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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 »
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 »
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 »
Anna Papachristos | February 18, 2015
Though many social networks have come and gone--R.I.P. MySpace--others have established themselves as key players in the marketing space. Facebook and Twitter, of course, are indomitable forces of nature. But, according to Forrester's recent "Pinterest Is Not Ready For Prime Time" report, this fairly new social network may just be on the cusp of greatness. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | February 11, 2015
Consumer behaviors often dictate marketing trends. Thus, as audiences gravitate toward video on both mobile and desktop platforms, companies are quickly reconfiguring their content strategies to focus on this visual medium. For many organizations, video has even begun to replace the written word, shifting from supplemental afterthought to primary real estate, as visualization actively boosts engagement. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 4, 2015
With Valentine's Day less than two weeks away, love is clearly in the air. Yet, while most are scrambling for super-sized bouquets of roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, McDonald's has gone one step further by converting affection into currency. For just two weeks--February 2 through February 14--the fast-food chain will allow select customers to pay using intangible gestures, such as hugs and high fives. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | February 2, 2015
During last night's Super Bowl, whether Nissan's #WithDad commercial tugged at your heartstrings or Procter & Gamble's #LikeaGirl ad left you feeling inspired, the bigger question becomes, what return will these companies see long after the Monday morning quarterbacking over best and worst Super Bowl commercials ends? Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 28, 2015
Once upon a time, the word 'value' instinctively referred to what a person believed in--their ideals and morals. Skip ahead to present day and you'll find that the term is simply a word to inadequately describe the menu at your favorite artery-clogging fast-food joint. No one really cares about your beliefs; all that counts is that you didn't break the bank while ingesting your future heart attack. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 21, 2015
By now, many individuals have abandoned their lofty New Year's resolutions, for the promise of renewal has reverted back to business as usual. However, all hope may not be lost quite yet. 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 »
Anna Papachristos | January 7, 2015
With each passing year, customer expectations become increasingly daunting. Companies find themselves racing to keep pace with the latest strategies and technologies. Yet, often times, the greatest innovators are those who keep things simple. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | January 5, 2015
What constitutes a great customer experience? According to The Temkin Group, it's a combination of three aspects of a customer's interaction with a company--functionality, accessibility, and emotionality. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Rick Parrish | January 2, 2015
On a survey we conducted recently, a whopping 80 percent of customer experience (CX) professionals said their firms' goal is to be a CX leader in their industry or across all industries. Unfortunately, our CX Index shows that only 11 percent of companies succeed in delivering an excellent experience--one that would set them apart from competitors. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 31, 2014
As news outlets and blogs publish their lists of the good, bad, and ugly for everything from movies, songs, YouTube videos, celebrity couples, technologies, and sports moments, to tweets, Instagram posts, hacks, images, selfies, advertisements, and so on, I'm joining in with my lists of cheers and jeers in the customer experience world. Here are the worst customer experiences in 2014. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 29, 2014
Sooner or later, all modern technologies get replaced. Some evolve to meet demand, while others drift off into oblivion. Voicemail, for instance, continues to fade fast, for this mode of communication has become increasingly bothersome in today's hyper-connected world. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 22, 2014
In his book, The Self-Destructive Habits of Good Companies: ...And How to Break Them, author Jagdish N. Sheth offers sage advice: "shine a light on the dark places in your business. Uncover self-destructive habits before they destroy you." Understandably it's hard to kick a bad habit, but with dedication and self-observation you can successfully break the most common bad business habits. Here are four to eliminate in 2015: Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 17, 2014
Behold, free shipping! One of life's small victories, particularly during the holiday season. For some online retailers, such offers have become universal, while others make consumers earn their reward. In my case, I met Free People's minimum purchase requirement by mere dollars. But, what I saved in shipping costs, I inevitably spent in time. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Sam Stern | December 12, 2014
Companies with customer-obsessed cultures--think USAA or Southwest Airlines--differentiate themselves in their industries and earn major financial benefits as a result. But customer-obsessed cultures don't just happen: To help transform a culture, customer experience professionals must develop training and coaching curriculum that touches all employees. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 10, 2014
Though it might be starting to look a lot like Christmas, there's still room for retail customer experience improvements everywhere you go. The holiday season often exposes weaknesses in service strategies, as stores scramble to meet demand and generate profits. However, retailers should use this time to assess their current approach, learn valuable lessons, and make plans for the future. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 8, 2014
The term, "disruption" has become the business buzzword of the year. But it's more than just jargon. Disruption in business involves having the ability to sense changes occurring in technology, customer behaviors, and product demands and being able to evolve quickly and implement plans outside the norm for long-term survival. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Harley Manning | December 5, 2014
About two years ago I stopped taking cabs from my home in the suburbs of Boston to Boston's Logan airport. I wasn't drawn away by Uber; my local cab company pushed me away with its awful customer experience. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 3, 2014
Technology is increasingly earning a place in every aspect of our lives--from conducting routine tasks like creating shopping lists to helping to transform our lifestyles, health, and mindsets. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 1, 2014
If you were one of the 133.7 million shoppers who braved the malls and stores on Black Friday to find deals, you may have noticed smaller crowds and shorter lines. The National Retail Federation reported that Black Friday sales fell sharply this year (5.4 percent) due to the latest trend of retail sales creeping and spreading throughout the entire holiday season. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 26, 2014
While sales teams are an important driving force for profit in organizations across all industries, Sonic Automotive recognized that most are rarely given the tools necessary to achieve success. Thus, the auto retailer partnered with MicroStrategy to address the lack of insight accessibility by deploying FIRE (Financial and Insurance Reporting Engine), Sonic Automotive's internal mobile application, which enables sales professionals to close deals. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 24, 2014
Tis the season for celebration, giving, and...shopping! As Black Friday approaches and Cyber Monday nears, consumers are thinking of how to score the best deals possible, while retailers focus on delivering the best possible customer experience. Here are five tips to help boost your customer engagement and increase retention during the holiday shopping season: Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 19, 2014
For many large retail chains, Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain incredibly profitable, as special sales and incentives still generate an uptick in revenue. However, relying too heavily on these crazy shopping days isn't necessarily the best approach, for companies of all sizes--particularly small businesses--should put more emphasis on retaining and attracting new customers throughout the holiday shopping season to boost the bottom line and foster long-term loyalty. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Rick Parrish | November 14, 2014
If you weren't looking, you might have missed a major recent development in federal customer experience (CX). In August, the White House announced the creation of the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), a team of experienced technologists based in the Office of Management and Budget and led by Deputy Federal CIO Mikey Dickerson. The team's job, simply put, is to improve federal CX by establishing digital services standards and accountability, identifying scalable customer-facing CX technologies for federal agencies to use, and Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 12, 2014
Until last week, I would've guessed John Lewis was merely some faceless man I'd never met. But, thanks to the brilliant minds behind the brand's latest holiday ad campaign, this U.K. department store can officially claim responsibility for making my heart grow three sizes in just two minutes' time. Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | November 10, 2014
Visual content is changing social media and marketing campaigns. Businesses are finding that content that contains images is more valuable for businesses, as it has a higher chance of being shared than anything else on social media with statistically more page visits and increased engagement. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Michael Gazala | November 7, 2014
2014 wasn't a good year to be average. Since 2007, the average customer experience in the industries that Forrester tracks has gone up across the board, and the number of truly awful experiences has dropped like a rock. So if your CX is average, it's just not good enough to win, serve, and retain customers. And it won't get any easier next year: With companies investing more than ever to differentiate their customer experience, your average offering will soon be Read more »
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