point to some key points to consider when planning on how to implement seller-focused projects for content management, training, engagement tracking and more:

  • Know your sellers: The more you understand a day in their life and where you can remove obstacles the better.
  • Understand how sellers – not just prospects – engage with content: This will help not only  marketers  to better target content, but sales  managers will be able to  better coaching their teams.
  • Improved efficiency opens the door to effectiveness: B2B marketers can then  measure how effective content and related sales actions can produce faster and larger sales.

That’s just the beginning – implementing solutions that are flexible and transparent so that they easily integrate with e-mail and your CRM helps ensure rapid adoption as well as rapid response to changes in your environment.

Continuously curious –

Steven

The Magic of Disney's Brand Promise

Melissa Parrish

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Disney World for what's recently become an annual trip. I've always been a fan-- I spent most of my childhood in South Florida which means I was either going to love everything Disney or develop a deep aversion to it-- which makes it as nostalgic a vacation choice as it is a "magical" one.

If you're a Forrester client, you've seen Disney mentioned in research and speeches many times-- and for good reason. They're frequently on the forefront of innovation across the company, its products and brand extensions, all of which contributes to making it one of the country's most admired companies. As a consumer, these annual vacations give me a tangible glimpse into both the constant iterations of their digital commitment and the consistency with which they embrace and apply their brand promise. On the other hand, the experience also reveals just how difficult it can be maintain such a high standard once a brand has established it.

Here's what stood out this trip:

Disney continues to demonstrate its brand promise-- "magical" experiences abound

All of us marketing analysts at Forrester talk about the importance of demonstrating and delivering your brand promise, not just communicating it. And if you're joining us atMarketing 2016 next week, you'll hear this emphasized many times. Disney never fails to impress me on this front. For example:

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Where Will Disruption Happen Next In Financial Services?

Zhi-Ying Ng

Digital disruption has hit retail financial services in Asia Pacific (AP). In 2014, fintech investments in AP totaled US$880 million and skyrocketed to a staggering US$4.5 billion last year. Just as payments innovation has been a darling of venture capital investors in the US, the picture is not so different in AP as payments took the largest share of fintech investment deals at 40%. This is followed by lending at 25%. However, the next frontier of disruption doesn't lie in payments and lending. FF16, AP's first fintech competition, featured an array of fintech finalists offering a wide array of capabilities that signal what is to come in digital disruption in financial services.

We observe that the next frontier of digital disruption for the financial services sector will take place in investment, security and authentication as:

  • Data access, predictive analytics, and machine learning drive investment innovation. Exploding volumes of data are driving new, disruptive products and services in retail financial services. While predictive analytics isn't new, it has now entered the mass market, becoming more ubiquitous to retial investors. Smaller, nimbler players such as 8 Securities are now using algorithms to help customers derive insights from data, making predictive analytics more affordable and accessible. There are also B2B fintech companies such as BondIT and ShereIT that help financial advisors and brokers maximize their clients' portfolios. 
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6 Reasons BuzzFeed's Revenue Miss Is OMG!

Ryan Skinner

BuzzFeed's supposed to be the media company that holds the answer to the media business's future in a post-banner world. While the media world is dying, BuzzFeed's been hiring, growing to new markets, winning new investment on high valuations and projecting hockey stick sales growth.

But worrying signals that BuzzFeed was struggling were confirmed in an article by Financial Times, which cited a miss on 2015's revenue target and a halving of 2016's target. To this, BuzzFeed's chairman said "There's nothing cratering in the industry. It's better than ever." Meanwhile, he offered no evidence to the contrary, reminding this analyst of:

 Counter to Lerer's assurances and in line with FT's findings, there are some pretty good reasons BuzzFeed may be missing its numbers. I'll present them in true BuzzFeed listicle style (all gifs credited to giphy.com). Here goes:

1) BuzzFeed's tried to position itself and its expected revenue as a software play, but it's just....not.

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A Practical Approach To B2B Buyer Journey Mapping

Steven Casey

After a conversation with my colleague Lori Wizdo the other day about buyer journey mapping, she followed up by sharing the following cartoon – which I thought was perfect:

Perfect because it captured both our perspectives on the topic: Lori’s that buyer journeys are by their very nature hypothetical; and mine that you can never anticipate every buyer’s possible path to purchase.

This is not to say that buyer journey mapping is a futile exercise – or that the way to deal with its limitations is to ensure that your customers stay on the paths you’ve laid out for them, as appealing (and humorously absurd) as that reaction may be for all marketers.

As Lori pointed out in a recent blog post, you need to understand your buyer’s typical path to purchase to build an effective omnichannel marketing strategy that successfully engages with buyers at the right time with the right content through the right channel.

But be realistic in your goals and recognize that you will never be able to anticipate every possible buyer journey. When large companies with a wide range of solutions are documenting dozens, if not hundreds, of discrete paths to purchase, it’s too easy to get lost in the process and proceed well past the point of diminishing returns. 

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Facebook F8: Important Takeaways For Digital Business Pros (Hint: Keep Calm About Bots!)

Julie Ask

Facebook held its annual developer conference in San Francisco this week. Analysts at Forrester collectively fielded a lot of questions from the media, but most of them focused on bots and the Messenger platform. Here are my top takeaways from the event:

  1. It's still early days for developer tools: Facebook approached F8 with a humble, honest tone and message about the state of its applications, platforms and tools for developers. Facebook didn't over promise. Every executive on the main stage to the breakouts in the "Hacker X" and "Hacker Y" pavilions offered an honest portrayal of where Facebook is today. Where is it? Facebook holds a very strong position in terms of total minutes of use and monthly active users across its various apps and platforms (e.g., Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Oculus, etc.), but they are just beginning to offer tools to developers. Developers of mobile apps want to borrow mobile moments on Facebook's apps/platforms because they don't own enough mobile moments themselves. Facebook is just in the earliest of stages of giving tools to these developers to help them borrow mobile moments effectively.
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Do You Have The Tools To Make Your Customer Experience Ecosystem Work?

TJ Keitt

A high-quality customer experience is the result of interactions between people in a network, which Forrester calls a customer experience (CX) ecosystem. As followers of this blog know, what holds that ecosystem together are value exchanges facilitated by an open, collaborative business culture. My colleague Sam Stern laid out how businesses define workers' roles and create engagement within this ecosystem. And in January, we published a report explaining the advantage businesses with collaborative CX ecosystems have. But we still have one outstanding question: How do companies enable the free-flowing knowledge and information sharing that make CX ecosystems valuable and successful?

Our new report, "How To Spur Collaboration Across Your Customer Experience Ecosystem," grapples with the enablement question from a technology standpoint. Why focus on technology? The people who constitute a CX ecosystems are never entirely colocated, yet they must share and discuss business artifacts (e.g., marketing collateral, contracts, designs) in order to make decisions that affect customers' experience. This problem requires a technical solution.

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