Monday, November 17, 2014

Forrester Research's Customer Experience Forum

Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to attend Forrester Research’s annual Customer Experience Forum in Southern California.  So, I thought I’d take a break from the current series of journey mapping posts to share some take-aways I noted from the 2-day Forum.  Content for this event includes presentations and workshops delivered by Forrester’s staff of CX analysts and consultants, as well as thoughts from guest speakers representing various organizations and providers of CX software solutions.

  • In a guest presentation, General Motors reports that one-third of their customers prefer social care (especially Twitter) as a means of interacting with the company on a service issue.  Given the rapid adoption of social media, I suspect that as soon as the next couple of years, customers across industries will opt for Twitter, or some other social media tool, for post-sales support.  How will contact centers evolve in response? On a related note, Southwest Airlines has recently opened a dedicated Social Listening Center that’s staffed 24/7 to both monitor social communications about the company, as well as respond to customer issues.


  • According to CX software firm, Lithium, 72 percent of the company’s 25 to 34 year old customers who use a social channel to communicate with the company, expect a response within one hour.  Lithium also threw out this interesting tidbit: Over $500 billion is spent annually on various forms of traditional advertising…yet only 14 percent of consumers trust it.


  • If CX is to succeed, it’s critical to “evangelize” the vision and strategy throughout the company on a frequent and regular basis.  Videos, testimonials, success stories, blogs, intranet sites, and executive messaging are but a few of the means leading CX companies are using to spread the word.


  • Dedicated CX departments in many companies position themselves as “consultants” to the other business units in the organization.  These CX staff take the lead in understanding customer expectations and developing full or partial strategies and directions to address these needs, but ultimately, the CX plan is handed off to the operating units…sales, marketing, product development, etc. for the implementation.  At that point, the dedicated CX team shifts to a supporting role by providing advice and assistance throughout the ongoing execution.  


  • Forrester’s research of 17 industries indicates three types of customer loyalty: retention, enrichment, and advocacy.  A customer’s emotion (i.e. disappointment, frustration, happiness, etc.) is the most significant loyalty driver in 12 of the 17 industries.  There are three loyalty drivers that are common across all of the 17 industries studied…they are: make customers feel valued, resolve issues quickly, communicate with customers in plain language.


  • Another finding from Forrester’s research: 66 percent of companies surveyed focus on marketing and acquisition, while only 22 percent have calculated the lifetime values of each of their customers and, as a result, pay more attention to retention than to acquisition.  My observation…this 22 percent are the companies that are walking the CX talk.


  • I was taken aback by this one: Lithium reports that 90 percent of apps are deleted within 30 days of downloading because they don’t meet customer expectations.  And, on a related note, Forrester reports that mobile devices are more than just a convenience…they’ve transformed power from retailers and companies to the customer.


  • Great quote from Adam Pisoni, the founder of Yammer: “If the rate of change going on outside the company exceeds the rate of change going on inside, the end of the organization is near.”  Adam offered this suggestion for those wanting to initiate changes in their company: start small - with like-minded people - on projects that matter.



  • Another entreprenuer’s insights, this one from Siqi Chen, the founder and CEO of the popular journal app, Heyday: when developing a product or service, it’s critical to ask, “what’s the real human need?”  In Amazon’s case, for example, the real human need is not reading a  book.  Rather, the need is to be able to conveniently buy a relatively low-priced form of entertainment or information.  Similarly, the real human need around social media is not about communicating (that can be done one-on-one personally or over the phone)…the real human need is the desire to have social relationships.

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