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Anna Papachristos | August 26, 2015
Pepsi and Coca-Cola are notorious for their polarizing effect on the general public, as consumers typically love one and despise the other. However, this summer, both brands moved beyond the taste bud battle, instead competing for fans through promotions designed to enhance perception and loyalty. By embracing the fun-loving spirit of the season, both brands aimed to increase engagement during the time when consumers were most likely to seek cold refreshments. But which brand saw the greatest success? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 25, 2015
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "The Rise of the Customer-Centric CIO" and the role that IT leaders are playing in helping organizations to differentiate the customer experience. In many organizations, the role of the CIO has evolved in recent years from reactive order taker to proactive business partner in helping business leaders to recognize and act on opportunities to leverage technology, people, and processes in new ways, thanks to their unique view of various functions and business Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 19, 2015
Personalization has become one of those buzzwords you can't escape. Yet, while brands often regard this term as an integral 'tactic' that's now instrumental in elevating the customer experience, they frequently lose sight of its core meaning. Many marketers become fixated on the process, not the person, therefore missing the opportunity to genuinely engage and interact with their target audience. Read more »
Judith Aquino | August 13, 2015
It's often the details that elevate a customer experience from average to impressive. I experienced this firsthand during a vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My husband and I dropped in for a four-day vacation in the island of enchantment and it was easy to see where Puerto Rico got its nickname. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 11, 2015
The role of the CIO has evolved in recent years from a focus on helping the organization to reduce costs to enabling the enterprise to grow revenue and become more agile in responding to changing customer behaviors and market shifts. And while there are a number of components that factor into this metamorphosis, including the threats and opportunities posed by disruptive innovation, one of the greatest sea-changes for CIOs is reflected in their shift from a focus on supporting internal Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 5, 2015
With renewed fitness goals in mind, my mother and I searched for an exercise game that would jumpstart our efforts. We shopped around for something that'd be both fun and compatible with our Nintendo Wii. While the system may be older--I haven't really kept up with video games since college--we were able to find a Zumba game that was seemingly entertaining. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | August 4, 2015
Customer relationship management (CRM) has come a long way since ACT! burst onto the business scene with contact management software in 1986. Companies continue to invest heavily in CRM systems to deepen their understanding of customers and to better engage with them. But as 1to1 Media senior writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature story, "6 Misconceptions That Will Drag Down Your CRM Strategy," inaccurate data, data silos, and fragmented technology implementations are among the challenges companies continue Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 28, 2015
I read a Wired article over this past weekend that really struck a chord. The article referenced a recent speech given by U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at New York University's Stern School of Business who argued that undue earnings pressures on executives at public companies are suppressing wages and having a detrimental effect on innovation and long-term growth opportunities among U.S. companies. While this blog post isn't intended as an endorsement for any particular political candidate, the Wired article Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 22, 2015
For years, consumers have been vulnerable to one-sided marketing messages that fail to resonate. But, as behaviors evolve, it's not hard to see that it takes more than catchy taglines and celebrity endorsements to engage today's customers. Instead of turning to big brands, consumers are looking to local retailers for the goods and services they truly desire. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 21, 2015
Each customer is unique. As Don Peppers, founding partner of Peppers & Rogers Group notes, "customers differ from each other, in terms of both their value to your business, and what they need from your business." Customer differentiation also applies to the various ways customers can access a company's products and services - whether they purchase from a physical location or, as 1to1 Media Senior Writer Judith Aquino points out in this week's feature story, through their use on-demand services. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian | July 17, 2015
You might have seen a recent blog by Tony Cosentino on how "Big Data Analytics Will Displace Net Promoter Score (NPS) for Measuring Customer Experience" because "NPS is prone to error, lacks a causal link with financial metrics, and lacks actionable data." And while Tony's blog highlights a critical issue in CX measurement, it only tells part of the story. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 14, 2015
One of the mantras echoing across businesses these days is the need for organizations to become data-driven. And for good reasons. Senior executives and other knowledge workers who use analytics tools against a wide range of data sources can gain deeper insights into customer behaviors and preferences as well as operational and market trends - and not simply rely on their gut instincts for decision making. These benefits can also extend to the contact center where customer sentiment and performance Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 13, 2015
With Millennials and Generation Z increasingly turning to social and digital channels to engage with companies, marketers must up their digital marketing game. So many, however, are just trying to keep pace with their current programs and initiatives that they don't often find time to introduce new strategies or improve upon what's in place. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 7, 2015
