A Few Good CX-related Book Recommendations For CX Day

Tony Costa

As analysts, we frequently get asked by clients and practitioners to recommend books they can read on various CX topics. So, in the spirit of CX Day, we (the CX analysts at Forrester)  assembles a list of some of our favorite CX-related books to share with the A fewCX community. We hope you find them as inspiring and helpful as we have. Enjoy!

General CX

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Customer Experience Q&A with Scott Jones, VP, Global User Experience Design, Expedia Worldwide

Harley Manning

In its early days, the online travel industry focused on speed, ease-of-use, and cost-effectiveness. That was a great start but it didn't go far enough:  Travel is a complex and often daunting purchase decision -- one layered with conflicting emotions like aspiration, excitement, and even fear. How has the industry evolved to deal with the emotional aspects of the travel experience? 

Scott Jones is head of user experience design for online travel giant Expedia.  Scott will be one of our featured presenters at our CXSF 2016, October 20-21. In advance of the event, we sat down with Scott to explore some key aspects of his role and Expedia’s CX strategies.

How has Expedia evolved its user experience to address the complex multidimensional context of travel planning?

Jones: Several years ago, in the wake of a rapidly changing consumer tech landscape, we recognized the critical need to make heavy investments in new technology and intelligence to stay innovative, relevant and nimble.

Since then we implemented a “test-and-learn” approach, which allows our teams to propose an idea, build the hypothesis behind it and implement a small test to understand the customer response. This approach, coupled with our expanded user experience research capabilities, has allowed us to learn faster and better understand the “why” behind our customers’ behaviors.

We have also built an innovation research lab on our property to conduct tests directly with customers. Using eye-tracking and facial-movement technology, we can now measure what and where people look at and why. This allows us to get a more nuanced understanding of what customers want and how to move them from browsing to booking.

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Why CX? Why Now? Happy CX Day, 2016!

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

Happy CX Day! As part of our CX Day celebrations, which include a very special episode of CX Cast, and a comprehensive CX reading list that doubles as a holiday gift buying guide for the CX pro in your life, we are launching a new report: Why CX? Why Now? 

In collaboration with my colleague, Sam Stern, we looked at why now is the time for CX pros to convince executives and colleagues at their organizations to double down on improving the customer experience. To make it a lot easier for you to message this across in your firm, we included an infographic that:

  • Conveys without a doubt how urgent it is to invest in CX because your customers, competitors and employees are changing!
  • Gives you six tangible business benefits from improving customer experience that will help you make the case for why CX drives business results. For example, Southwest Airlines, a consistent CX leader, has been profitable for 43 consecutive years, in an industry better known for red ink and bankruptcies.
  • Tells you which challenges most companies (and probably yours) face on the road to better CX. One example: More than half of CX pros said that their organization's culture impedes their success.
  • Shows the path to improving CX, starting from a CX vision, continuing with building CX competencies and strengthening your business technology foundation. 
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The Canada Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 2: Emotion Holds The Key To CX-Fueled Loyalty

Roxana Strohmenger

Last week, my colleague Rick Parrish discussed the stagnation in CX for Canadian brands from our Canada 2016 Customer Experience Index™.

In this post, I’ll explore another big finding from our research: The way an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than the effectiveness or ease of the experience.

CX professionals often think that getting emotion right is simple: Make your customers happy, not angry. However, we find that anger and happiness do not have a very strong influence on customer loyalty. What does?

·         Making customers feel appreciated, confident, and respected drives loyalty. On average across the industries, if you make customers feel appreciated, for example, we see that 80% of them will advocate for the brand, 70% will stay with the brand, and 68% will increase their spending with the brand. In stark contrast, only 2% will advocate, 13% will stay, and 8% will increase their spending with the brand when they don't feel appreciated.

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The Canada Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 1: A Year Of Stagnation

Rick Parrish

I’m happy to announce that we just released this year’s Customer Experience Index report for Canadian brands. The report is based on Forrester's CX Index™ methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at 193 Canadian brands.

We found that between 2015 and 2016, the Canadian customer experience stagnated.

  • Score changes at the brand level were remarkably minimal. Only about one-quarter of brand scores changed at all, and those changes were small across the board. A similar number of brands rose as fell.
  • Fourteen industry averages showed slight movement. Four industry averages rose and 10 fell. However, these movements were usually very small and rarely changed the rank order of industries significantly. Only two industries’ performance changed substantially: The wireless service provider industry rose, and the PC manufacturer industry fell.
  • Leaders and laggards by industry were mostly unchanged. Within the 18 industries we studied, 12 industry leaders and six industry laggards held their positions. However, some top and bottom spots changed hands only because we added new brands this year that scored higher or lower than last year’ languishing leaders and laggards.
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Washington Still Fails At CX: Insights From The US Federal CX Index, 2016

Rick Parrish

The White House requires federal agencies to provide customer experiences that match the best of the private sector's. Yet despite another year of intense focus the federal customer experience remains overwhelmingly weak and uneven.

The 15 US federal agencies and programs that we rated in this year’s US Federal Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) earned an average score of 58, which is near the bottom of the poor category and well below the private-sector average of 70 (see Figure 1). Two-thirds of federal scores stayed flat from 2015 to 2016; even several agencies that worked hard on CX failed to improve.



