December 8, 2011

Major Voice Of The Customer Trends, 2011
by Andrew McInnes for Customer Experience Professionals

Making Leaders Successful Every Day

For Customer Experience Professionals December 8. To purchase reprints of this document. to April 22. All rights reserved. see Forrester’s Citation Policy located at www. 2011 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. 11 Pursue The Practices That Support Your Customer Experience Ecosystem Related Research Documents “lessons learned From The 2011 Voice Of The Customer Award Winners” August 18. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 2010 © 2011 Forrester Research. 2011 “Ten Major Voice Of The Customer Trends” September 2011. customer experience professionals should consider whether each practice will help nurture their firms’ customer experience ecosystems. Before adopting any of these practices. Inc. Information is based on best available resources. TechRankings. Forrester Wave. TAbl E O F CO n TE nTS 2 Sixteen Trends Characterize Leading-Edge VoC Programs last year’s 10 Trends remain Highly relevant 9 Six Additional Trends Have Emerged From Today’s Leading Programs rECOMMEnDATIOnS n OT E S & rE S O u r CE S Forrester accepted nominations for the 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards from March 25. We also uncovered six additional trends driving sophisticated VoC programs forward. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. remain relevant today. 2011. please email clientsupport@ forrester. Our analysis revealed that the 10 major trends observed last year. 2011 by Andrew McInnes with Elizabeth boehm and Jennifer Peterson ExECuTI V E S u M MA ry Forrester reviewed the voice of the customer (VoC) programs of the finalists from our 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards. Technographics. 2011 “The Customer Experience Ecosystem” June 22. For additional reproduction and usage information. and presented the results at Forrester’s 2011 Customer Experience Forum in new york. including emphasizing the business value of VoC activities and bringing insights to life for back-office employees. and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research. Inc. RoleView. .com. such as analyzing unstructured data and harnessing the voice of the employee.forrester. Forrester. Reproduction or sharing of this content in any form without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.

meeting with each one to discuss survey results and develop action plans. To better understand these practices. Software tools such as text analytics continue to help leading VoC programs efficiently mine freeform customer comments for insight. It also uncovered six additional trends helping VoC programs succeed in 2011. review other customer data for validation. so it’s no surprise that leading VoC programs have continued to integrate with social listening activities.000 monthly inbound emails. or unsolicited sources. reproduction Prohibited . and route issues to the most appropriate people to develop action plans (see Figure 2). 4. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals SIxTEEn TREnDS CHARACTERIzE LEADIng-EDgE VoC PRogRAMS Companies with sophisticated VoC programs share a variety of leading-edge best practices. such as surveys. Inc. 3. those trends remain important characteristics of leading VoC programs.2 This year.1 Our analysis revealed that the 10 trends we observed last year remain highly relevant. Rather than craft solutions behind closed doors.000 monthly post-flight surveys as well as its 30. Integrating social media monitoring. Adobe Systems invites customers to participate in an online idea community to help identify and prioritize solutions (see Figure 3). Nearly all of this year’s finalists use some form of text analytics to analyze unstructured comments from solicited sources.3 For example. Customers continue to increase their commentary about brands online. Forrester research. Tapping unstructured and unsolicited feedback. such as inbound emails and tweets. more December 8. JetBlue Airways uses text analytics to categorize and report on open-ended comments from its 50. we reviewed the VoC programs of the finalists from Forrester’s 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards (see Figure 1). Today. This year’s finalists also solicit feedback from their employees. 2011 © 2011. For example. the finalists from our VoC awards embraced 10 major trends. Benefits include access to richer customer insight and an opportunity to spot emerging issues that the company hasn’t asked customers about directly. Harnessing the voice of the employee. They are: 1. It also engages thousands of customers in prerelease programs to take the guesswork out of product design. Symantec takes a more individualized approach with its large business-to-business (B2B) clients. Last Year’s 10 Trends Remain Highly Relevant In 2010. VoC leaders at Ceridian and OpenText actively monitor discussions on social networking sites and blogs to spot overall trends and opportunities to intervene with specific customers. 2. Inviting customers into the design process. leading VoC programs invite customers to add their opinions to product and service design processes. JetBlue’s VoC team collaborates with its Twitter customer service group to identify hot topics. Ceridian uses customer advisory boards that meet regularly via phone and in person to prioritize and guide improvement projects.2 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. Vanguard’s employee suggestion program generated more than 900 ideas from more than 500 participants in just nine months — and in just one department.