In June, I posted a blog about how customer journey mapping has come a long way since its roots. And while customer journey maps have certainly evolved and become more detailed in recent years, customer personas don't appear to have advanced at nearly the same pace. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | July 6, 2015
The promise of a Big Data enterprise is enticing. For companies that have successfully implemented Big Data strategies are seeing big payoffs. Despite its promise of enabling seamless customer views and creating tangible business results, many marketers and customer experience leaders today are stymied by their data. Rather than quickly acting on data across all business units, numerous leaders have information overload when it comes to capturing, analyzing, and acting on Big Data. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | July 3, 2015
Customer experience teams cannot own CX outcomes by themselves. Now don't get me wrong, CX pros rightfully shoulder the most responsibility, including ownership of the six CX disciplines, from customer understanding to culture transformation. But the fact is that all employees at an organization have at least some impact on their firms' customer experience. And with impact comes responsibility. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 30, 2015
One of the biggest challenges that telecom industry executives face is customer churn. While churn rates vary by country and by provider, annual churn rates for telecom companies average between 10 percent and 67 percent, according to the Database Marketing Institute. And while there are a variety of reasons that customers disconnect from wireless providers in particular - dissatisfaction with the quality of service, cost, poor customer support - the use of customer data and analytics is providing decision-makers with Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 23, 2015
Organizations that deliver exceptional customer support typically have at least a few things in common. They listen closely to what customers are asking for and not only act on customer feedback but they also communicate back to customers how and whether their requests were acted on. They align their customer service processes and practices with customer-centric goals and objectives. These organizations also strive to make it easy for customer-facing employees to provide customers with seamless support to ensure that both Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 22, 2015
Delivering great customer experiences is hard to do. If it was easy everyone would do it. Sustained success comes with patience, commitment and plenty of failure along the way. Making that commitment to deliver a superior customer experience can turn a laggard into a fierce competitor, or a failure into an industry leader. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kara Hoisington | June 19, 2015
While kicking off a project last October, a client showed us slide after slide of reports, architectures, and data flows. Overwhelmed by information, the client looked at us and asked, "what do I do with all this data?" A plea for help I have heard on almost every engagement since. Due to this trend, I am starting a blog series answering the question from a multitude of perspectives. Each blog will dig deeper into a particular dimension including organizational communication, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 16, 2015
The healthcare industry is undergoing dramatic changes, not the least of which is an increased focus among payers (healthcare insurers) and providers (physicians, hospitals, clinics, etc.) on customer centricity. Payers who historically had customers funneled to them by employers are now beginning to market to individual customers. But payers aren't the only healthcare industry participants that are blazing new trails in customer centricity. As last week's PegaWORLD 2015 conference indicates, life sciences and other healthcare companies are also getting into Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 15, 2015
The IKEA brand epitomizes innovation. In the exploration and creation of its flat box packaging and self-assembly in the 1950s, the Swedish retailer reinvented the way consumers purchase and receive furniture. But IKEA and other innovators can't stop with their one lightening idea. They must continuously evolve. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 9, 2015
When companies first began attempts to map the customer journey, it often involved a rudimentary arrangement of Post-it notes or other unsophisticated steps to chart the customer's end-to-end path to purchase or mission to resolve a product or service issue. Customer journey mapping efforts have become considerably more mature over the past year or two as decision-makers are placing greater focus on understanding the types of experiences customers want as a means of attracting and retaining customers. Progress on customer Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 8, 2015
In a world where consumers are being bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each year, it's easy for consumers to fall victim to information overload and for marketers to confuse the decision-making process for consumers. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | June 5, 2015
No one disputes that treating customers well is the right thing to do: Virtually all respondents in a Forrester Research survey of CX professionals said that executives at their companies consider customer impact to be at least somewhat important when making business decisions. But compared with hard return on investment (ROI) numbers in business cases for other initiatives, CX projects won't get needed funding if their estimated returns are limited to benefits like improved satisfaction or higher Net Promoter Score Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 2, 2015
It's pretty easy to see how pervasive the use of mobile devices has become with consumers. People are tethered to their smartphones just about everywhere - at work, at home, at ballgames, shopping malls, airports, and cafes. As of January 2014, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices for Internet usage than on desktop PCs, according to comScore. Yet despite how "mobile" we've become as consumers, many companies continue to struggle to develop comprehensive mobile marketing strategies or Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | June 1, 2015
