In 2007, I wrote a report about how to measure customer experience across an entire enterprise. At the time, I could find just three companies – three! – that were actually measuring CX this way. Everyone else I talked to said that their companies had no CX measurement, or that they measured CX in a piecemeal way, touch-point by touch-point. They desperately wished that executives would see the value of measuring and managing CX at an enterprise level, but admitted their leadership just wasn’t thinking that way yet.
Fast forward to 2014 and things look a lot better in the world of CX. Leading companies in every country and every industry are making CX a strategic priority, investing millions to improve how customers perceive their interactions with the firm. It’s great to see, but I have to admit…I’m not willing to declare victory just yet.
My concern is that these improved customer experiences won’t stay good over the next five years. There remains a risk that this flurry of improvement projects will fade into memory, allowing dysfunctional CX practices and processes to revert back to their old ways.
To keep that from happening, companies need to do more than fix broken customer journeys or re-design average ones. They need to increase their level of CX maturity by creating self-sustaining systems (human and technological) in each of the six disciplines that characterize great CX companies – strategy, customer understanding, design, measurement, governance and culture. But are they?
In my last report, Standardize Great Customer Experience Delivery, I look at how companies create, share and assess customer experience standards. Done well, CX standards prevent avoidable customer experience mistakes, ensure consistent experience delivery, and set a high bar for customer experience quality.
But bad CX standards are worse than no standards at all.
Unfortunately, customer experience professionals can make current problems worse — and even cause new problems — when they create the wrong CX standards. Remember the infamous Comcast customer-service call from the summer? That was, in part, caused by a bad CX standard. Comcast created a standard for its call center reps that requires them to capture a specific reason why a customer is cancelling his or her service before moving forward in their scripts. Back in July, a customer recorded his agonizing attempt to cancel without providing a reason and then posted it online — where it was listened to by millions, creating a public relations nightmare.
But don’t give up on CX standards.
To craft the right standards, CX professionals should identify which parts of the experience need standards, create effective standards that strike an appropriate balance, socialize and reinforce the standards with all employees, and measure the impact of standards on customer and business metrics to confirm that they work.
Mobile is drastically changing consumers’ behaviors and expectations. Forrester calls this phenomenon the mobile mind shift: the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need. While the mobile mind shift is global in nature, it’s most profound here in Asia Pacific (AP): By 2020, 4.3 billion people globally will have a mobile subscription and more than half of them will be in AP. Organizations must take advantage of this and catapult their business to new heights — or risk becoming irrelevant in the eyes of these technology-empowered customers.
Forrester has developed a framework to help eBusiness and channel strategy professionals prepare their organizations for the mobile mind shift that we call the IDEA framework. This is a systematic approach to developing mobile experiences for customers relevant to their context and entails:
(I)dentifying mobile moments and their context. A mobile moment is any time a person pulls out a mobile device to get what s/he wants immediately, in context. To understand your customers’ mobile moments, identify their needs, motivations, and context. Forrester recommends using customer journey maps for this step.
(D)esigning the mobile engagement. Use these results as an input when designing the mobile engagement. The design should match your business objectives and your customer’s motivation in each moment. The key is to incorporate contextual information into the design language of the app so that it is easy for your customers to interact with you in their mobile moments.
On August 20, the company’s 10th anniversary in China, Amazon announced a strategic cooperation with the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) and Shanghai Information Investment. The agreement ensures the direct delivery of millions of products from Amazon sites across the globe to Chinese customers and will allow small and medium-size Chinese enterprises to conveniently export their products to Amazon customers around the world.
With the already fierce competition in China’s eCommerce market ramping up, eCommerce players are scrambling to find ways to increase their competitiveness. After 10 years of operating in China, Amazon has found its new growth opportunity: cross-border eCommerce. The overabundance of middlemen in China’s traditional retail industry has driven up retail prices, especially for imports — so online retailing of imported goods via a large-scale eCommerce platform confers tremendous price advantages. Amazon aims to provide the best cross-border shopping experience for all of its customers — both in China and around the world. Amazon will invest and locate its cross-border eCommerce platform in the SFTZ and establish a logistics and warehouse center there; goods from Amazon’s overseas sites and vendors will enter China through the SFTZ. Amazon has a few key competitive advantages over other cross-border eCommerce vendors by offering:
A vast selection of products at competitive prices. Amazon will introduce more than 13,000 product items from 27 countries and focus on four major categories: international boutique, fashion, smart devices, and kitchenware. Consumers will have a vast selection of imported goods from Amazon’s platform. The scale of Amazon’s global operations gives it an unassailable price advantage over both online vendors and traditional retailers.
I get just as excited as the next analyst about the latest and greatest startup. But you know what? There’s something extra cool about a brand that’s been around since 1864, and yet runs neck-and-neck with Amazon in our UK customer experience rankings.
As we near the event, Andrew graciously answered some of our most pressing questions about the why and how of John Lewis’ famous service experience – which is all the more impressive given their brand promise: “Never Knowingly Undersold.” (Translation: Great customer experience doesn’t have to mean high prices.)