The situation looks even bleaker when we compare it with the customer experience at the 300-plus companies in 20 private-sector industries in the complete US CX Index. Our results show that Washington has:

  • Scores that are mostly poor or very poor. Three-fourths of federal agencies had scores that fell into the lowest two categories of the CX Index (see Figure 2). That's in sharp contrast to the private sector, where only 19% of brands were rated poor and just 1% of brands were rated very poor.
  • A near monopoly on the worst experiences. Five out of the eight organizations in the very poor category — and six of the worst 10 in the entire US CX Index — were federal agencies. Only internet service providers, TV service providers, and airlines came close to matching this level of underperformance.
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The China Customer Experience Index For 2016: Chinese Firms Have Upped Their CX Game

Riccardo Pasto

The 2016 China Customer Experience Index report, which I co-authored with Asia Pacific CX team principal analyst Ryan Hart, went live last Thursday at Forrester’s CX Marketing Shanghai 2016 forum.

The report is based on Forrester’s CX Index™ methodology, which measures how successfully a company delivers a customer experience (CX) that create and sustain loyalty — as increases in customer loyalty tend to drive business growth. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at large brands operating in the Chinese market. This year, we saw that several brands in the China CX Index have moved from the OK range to the good range.



We see notable improvement across the board:

  • All five industries rose. The overall CX Index scores for all five of the industries surveyed this year improved over last year, with 21 brands receiving significantly higher CX Index scores. No brand in China has yet made it into the excellent CX category — but there were no laggards bringing up the rear in the poor category, either. Overall, 5% of companies with poor CX Index scores in 2015 improved to OK; more importantly, 16% of historically mediocre companies improved their CX from just OK to good.
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CXDC 2016 Q&A with The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Rick Parrish

CXDC 2016 is just around the corner, and we have an incredible agenda featuring 25+ Federal CX leaders and top Forrester analysts. 

I asked two of our speakers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – Sarah Brooks, Director, Insight & Design and Julia Kim, Chief of Staff, Veterans Experience – to chat about some of the ways VA is improving the customer experience (CX) for veterans.

Rick: The CX team at VA has been very busy! What two or three CX improvements over the past year are you most proud of? Why?

Sarah and Julia: It has been busy! Especially when we are trying to build the office while also doing the work. We are proud of many things (more than we can put into a blog post!), but here are a few things we’ll highlight:

  • Reframing the Disability Compensation and Pension application process from Veterans’ points of view. There were only five people in our office, and Secretary Bob asked us to look into this thing that he was getting a lot of calls and emails about. What we found is that VA is not managing our Veteran-facing touchpoints during this process – in fact, we have very few front stage touchpoints at all. We have done a lot of work to optimize the back stage (see figure 1). We were not thinking about how to help Veterans understand what was happening and why it was happening. This was our first exposure to what has become a recurring theme at VA.
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CX Marketing 2016 Singapore: Guest Q&A with David Peller, Booking.com

Fred Giron

Some of you may have seen my earlier blog post on why you should attend CX Marketing Singapore 2016! Our annual Forrester Singapore event returns in less than two weeks, and I'm excited to hear from our own Forrester experts as well as esteemed industry speakers on how customer experience is and will continue to be the key differentiator for organizations to succeed in the age of the customer.

I hope to see you at the Marina Mandarin on August 25 — register here if you haven't already! In the meantime, here's a sneak peek of what to expect at the Forum. I had the opportunity to speak with David Peller, ‎Director, Strategic Partnerships, Asia Pacific at Booking.com, who gave us the inside scoop on how Booking.com has organized itself to be customer-obsessed, which it believes gives it an edge today. Here's what he had to say:

How has the age of the customer affected the travel industry? How have you seen your customer needs evolve?

If you think back to the time when travel was essentially an offline shopping experience, the customer used to spend hours deliberating with imperfect information, guided by a travel agent. Today, technology democratizes the travel experience — and you don't just have to take the view of one person for granted. On Booking.com, we have more than 100 million verified reviews of properties, places and activities, which provides engaging content for every potential traveler to explore.

Can you tell us briefly about Booking.com's digital transformation program and the approach that you've taken?

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Thoughts on Customer Experience Strategy: Should All CX Be Awesome?

Amit Bhatia

So I visit this coffee shop close to office pretty often. The other day I was waiting in line and I paused to ask myself – why do I keep coming here? I mean, everything about the exercise including the taste is pretty unremarkable. I order, I’m served, I leave. So then why do I repeatedly give them my business?

You guessed it. I go there day after day, month after month because it is – wait for it… convenient. And predictable. Certainly not because it’s “awesome”. I’m not looking for a fake smile or a scripted line. It’s a really tiny part of my day. My expectations are minimal, they are met, and I’m satisfied. That’s it.

Globally, companies swoon over the superior experience delivered by the likes of Amazon and Apple; paeans have been written about Zappos’ legendary customer service. Last time I looked, a Zappos service associate apparently spent over 10 hours on a service call! Good for them!

Should you follow suit? May be not.

Of course CX is critical. In fact, in the Age of the Customer, we propose it’s the only way forward.

However, people don’t need “awesome” all the time. In my recently published Forrester report Should All Customer Experiences Be Awesome? I dissect this very issue.

At Forrester, we talk to many companies as well as customers the world over. In our experience we observe two things:

  • Customers and companies compare experiences across industries.  And, as a result,
  • CX laggards often want to emulate leaders. For instance, Citi, acting on Apple-fever went ahead and built an Apple Store-inspired “bank of the future” using the same architects.
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