Several of the other finalists tie variable compensation to satisfaction or Net Promoter Score (NPS) at various levels. While many firms still struggle to prioritize actions based on VoC data. At Intel. The most common way for firms to systematically combine key data sets is to append additional fields to survey responses. Consolidating data collection and analysis. EMC handles these activities through a special program office reporting directly to the chief executive officer (CEO) and supporting all departments and lines of business. This tactic has helped engage people in the program during its early days and focus them on the value of feedback. For example.5 Similarly. 9. Sophisticated VoC programs have continued to consolidate data collection and analysis responsibilities within their organizations. regardless of its content. Pitney Bowes also closes the loop with customer-facing employees by routing alerts to managers who then coach on customer-identified improvement areas and give kudos based on customers’ feedback. For example. Aligning employee objectives with VoC metrics. leading programs use effective models to avoid analysis paralysis. Responding to customers who provide negative feedback has become table stakes for most companies. EMC plots loyalty drivers on a simple matrix based on their importance to customers and current performance levels according to customers.6 Symantec took a different approach with its salespeople by rewarding high response rates rather than high scores. operational data. aircraft type. reproduction Prohibited December 8. Closing the loop on customer feedback. and time of day to each customer’s post-flight survey response. JetBlue appends information such as flight and seat number. leading to a variety of customer and employee experience improvements. such as fixing specific broken TVs or retraining staff on problematic flight routes. all customized based on account type and region (see Figure 6). Fidelity uses customer feedback. VoC programs can provide a new level of insight when combined with data from other enterprise systems. 6. Vanguard centralized its © 2011. they tend to use it. Prioritizing improvement areas more methodically. Intel sends written and video messages to all clients asked to provide feedback to review overall VoC findings and describe intended solutions. Linking customer feedback to other business data. That allows the VoC team to more effectively assess the root causes of dissatisfaction and make operational improvements. Inc. 8. identifying the most important — and broken — moments of truth (see Figure 4). Leading firms continue to tie employee compensation to VoC-based metrics. and employee insights to pinpoint touchpoints that matter to both customers and the business and that also have significant opportunity for improvement (see Figure 5).4 5. OpenText and Fidelity also conduct regular employee engagement surveys to take advantage of the link between employee experience and customer experience.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 3 than 400 of those ideas have been implemented. but this year’s finalists have gone further with their closed-loop activities. 7. 2011 . Once salespeople have feedback and understand its value. For example. every employee earns two extra days’ worth of pay when customer delight reaches the target goal for the year. Forrester research.

7 Symantec makes VoC more actionable for salespeople by integrating it into existing account planning processes.4 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. and save time and money by creating process and technology efficiencies. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals efforts into a companywide client insight group comprised of roughly 100 people who design market research. Business impact 4. analyze and synthesize data. For example. Figure 1 Details Of Forrester’s 2011 VoC Awards Evaluation criteria 1. To that end. Because every employee ultimately affects the experience delivered by a company. Widening access to data and making it more actionable. Pitney Bowes and Fidelity use the role-based reporting capabilities of their enterprise feedback management (EFM) systems to automatically tailor dashboards. encourage adoption by giving employees a one-stop shop for customer insight. reports. December 8. the programs we reviewed make VoC data widely available. Customer experience impact 3. Inc. 10. reproduction Prohibited . Lessons for other firms Finalists • Adobe Systems • Ceridian • EMC • Fidelity Investments • Intel • JetBlue Airways • OpenText • Pitney Bowes • Symantec • Vanguard Winners • Adobe Systems • Fidelity Investments • JetBlue Airways 58929 Source: Forrester Research. They also make insights relevant for individual audiences to encourage meaningful adoption. such as by creating online portals for customer insights. Inc. These consolidations improve analysis by enabling better linkage between data sources. 2011 © 2011. Clarity of approach 2. Degree of innovation 5. whether that person is a frontline associate or a senior executive. Forrester research. leading VoC programs help make customer experience everyone’s responsibility. and make recommendations to each part of the business. and action alerts for each recipient.

