Harley Manning kicked off the last day of the Forrester Customer Experience Forum by reviewing some of the key takeaways from the day before, and this AWESOME song recorded by Ed Hadley and his team at Neolane:
The presentations yesterday spent a lot of time on design, governance and culture. While a very important part of managing the customer experience, simply understanding your customers is only half the battle. Exceptional customer experiences don't happen by accident. They're deliberately designed. We saw that with Navy Federal Credit Union, Office Depot, FedEx, AT&T and Rosetta Stone this week. Each of these organizations have spent a lot of time focusing on the design of the customer journey and finding ways to improve the cross-channel experience.
There are more channels in play than there ever were before. Customer behavior is changing more rapidly than it has since we've started measuring it. With these behavior changes, what customers expect is also changing. They want a unified experience that's customized, aggergated and relevant to them—no matter what channel they're on. Millenials change channels between 17-27 times per hour, on average. That's a lot to unify. Particularly when you need to remember the "white space" as Laurie Tucker, Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing at FedEx, called it. The white space is the part of the customer journey that exists between two departments, such as sales and billing. Things go wrong in this space because no one pays attention to it or owns it. FedEx had a problem with white space, but it wasn't until the CX team went to the two departments did it become a focus. Both departments wanted to fix it, but never took the time to connect. So as you think about your customer experience design, make sure you don't forget about the whitespace!
Ron Rogowski, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester, reminded us we have to operate in the digital world as it is now—not how we want it to be. We can't live in the past any more. FedEx is striving to deliver a seamless experience cross-channel. AT&T takes a mobile first approach, because if they can design an experience for a finger to glass engagement (mobile), everything else is easier. They want it to be effortless.
If you design excellent a customer experience the profits will come. Organizations in Forrester's CXI Leaders grew 22.5% compared to the S&P 500 at negative 1.3% last year. Customer experience leads to profits, but only if you treat it as a discipline. But you also need the governance in place. Megan Burns, Principal Analyst serving Enterprise Customer Experience Professionals at Forrester, compared governance to risk mitigation. We can do it now, or we can pay later. However, don't just start making policy changes and expect people to follow along. You need to coach the organization. You can't just hand them a swiss army knife and duct tape and expect them to be Customer Experience McGyvers.
How do you coach the organziation? One of Kerry Bodine's, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester, six principles of mastering customer experience is culture. She shared a case study from John Deere Financial where they created a change agent program. This group was created to drive adoption through the enterprise. Change agents are trained on customer experience and the customer, then expected to take that back to their departments and help affect change. It helps the culture as well as adherance to governance policies because the entire organization has a better understanding of the customer. I really liked how Laurie talked about making sure your employes know why they come to work. Customers do business with organizations they can identify with the mission, vision and purpose. So as you weav your way to customer experience maturity, revisit your mision (your WHAT), vision (your WHERE) and purpose (your WHY).
Improving customer experience is driven by employees with a passion to serve (and believe in what they are doing). You have to hire the right people, people you trust, and keep them. Invest the time to train and empower frontline employees. Rebuild their trust by demonstrating success from customer experience investments. When you're showing success, remember numbers rarely inspire the masses. Instead, they need stories! This part is hard. That's why Paul Hagen told us to expect to spend up to 50% of our time evangelizing the need for customer experience. You should strive to be more like FedEx where 99.9% isn't good enough. Or Cisco who believes the best customer services is no customer service experience (because it's not needed). Customers don't always know what they want until you innovate and give it to them, but they always know what they don't want when you fail.
The key is to continue to take an Outside In approach to customer experience and continue adopting, collecting feedback and revising. First step, figure out where you currently stand. Kerry suggested figuring out where you are on MARS:
- Missing. "We don't do this at all."
- Ad Hoc. "We do this, but there's little rhyme or reason as to when."
- Repeatable. "We have a process that defines when to do this, and we follow it most of the time."
- Systematic. "We have a process that defines when to do this, and we follow it all the time.
Once you know where you are, you can start improving. Survey customers, collect feedback. Then transform. This will keep problems from happening so you never get to the point where you need to conduct a dissatisfaction survey like FedEx did. From there, sustain. This relies heavily on your culture. According to Kerry, this is the path to customer expereince maturity. And as Andrew McInnes so thoughtfully put it in a tweet, #CX is maturing because we can now use plain business language to discuss it—less hand waving required. We just need to treat it as a business practice.
What were your biggest takeaways from this week? I'd love to hear your thoughts!