Competing with Amazon can be daunting. The company has a number of obvious advantages: scale, resources, aggressively low prices, cheap shipping, and a diverse product line. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 26, 2015
Customers aren't just multichannel. They're increasingly cross-channel as they use a variety of different touchpoints to find information about product and services they're interested in. So while customers don't necessarily think of themselves as omnichannel, they do expect the companies they interact with to know which touchpoints they were last using before reaching out to a customer service agent for additional help. The last thing a customer wants to do is to have to repeat whatever information he or she Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 25, 2015
Earlier this month, Whole Foods announced its plan to open new lower-priced stores next year aimed at Millennials. The new stores will cater to the younger generation of consumers who don't have the disposable income to spend at the chain, nicknamed "Whole Paycheck." Co-CEO Walter Robb said the stores also will have "modern, streamlined design, innovative technology, and a curated selection." Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 18, 2015
Marketers have never been more integral to their organizations' growth as they are today. As a result, both marketing budgets and marketing's influence are on the rise. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Megan Burns | May 15, 2015
Last week, I stayed in two different hotels in the greater Atlanta area. One was a Ritz-Carlton, and the other a Marriott.* Hearing those two brand names, you might be tempted to assume that the guest experience at the Ritz was far better than the one at the Marriott. But it wasn't--at least not for me. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 12, 2015
Periodically, a big brand will announce plans to invest millions of dollars in its customer service activities. In some cases, the same company continues to stumble a year or two later. We've all seen it before. Improving customer service isn't simply about throwing money at the problem or adding agents. Because customer care is multidimensional, organizational leaders also need to evaluate their customer care processes, the technologies they have in place, the criteria used to recruit and train agents, the Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 11, 2015
Think companies are improving their customer experiences? Think again. According to the recent 2015 Temkin Experience Ratings, more companies have dropped in their CX ratings this year. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 5, 2015
Customer experience leaders talk a lot about the importance of providing customers with simple and easy experiences. But in the real world, some customer interactions can be quite complicated. For instance, as customers continue to increase their use of self-service tools to resolve issues they may encounter on their own, the types of customer inquiries that are hitting the contact center are becoming more complex. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | May 4, 2015
The debate on how to get sales and marketing to work better together has gone on for years. According to the results of the SiriusDecisions' 2015 State of Account-Based Marketing Study, alignment between sales and marketing has improved. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | May 1, 2015
A few years ago, The Mayo Clinic wanted to design separate consultation and exam rooms to reflect the reality that most appointments consist mainly of conversations between doctors and patients, with less examination time. But there wasn't enough floor space to accommodate the number of separate rooms that it envisioned. Then, inspiration struck from the least likely of places . . . The Brady Bunch. On the show, viewers may recall that the boys and girls of the blended family Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 28, 2015
As companies continue to gain deeper proficiency using the Internet of Things for a range of applications (to monitor a patient's vital signs in a hospital, for enhanced connectivity between automobiles, drivers, and automakers, etc.), decision-makers will need to pay careful attention to how IoT influences the customer experience. Because as Fusion92 Founder and CEO Matt Murphy recently shared with me, "if there's not a benefit to consumers, you're probably not going to be successful." Read more »
Guest Blogger: Megan Burns | April 24, 2015
One week ago today, we Bostonians enjoyed a picture-perfect opening day at Fenway Park. The sun was shining, temps finally warmed up after an abysmal winter, opening ceremonies paid tribute to local heroes like the Richard and Frates families,* and our beloved Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 9 to 4. Read more »
Judith Aquino | April 23, 2015
In today's hypercompetitive market, emotional branding has become an important part of a brand's ability to win loyal customers. Technology advances and saturated markets have made many products and services interchangeable. And competing solely on price is an unreliable strategy. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 21, 2015
In case you hadn't heard, Google is introducing big changes to its algorithmic formula beginning today that will place increased weight on the mobile friendliness of a company's website. If a company's website isn't deemed mobile friendly by Google (you can take the test here to find out), this will adversely affect the website's ranking by Google and, as a result, the volume of traffic headed to the website along with the potential leads being generated. The good news for Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 14, 2015
One of the biggest challenges that sales, marketing, and customer care leaders continue to encounter is their inability to gain a truly comprehensive view of their customers. Whether it's the ability to see the full stream of transactions a customer has made with a company, the most recent channels they used to interact with the organization, or the feedback they've shared about their experiences in social media or with the contact center, there's often one or more pieces that are Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 13, 2015