© 2011. Forrester research. 2011 58929 Source: Forrester Research. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 5 Figure 2 Jetblue’s Twitter Hot Topic report Source: Crowdbooster Twitter analytics.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. March 15-April 15. Inc. reproduction Prohibited December 8. 2011 . Inc.

Source: Adobe Systems website 58929 Source: Forrester Research. and vote for submissions from other people. reproduction Prohibited . Forrester research. Inc. 2011 © 2011.6 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. Inc. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals Figure 3 A Series Of Posts On Adobe’s Idea Site Customers can post and tag their own ideas as well as review. comment on. December 8.

adapted by Forrester Research 58929 Source: Forrester Research. Inc. Inc. 2011 . Impact on customer High © 2011. Forrester research.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 7 Figure 4 EMC’s Framework For Prioritizing Customer Experience Improvement Areas High Maintain Promote Current performance level Invest Fix Low Low Source: EMC. reproduction Prohibited December 8.

Inc. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals Figure 5 Fidelity’s “Moments That Matter” Prioritization Framework Source: Fidelity Investments 58929 Source: Forrester Research. Forrester research.8 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. Inc. 2011 © 2011. reproduction Prohibited . December 8.

OpenText pays extra attention to its highest-value customers. The 2011 finalists have taken this idea to heart.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. Ceridian executives periodically visit key customers to discuss concerns and gather suggestions. Similarly. EMC aligns its data collection methods to respondents’ title levels. Executives provide feedback through in-person discussions. reproduction Prohibited December 8. who represent four specific personas. this year’s leaders have embraced the following six trends to further advance their programs: 1. Inc. © 2011. and end users through event-triggered online surveys. 2011 . managers through periodic online surveys. SIx ADDITIonAL TREnDS HAVE EMERgED FRoM ToDAY’S LEADIng PRogRAMS In addition to the 10 best-practice areas shared with last year’s VoC award finalists. Inc. and not all customers have the same value to a company. Forrester research. Not all customers want to provide feedback in the same way or about the same issues. Tailoring VoC activities for specific customer segments. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 9 Figure 6 Example Of Intel’s Closed-loop Customer Communications Source: Intel 58929 Source: Forrester Research. which then feed into the overall VoC process. through one-hour in-depth interviews done in addition to regular surveys. For example.

