Customer Experience

Forrester’s Forum for Customer Experience Professionals: Day One Highlights

Jimmy Chou talks CX quality and why your people, leadership and culture may matter more than your technology.

by Jimmy Chou

I’m at Forrester’s two day Forum for Customer Experience (CX) Professionals in NYC (#ForrForum). The theme is “Why Good is Not Good Enough.” Here are my top three highlights from day one.

The definition of an amazing customer experience changes over time.

Just as Usain Bolt broke through the boundaries of greatness in the 100M to become the fastest man on earth, Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CXi) shows companies elevating their CX results with a wholesale shift to the right over the last seven years (see charts below). Okay is the new poor. The race to excellence is on and it’s heating up. Technology and innovation are enabling a redefinition of what’s possible in CX. Today’s multichannel, connected customer has higher expectations than ever before. Companies must continuously adapt and improve or choose to be left behind. As Stephen Cannon (@stevecannonceo), President and CEO of Mercedes Benz USA stated, “delight is the new standard.”

Customer Experience Index Scores 2007 Customer Experience Index Scores 2014

The three key factors of CX quality are effectiveness, ease, and emotion—emotion matters most.

As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Customers want to feel valued. They want their problems resolved quickly. And they want to be communicated with in plain language. We’re moving into a space that’s uncomfortable for many organizations. Understanding customer needs extends beyond functional needs to a customer’s emotional state and needs. To deliver truly great customer experiences, you’ll need to gain a better understanding of the emotional drivers of your customers and employees. It turns out we’re all human.

“How consumers feel about an experience has more impact on their loyalty to the company than functional aspects like effectiveness and ease in the 17 industries we test.” - Megan Burns, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Solving CX issues one by one, adding some processes or implementing new technologies can help you get to good. People, culture and leadership are what get you to great.

As we understand all too well from SingleStone’s CX work with our clients, improving customer experiences across traditional organizational and technology silos is hard. Current structures no longer serve their purpose. To deliver sustainable CX transformations, there must be a complete re-orientation of the traditional company “value chain” towards the “jobs” a customer is trying to get done. For instance, instead of a product-orientation like a Mortgage department in a bank, there’s a “Buy a Home” organization made up of the cross-functional team necessary to help a customer finance their home. This type of transformational change requires a focus on internal people development, culture, and strong leadership. We saw examples of this throughout the day with Verizon’s Nancy Clark describing how they connected VOC and Lean Six Sigma into a Customer Insights organization that trained 15,000 employees last year. TD Ameritrade’s Steve Quirk spent a lot of time talking about seeking and connecting passion in his organization. And Stephen Cannon spoke of the importance of inspiring and enabling a team to aspire for greatness. His example of a visual vision is a great idea for organizations to consider when looking to align leaders around a common future state.

Create a Compelling Vision

All in all, it was a good first day at the Forum. It’s exciting times in the CX space as the stakes are continuing to rise. I’m looking forward to day two.

As an aside, it was cool to see our client, Capital One (@CapitalOne), highlighted as an innovator of customer experience in bank branches with their 360 cafes in Harley Manning’s (@hmanning) opening presentation.

360 Cafe

Did I miss something? I’d love to hear about your highlights from the conference in the comments below.

Check back in after the conference to see a more about the event, and follow me on Twitter (@choujimmy) for real-time updates.

Jimmy Chou
Jimmy Chou
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