I often hear many marketers and customer service leaders deliberate over a common struggle: proving to executives that investing in customer experience initiatives and technologies is worth it. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Qaalfa Dibeehi | April 10, 2015
In 2014, TeliaSonera International Carrier (TSIC) engaged Forrester Consulting to help assess its activities around customer experience, and to build a roadmap for its burgeoning CX program. TSIC is an international provider of telecommunication services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and offices in 14 other countries. It has grown from being the largest IP network in Europe to one of the top two global carriers powered by the Internet backbone, as ranked by internet performance analysts DYN. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 8, 2015
Back in the 90s, JCPenney launched its "Fashion Comes to Life" campaign in an effort to refresh its public image. Like many brands, however, the retailer has found cause to reinvent itself repeatedly over the past quarter century. Yet, while the years haven't necessarily been kind to the department store chain, times have allowed its omnichannel customer service to grow and flourish. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 7, 2015
As companies strive to cater more effectively to the omnichannel customer, many organizations find themselves struggling to find and hire marketers with required technology skills. For instance, while many marketing organizations have a voracious demand for people with analytics skills, just 26 percent of respondents to a global survey conducted by the American Management Association believe they have the ability to meet these requirements. Meanwhile, a study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute reveals that just 8 percent of respondents Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | April 6, 2015
When you think of a customer-centric organization, you may think of Starbucks, the Ritz-Carlton, or Zappos. Becoming customer-centric is the aspiration of many companies, yet few understand that getting there is a journey, not a destination. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Roxana Strohmenger | April 3, 2015
We have all experienced it--a bad customer experience. Websites like Consumerist.com describe in empathy-inducing detail the "turmoil" that consumers experience, whether it be a customer having tape-recorded proof of a promise of service but the company stating they made no such promise or a company cancelling thousands of reward accounts due to insufficient proof of age, despite the inability of the customer to insert the required information. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 30, 2015
Customer experience is on everyone's minds these days. From small businesses to enterprise organizations, engaging with the customer in personalized ways across all touchpoints in an organization has become paramount. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Victor Milligan | March 27, 2015
CX has rapidly moved from an ideal to an operational mandate. As Forrester's CMO, customer experience is one of my four strategic priorities. It's also tied to my compensation. How's that for focusing the mind? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 24, 2015
Companies that consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences - companies such as The Ritz-Carlton, Apple, and USAA - don't get there by accident. They also don't rest on their laurels. They listen closely to what their customers are telling them and incessantly review and act on customer feedback, including processes that stand to be improved. Apple is a great example of this, having made recent modifications to the Apple Genius Bar through new mobile features. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 23, 2015
The Ides of March are upon us. And for many companies that means thousands of hours of lost productivity as employees fill out brackets and stay glued to game updates to see if their Cinderella team will upset the competition and go all the way to the national title. Read more »
Judith Aquino | March 19, 2015
The retail landscape is crowded with loyalty programs giving consumers a plethora of points, discounts, and rewards-based memberships to choose from. In fact, the average American household holds memberships in 29 loyalty programs across the retail, financial services, and travel industries, but actively uses only about 12 of them, according to loyalty marketing research company Colloquy. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 17, 2015
Corporate leaders are beginning to recognize that the lines have blurred between the brand and the customer experience. This revelation is prompting a growing number of companies to establish a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) role and bring a more unified approach to customer centricity. According to The 2014 CCO Study conducted by the Chief Customer Officer Council, 22 percent of Fortune 100 companies have adopted the role. While that's an impressive milestone, it's clear that the industry is still early Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 16, 2015
We've all read the articles and seen the reports: This year is the year of personalization. From emails that send local weather updates, watches that report your day to day efficiency, beacons that engage customers' interests in-store, and changing rooms that know your style and sizes, 2015 is poised to take personalization to the next level. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | March 13, 2015
A few years back, FedEx learned that "the leaning tower of packages" at its retail locations was making many customers uneasy. Store employees would take a customer's package, and place it on the messy pile. Based on that simple visual cue, these customers worried that their package might very well get lost in their seemingly haphazard shipping process. FedEx had run into a problem that plagues many companies, and that is the subject of my latest report for Forrester, co-written Read more »
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