Vanguard takes a similar approach by teaming up market research. To further incorporate VoC insights into daily operations. today’s leading VoC programs also prove the business value of the activities that they directly drive. Intel relies on a designated program representative within each organization to lead the feedback review and improvement process in that area. Pitney Bowes surveyed customers who had designated themselves as likely to leave the company and then received December 8. other roles can offer valuable expertise to help effectively collect. Adobe makes the customer experience personal for executives by taking them through daylong immersion exercises. and analytics teams within its centralized customer insight department. 3. One common approach is to measure the impact of closing the loop with individual customers. VoC. Nearly all of this year’s finalists have linked customer feedback to loyalty and revenue to prove the business impact of customer experience. Measuring the value of an improved customer experience in general. 4. Bringing the VoC to life for back-office employees.10 Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. Aligning key functions around VoC insight and action. While customer experience professionals often take the lead in VoC programs. 2011 © 2011. These overall linkages help maintain momentum for customer experience efforts and project the financial returns associated with changes in customer perceptions. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 2. and act on customer insights. Similarly. These embedded evangelists ease the burden on centralized VoC teams and make the feedback process more relevant for specific parts of the business. These efforts help employees understand the human impact of their decisions. Members of Vanguard’s Swiss Army. Fidelity’s customer experience group partners with its market insights department to manage the research aspects of VoC. Building networks of VoC champions. Forrester research. Likewise. Symantec has Sales Loyalty Champions within each region to lead the process and encourage participation at the ground level. where they attempt common customer tasks and mingle with frontline employees. connect directly with customers by answering calls and processing transactions during peak times.000 crew members including the CEO. For example. EMC aligns its VoC activities with Lean Six Sigma processes and tools. Analysts at Adobe combined historical purchase and upgrade data with survey data and found that customers with the highest feedback scores also had the greatest lifetime values. in addition to their main business responsibilities. with the support of the firm’s centralized program management team. 5. Differences in lifetime value between customers with the lowest and highest feedback scores ranged from 43% among retail customers to a whopping 288% among key business accounts. a group of roughly 1. several of this year’s finalists have built networks of VoC champions across their companies. Both firms also partner VoC practitioners with business process experts to help identify root causes of customer issues and develop solutions. reproduction Prohibited . Because customer experience improvements can come from many places within a company. Inc. Proving the value of the VoC program specifically. In addition to their many analytical activities. analyze. and they often act as catalysts for change. 6. today’s leading VoC programs also appeal to employees’ emotions. For example. such as survey design and sampling methods.

To focus on the most important employees in your customer experience ecosystem. if you identify salespeople as essential players. make sure that each new VoC practice helps address a key moment of truth for customers. Pointing to these specific returns helps VoC programs get the recognition they deserve and keep their seats at the executive table. Smart program managers should consider why key players in the ecosystem don’t currently do everything they can to improve the customer experience. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 11 immediate intervention through its closed-loop VoC process. if your customers value their interactions with your company on Twitter — or they provide feedback about other moments of truth on the site — then invest in tools to monitor and mine those conversations. JetBlue measured a 10% decrease in complaints about delayed flights after implementing an on-the-spot apology process launched in response to customer feedback. then create an emotional catalyst for change by bringing the VoC to life. reproduction Prohibited December 8. each practice addresses: · Customer moments of truth. Companies shouldn’t either. For example. 57% of those customers had become likely to stay. For example. and 13% had become neutral. If employees understand the value but don’t feel compelled to act.10 Then consider whether new VoC practices directly support those employees with the insight they need to improve the customer experience. then make sure that dashboards and reports have highly relevant and timely insight for that audience. r E C O M M E n D AT I O n S PuRSuE THE PRACTICES THAT SuPPoRT YouR CuSToMER ExPERIEnCE ECoSYSTEM The finalists from Forrester’s 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards offer a number of ideas for other customer experience professionals to consider. Forrester research. Instead. · Barriers to making positive improvements. start with customer moments of truth and work inward — identifying the frontline and back-office employees who affect those moments. and establish mechanisms to harness the voices of salespeople themselves. or whether. They should then pursue new VoC activities that will address those barriers. focus first on mapping common customer journeys to identify those moments before investing in additional VoC efforts.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. If your firm hasn’t clearly defined customers’ moments of truth. © 2011. but not every practice is right — or realistic — for every VoC program. then focus your attention elsewhere. Evaluate each practice in light your own firm’s customer experience ecosystem. If not. then work on linking customer feedback to financials in order to prove that value. Inc.8 In particular. VoC programs need to influence employee behavior in order to have a large-scale impact. and start aligning recognition and rewards with customer feedback scores. if employees don’t believe in the value of an improved customer experience. For example. 2011 . Customers don’t place equal importance on all of their interactions with companies. Post-intervention.9 · Employees who affect those moments. consider how. For example. Several of the other finalists track the impact of the broader improvements they help initiate. court champions in sales.

