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Anna Papachristos | July 1, 2015
By 2020, the U.S. Treasury expects to replace Alexander Hamilton's spot on the $10 bill with the face of an unidentified woman. But, as The Daily Show correspondent, Jessica Williams, recently highlighted during an episode of the Comedy Central news program, this gesture seems like an ineffective, and relatively pathetic, attempt to appease female critics. "Honestly, at the end of the day, I don't [care] about who's on the bill. What I do care about is getting an equal share 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 »
Judith Aquino | June 25, 2015
Drawing in new customers is more challenging than ever as companies compete to engage consumers who have a rapidly shrinking attention span and high expectations. WGBH and Total Gym Fitness, Silver and Bronze winners respectively in the Innovation in Customer Acquisition category of the 2015 Gartner and 1to1 Media Customer Experience Excellence Awards, demonstrate the power of using technology and customer engagement strategies to win new customers. Here are three takeaways for your own customer acquisition strategy. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | June 17, 2015
Every brand has its own story to tell. Yet, when it comes to social media, many companies still struggle to find the right words. 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 »
Judith Aquino | June 4, 2015
It's not a secret that Pinterest, Google, Facebook and other companies don't want users to leave their platforms. Pinterest is adding "buyable pins" that enable shoppers to purchase items directly on its site; Google announced a similar feature with buy buttons on its ads, and Facebook increasingly offers features that encourage users to check in and never leave. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | June 3, 2015
Every time I scroll through my Facebook news feed, visions of Lamb Chop come to mind. "This is the song that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on, my friends." Low-quality photos and unsolicited opinions flood the page, hurtling me down an expansive rabbit hole of existential contemplation: Why are we here? Why are we wasting our time? Why must people take pictures of their lunch before they eat it? We seem to be living in an era of 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 »
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: Anjali Lai | May 22, 2015
In the past week, I have booked a flight using a travel voucher, questioned a charge on my credit card bill, and bought an electric toothbrush. What do these experiences have in common? In each case, I had a relatively complex question and I received a helpful answer - without talking to anyone in person or by phone. Instead, with a little online research, I was able to identify which blackout dates applied to my travel voucher, clear the charge Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 20, 2015
Digital and mobile technologies allow employees to remain connected no matter their physical location. Thus, the traditional office no longer exists in its original form, for workers have the ability to operate remotely. But, as the future of the average workplace shifts to accommodate these evolving standards, leaders must also realign their mindset to provide these employees with all they need to conduct business like their in-office counterparts. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 19, 2015
There are a lot of ways that marketing automation helps marketers to connect more effectively with customers. Technology enables marketers to gather more insights than ever about customers, including information about their behaviors, preferences, and needs. Marketing automation helps companies achieve deeper engagement and higher conversion rates through more personalized messaging. And while each of these capabilities are critical for helping marketers to succeed in today's fast-paced world, some of the greatest opportunities for driving effective and efficient marketing are 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 »
Anna Papachristos | April 29, 2015
Body image and beauty products often go hand-in-hand, for society has convinced women that they must uphold particular ideals in order to sustain their physical appeal. Opponents have become more and more outspoken, however, in an effort to defend diversity and promote confidence. But advertisers continue to disseminate messaging that promises to solve everyone's self-esteem issues with one magical miracle product. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | April 22, 2015
For today's data-driven marketer, more advanced omnichannel campaigns have become standard. But, as companies begin to crave more data in an effort to gain deeper understanding of their customers, many are beginning to recognize that Big Data isn't about volume--it's about what's actionable. SMBs, however, are uniquely positioned to use data to develop closer customer relationships and obtain insights that bigger brands can't, as the explosion of cloud-based technologies has put these companies on equal footing with their larger counterparts. 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 »
Judith Aquino | April 16, 2015
Do you find yourself making more impulsive purchase decisions based on convenience and emotion? If so, you're not alone. Technology advances are making us inclined to make quick, gut-based decisions instead of well-rationalized decisions, according to Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 15, 2015
Just as the U.S. population grows more diverse, so must the average company's workforce. To remain on the cusp of innovation, leaders must conduct an internal audit to explore their brand's current scope and expand future outreach initiatives. 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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | March 25, 2015
Personalization remains paramount for marketers across industries. However, with the constant influx of customer data, it's increasingly difficult for brands to parse this information and bring insight to action. Consumers often find themselves in similar situations, as companies attempt to lure their business with extensive channel outreach. Individuals frequently drown in emails, texts, and social media posts that fail to capture their attention (and their eventual loyalty, too). 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 »
Anna Papachristos | March 18, 2015
Because the pizza business continues to shift rapidly toward an online ordering experience, major players, such as Domino's and Papa John's, have raised the bar for smaller establishments that often struggle to implement and integrate modern technologies. For Sarpino's Pizzeria, however, Web and mobile ordering platforms have enabled Chicago's fastest growing chain to compete with top brands and grow its market share. 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 »
Tom Hoffman | March 10, 2015
It's common for big, multinational companies to generate a sizeable share of their revenue from outside the U.S. International expansion remains a key growth area for many U.S. companies. According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 CFO Outlook survey of 603 financial executives, 54 percent of companies have some foreign market involvement. As some marketing leaders have discovered, it can be extremely challenging to obtain good quality customer or prospect data in emerging geographies where their companies are 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 »
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