I hope you enjoy his responses and I look forward to seeing some of you in London!
Q: When did John Lewis first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
John Lewis has had a long-term focus on what we would previously have termed “Customer Service” dating back to our founding principles from 1864. More recently the advent of Omni-Channel retailing with all of its inherent demands has caused us to revisit these principles and redouble our efforts to provide a truly world class customer experience.
Recently, I spoke with the CEO of a company who grumbled about the dozens of calls he receives from salespeople each week that land in his voicemail. He told me, “They clearly don’t even understand what business we’re in” and “They should know that their subject was for a person three layers below me.” When conducting a workshop on aligning their sales force with executive buyers later the same day, it was interesting to discover that this company’s own inside sales team has a performance metric of making a minimum of 100 outbound calls to targeted executive buyers per rep per day.
Does your company understand your buyers and how they want to be engaged?
When your salespeople are good enough — or lucky enough — to gain a meeting with an executive-level buyer, it’s a precious opportunity to create a revenue opportunity. Yet executive buyers tell us that only 20% of the salespeople they meet with are successful in achieving their expectations and creating value. Only one in four of these salespeople get agreement from executive buyers to meet again. Following are executive buyer responses to the question, “Are vendor salespeople frequently prepared for your meetings in the following ways?”:
As global eCommerce players like Alibaba and Rocket Internet have made headlines in recent weeks, there has been much focus on how eCommerce is emerging around the globe. While a lot of the media coverage has looked at the specific operations of these two players, it’s important to note some of the trends that are powering growth in emerging eCommerce markets. Below are two themes we discuss in our research — and one more that keeps rearing its head in the media:
If traditional retail stores don’t meet rising consumer demand, eCommerce will fill the void. In some emerging markets, the nature of the traditional retail market left consumers particularly ripe for eCommerce. In markets like China and India — which have highly fragmented traditional retail landscapes and few retailers with nationwide footprints — consumers in smaller cities have traditionally had little access to global brands. This situation leaves an opportunity wide open as the growing number of middle-class consumers seek out access to a greater variety of products. Even as eCommerce revenues have soared across Asia, few traditional retailers have been quick to embrace the new medium. Today, eCommerce in many countries across the region is almost completely dominated by Web-only players.
A year ago, I blogged about the fact that the app economy was blurring the lines and opening up new opportunities, with a lot of new entrants in the mobile space, be it with mobile CRM and analytics, store analytics, dedicated gaming analytics, etc.
Since 2010, more than 40 companies have raised about $500 million in that space! Watch it closely – consolidation will continue, as evidenced recently by Yahoo’s acquisition of Flurry.
While a lot of innovation is happening on the supply-side, too many marketers have not defined the metrics they’ll use to measure the success of their mobile initiatives. Many lack the tools they need to deeply analyze traffic and behaviors to optimize their performance.
Fifty-seven percent of marketers we surveyed do not have defined mobile objectives. For those who do, goals are not necessarily clearly defined, prioritized, and quantified. Only 38% of marketers surveyed use a mobile analytics solution! Most marketers consider mobile as a loyalty channel: a way to improve customer engagement and increase satisfaction. Marketers must define precisely what they expect their customers to do on their mobile websites or mobile apps, and what actions they would like customers to take, before tracking progress. Too many marketers focus on traffic and app downloads rather than usage and time spent. While 30% of marketers surveyed consider increasing brand awareness as a key objective for their mobile initiatives, only 16% have defined it as a key metric to measure their success!
Forrester has been analyzing device adoption since the launch of its Consumer Technographics® studies in 1997. Over the years, it has become evident that although demographics and attitudes influence technology adoption, these elements alone do not predict consumer behavior – subtle factors like context and psychological needs must be taken into account to piece together the technology adoption prediction puzzle. This is because of two essential contradictions that exist between:
What consumers say they will do and what they actually do: The concept of introspection illusion reveals the discrepancy between stated intent and subsequent behavior. Consumers are bad predictors of their own technology adoption patterns and are often conservative when estimating their own device usage.
What consumers say they want and what they really want: As Steve Jobs famously put it, “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” And even then, consumers might not recognize the benefits of the product – needs are transient, circumstantial, and often conflicting.
As social media adoption continues to grow in Asia Pacific (AP), so too does marketers’ spending on social advertising. Forrester’s just-published Asia Pacific Social Media Advertising Spending Forecast, 2014 To 2019 report projects that social media ad spending will continue its rapid growth over the next five years. In this period, marketing leaders in Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea will increase their investment in advertising on social media (excluding mobile messaging apps) at a 21.6% compound annual growth rate, reaching $5.8 billion by 2019. The rapid pace of growth is mainly due to:
Low market maturity coupled with a large and active social media population. Collective social ad spending in these five AP markets end up being less than half of that in the US in 2014. The maturity of the AP social ad market is low considering the large numbers of people in the region who use social media, and as this market matures it will grow faster than in the US.
Increasing social media consumption will continue to boost ad spending. The percentage of the online population using social media in the five AP markets will increase by double digits from 2014 to 2019. Forrester projects that further Internet adoption will bring even more consumption of social media.