Insights from Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum

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While customer experiences are generally improving, truly great experiences are still rare. As customer expectations also become more demanding, the customer experience can make the difference for gaining and retaining customers. So what can a company do to take the lead? To address this question, top analysts and thought leaders gathered in New York to share insights at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum East.

Throughout the forum, speakers called on organizations to remove silos and integrate digital to meet the evolving needs of customers. Only when a digital mindset is embedded into the company’s core culture can companies begin to deliver experiences that delight and provide value to customers.

Forrester Analyst, Tony Costa, pointed to Wells Fargo as a prime example of a company able to individualizes the experience for every customer. Wells Fargo’s new ATM interface dynamically updates based on the user’s transaction history, quickly providing them with the services they are most likely looking to use.

While data and research are essential to understanding your customer, alone they are not enough. Every second, 40,000 searches are queried on Google, 7,000 tweets are sent on Twitter, and over 1,000 photos are uploaded to Instagram. Under this mountain of data, the key is to know what information to extract and how to generate meaningful insights from it.

“It is impossible to design for all people,” declared John Maeda during his presentation, The Power of Great Design. The growing reach of context-aware analytics, smartphones, social media, and sensors means customer insights can be obtained online, in-store, and everywhere in between. But as it has become easier for companies to access customer data, firms are still struggling to respond in real-time in meaningful ways. But according to Forrester, only 15% of business leaders say that they have the skills and capabilities to accomplish their digital strategy.

So how can businesses get to insights about how to design for a meaningful and delightful customer experience? Designers need to be brought in and part of conducting research and understanding the customer’s journey. Olof Schybergson, Fjord’s CEO, co-presented with Acquity Group about the power of “Going Native” and really immersing designers in the experience at hand. Empathetic designers become advocates for the customer and are more passionate and connected to the challenge they are solving for. For example, while designing the adidas miCoach smartwatch, the Fjord team literally put on their running shoes and ran many miles in the customer’s shoes. The team was able to uncover pain points from runners around wanting to disconnect, leave their phone behind, and just focus on the road. This allowed us to design a smartwatch experience that provides runners with glanceable or non-visual feedback, such as haptic or audio coaching. In addition, the watch allows runners to stream music via Bluetooth from the watch, avoiding the need to carry a phone or MP3 player.

Ultimately, a sea of data about your customer and your service experience is not enough to produce a customer-centric culture. To design for leading customer experiences, organizations need to build a clear understanding for who their target customer is, be digital at their core, and bring designers into the process from the very beginning.

Photo of Fjord and Acquity Group presenting “Going Native” by Eric Yale @ericyale

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