Back from several large industry thought leadership events including Gartner Customer360 and Forrester Customer Forum, and it seems a perfect time for another blog. Here are my thoughts on some of the highlights from Gartner Customer360 in Orlando, FL:
Digital is hot
Digital marketing was predicted to top the list of technology investments over next 5 years, outpacing even e-commerce. In fact, they declared that the CRM software market to exceed ERP software just in 2014 alone. Fueling this, there are many trends, not just tied to cost reduction, but rather deeper engagement.
Additionally, it was predicted in the keynote that “loyalty recognition will move from a post-transaction activity to one that spans the entire engagement.” We are already seeing evidence of this on our latest work with a hospitality brand that has moved their traditional card based loyalty program digital, mobile and social and they deploy as many as 9 separate customer journeys across the customer’s mobile experience – not just around the purchase.
Journey is Everywhere
You couldn’t go far without seeing the term “journey.” In fact, the exhibit hall was littered by vendors all proclaiming to solve the customer journey, with most using the term simply as the latest buzzword rather than any real substance. This is creating a lot of noise for the customers that have to deal with this.
I was struck by Ed Thompson of Gartner’s comment that if he takes 5-6 inquiry calls each day from brands, a whopping 4 out of these will be about “journey.” People are confused. Ed worked to put some definition around this in one of his sessions.
Define the “Journey”
Ed states that there are 4 flavors of what people have been getting at when they inquire about “journey”:
1. Customer life events (e.g. first job, marriage, new home, retirement)
2. Customer annual life cycle (e.g. insurance or telco contract)
3. Customer journey reinvention (e.g. What many typically mean for the Customer Experience journey mapping process. Specifically, where the customer has the first idea of the journey or need… importantly, they usually start outside of your view and then you “join in.”
**He even goes so far as to break down the 10 common attributes to successful mapping which I have summarized here below:
• Look outside-in from the customer’s view point.
• Have a timeline.
• Identify the customer touch points.
• Describe customer emotions.
• State the customer goals.
• Flag up moments of truth.
• Highlight the “stage,” “actors” and “back-stage crew.”
• Base it on feedback and research, not gut feel.
• Look at how the journey differs for different segments.
• Are visually pretty and easy to digest.
4. Customer process improvement (e.g. identifying broken processes, typically by asking them which re broken, and then trying to fix them). Employees will guess 7 out of 10 of the areas where customers view the issues are but is important to start with the customer. He cautions that as an example a customer doesn’t view an “on boarding process”, as that is your language. All of this will need to be translated.
Ed explained that (A) speed and (B) simplicity are the keys to success from both a consumer and business standpoint. Within their journeys, customers will be expecting to be notified to avoid having to ask (or find out the hard way). As an example he cites telco bill shock, shouldn’t the telco warn you that your next bill is going to look like this.
Congratulations to Gene Alvarez and all his team for running a great event. This was a solid conference and compelling companion when paired along side the Forrester “beyond the campaign” event.