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Judith Aquino | July 23, 2015
Make way for more data: Google is rolling out a new feature for Android and desktop users that shows them a timeline of places they've visited. It remains to be seen though, how this data will benefit consumers. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | July 15, 2015
Customer experience has always served as the primary foundation for customer success. However, as this key differentiator becomes increasingly critical throughout today's competitive market, many brands have begun to establish dedicated customer success teams that are specifically tasked with creating the most engaging experiences possible. 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 »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | June 18, 2015
Customer relationship management, or CRM, is having a renaissance. The promise of CRM was that it would streamline customer service, marketing, and sales efforts with a unified view of the customer, but the technology was dogged by complaints of clunky and expensive software. 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 »
Judith Aquino | June 11, 2015
The way we communicate is rapidly changing. Texting is becoming the preferred means of mobile conversation and some companies are abandoning voice mail. Organizations are under pressure to keep up with these changes while also providing fast and reliable service across multiple channels. And while progress is being made in understanding customer needs through speech analytics and other solutions, many organizations still struggle to close the gap between consumer expectations and services. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | June 10, 2015
While many companies have already built a strong social media presence, other brands have only recently come to the conclusion that social media is here to stay. But, as these businesses look to enter the fray, leaders must proceed with caution if they wish to guarantee that these burgeoning efforts garner positive results. 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 »
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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | May 28, 2015
When I purchased my car more than 10 years ago, it involved several visits and phone calls with the dealer before all my questions were answered. Today, dealerships and other industries are speeding up communications with mobile-focused tools, including SMS messaging. 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 »
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 »
Judith Aquino | May 14, 2015
Last week, Comcast unveiled its latest plan for improving its customer service, which includes hiring 5,500 more customer service agents and automatically crediting a subscriber's account $20 if a technician fails to show up for a scheduled visit. 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 »
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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | April 1, 2015
In recent years, consumers have become increasingly comfortable with expressing praise and concern via social media. Thus, as external behaviors evolve, so must internal service strategies. Within the hospitality industry, Best Western and its properties have seen an uptick in occupancy rates that can be directly correlated to their social engagement efforts. 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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | March 11, 2015
Despite our innate affinity to journey all over the world, travel can often become complicated. Between scheduling flights and navigating terminals, getting from point A to point B isn't always easy. However, for CheapOair, mobile technologies have enabled the online booking site to provide customers with consistent, personalized service no matter their method of choice. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 9, 2015
At a meeting last week for the investor community, Target Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell and members of his leadership team presented plans intended to transform the retailer's business. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | March 4, 2015
Despite the fact that we all have smartphones within reach nearly 24/7, most use the voice function less and less, instead opting to contact friends and family--even our favorite brands--via text, chat, or social. However, as Irv Shapiro, CEO and CTO of DialogTech, emphasizes, voice remains the one factor that sets humans apart from every other species. Our ability to vocalize emotions and ideas allows us to innovate and invent in ways that only humans can. But, as digital communications Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 3, 2015
Consumer data breaches seem to have become a regular occurrence among enterprise companies. 1to1 Media Editor-in-Chief Mila D'Antonio recently wrote about how 80 million customer records at health insurer Anthem were exposed. While it's encouraging that The White House has drafted a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, critics argue that the bill doesn't go far enough in protecting consumer privacy. Clearly, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to protect customer data. This includes setting aside Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | March 2, 2015
When Apple revealed its Apple Pay last September, CEO Tim Cook said the mobile payment service "will forever change the way we buy." And during last week's earnings call, Cook called 2015, "the year of Apple Pay." Additionally, last week's announcement from Google that it's working with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile to pre-install Google Wallet on all of the providers' Android phones, further positions mobile pay as on the verge of going mainstream. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Rick Parrish | February 27, 2015
With federal customer experience (CX) so weak, I'm happy to report that several more U.S. federal agencies are considering adding chief customer officers (CCO) to their executive management teams. In the past few months, some of these agencies have asked me to discuss how CCOs can help them improve their customer experience (CX), the best way to structure the position, and what new CCOs should do first. In fact, I just published a report offering answers to federal agencies' most Read more »
Judith Aquino | February 26, 2015
Net neutrality advocates scored a major victory today when the Federal Communications Commission approved net neutrality regulations by a 3-2 vote. The FCC's decision includes reclassifying Internet service as a Title II telecommunications service or public utility, prohibiting broadband providers from charging for faster lanes on the Internet. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 25, 2015
For the Office of Child Support at the Michigan Department of Human Services, efficiency remains critical, as this division serves nearly one million families throughout the state. But, with an incredible caseload to bear, customer service representatives found themselves unable to meet expectation with the speed and precision demanded. Thus, to streamline the customer experience, Michigan's OCS invested in new call center technologies that allow agents to route calls with granular accuracy. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | February 13, 2015
A few weeks ago, many of our customer experience analysts including my colleague Maxie Schmidt and me were glued to our computer screens, watching a presentation by a big bank. It had introduced a tool to capture and manage ideas from its employees on how to improve the customer experience. This presentation mattered to us because only 25 percent of CX professionals say their companies' CX programs actually improve customer experience. Those who fail lack insight into the root causes Read more »
Guest Blogger: Kate Leggett | January 23, 2015
Customers are using more communication channels for customer service than ever before. They are also contacting customer service organizations more frequently. Companies are rising to this challenge as overall satisfaction with the quality of service communication channels is trending upwards. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 12, 2015
With the holiday shopping season behind us, retailers have planned a tidal wave of store closings for 2015. Among the closings are Macy's, JCPenney, Guess, Radio Shack, as well as teen apparel stores Delia's, Aeropostale, Wet Seal, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | January 9, 2015
We have entered the age of the customer--when companies only win by being customer-obsessed and delivering exceptional experiences. This is great news for customer experience professionals. Their skills and expertise are in demand, and at Forrester Research, we expect customer experience to continue its maturation into a full-fledged profession. Read more »
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