and alignment of existing quality metrics with customer feedback scores. See the September 17. Forrester research. See the June 20. business impact. JetBlue Airways.” Andrew McInnes’ Blog For Customer Experience Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. refer to the post about the results. the use of social channels to complain increased by 50%. Fidelity Investments. 2011 (http://blogs. “How The Voice Of The Employee Empowers Customer Experience Efforts” report. EFM solutions help customer experience professionals manage the inherent complexities of large-scale VoC programs by centralizing and automating essential VoC activities. Source: Forrester Research (www. We evaluated each nomination based on five criteria: clarity of approach. Fidelity Investments. Source: Andrew McInnes. For more information on the Awards themselves. Satmetrix Systems (http://www. OpenText. “Updated 2011: How Consumers Complain About Poor Service” report. To help customer experience professionals find the right solutions for them. Satmetrix Systems and Allegiance also demonstrated solid software and services for enterprise customer experience 3 4 5 6 7 December 8.aspx?q=Net+Promoter). Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data tracks how consumers complain about poor service. consolidation of surveys. See the March 22. each judge selected a top three. Each of five judges graded each nomination. with almost a quarter of consumers who got bad service in 2010 saying that they complained about it via social media. Highlights include EMC’s centralization of customer feedback efforts. Source: Bain (http://www. From this list. Ceridian. Many also have the influence to quickly improve customer experience at the ground level through frontline interactions and behind-the-scenes decisions. 2011. They were: Adobe Systems. See the January 28. Fred Reichheld. 2 We documented 10 trends from the 2010 VoC award The three firms with the most votes were named as winners. We found that Medallia and MarketTools led the pack with comprehensive software solutions and compelling product plans. Symantec.bain. June 22. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals EnDnoTES 1 Forrester received more than 40 nominations for the 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards. “Ten Major Voice Of The Customer Trends” report. Customer experience professionals should draw on employees’ insight and influence to feed two key activities: improving customer experiences and building customer-centric culture. Between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010.forrester. we identified six EFM vendors that specialize in customer satisfaction and loyalty work and evaluated their offerings based on 76 criteria. and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain. For more information on the finalists and winners. Employees have a wealth of insight about both customers and internal operations. 2011 © 2011. com/andrew_mcinnes/11-06-22-results_of_forresters_2011_voice_of_the_customer_awards). refer to Forrester’s Voice Of The Customer Awards page. reproduction Prohibited . 2011. customer experience impact.satmetrix. Inc. Net Promoter Score. “B2B Case Study: EMC Puts The Voice Of The Customer At The Center Of Its Business” report. Net Promoter.forrester. degree of innovation. and lessons provided for other firms. 2010. 2011. and JetBlue Airways. EMC. Forrester documented EMC’s VoC practices in greater detail in a dedicated case study. and Vanguard. The 10 top-scoring firms overall were (in alphabetical order): Adobe Intel. and Satmetrix Systems. “Results Of Forrester’s 2011 Voice Of The Customer Awards. Pitney Bowes.

2) develop initial hypotheses. 4) analyze customer research. 2011. Forrester calls this complex set of relationships the customer experience ecosystem. Q3 2011” report. and perceptions. 2011. processes. To fully understand the key players and interdependencies within their own customer experience ecosystems. “The Customer Experience Ecosystem” report. enabling firms to focus their attention on those moments of truth. firms should go through an exercise called ecosystem mapping. Mapping the customer journey requires five steps: 1) Collect internal insights. This includes those parts of the ecosystem that are in plain view of customers as well as those parts that influence the customer experience from behind the scenes.Major Voice Of The Customer Trends. 9 10 © 2011. 2011 . See the June 22. See the August 15. 2011 For Customer Experience Professionals 13 leaders. while fellow Strong Performers Mindshare Technologies and Empathica showed competitive solutions for clients with narrower purviews. “Assess The Effectiveness Of Your Customer Journey Map” report. 8 To address the root causes of customer experience problems and create sustainable solutions. firms must consider the influence of every single employee and external partner on every single customer interaction. Inc. 2011. Customer journey maps help firms examine interactions from their customers’ points of view. Forrester research. and technologies that create the customer experience. and see the October 15. See the February 5. See the September 27. needs. policies. “Mapping The Customer Journey” report. “Executive Q&A: Customer Experience Ecosystem Mapping” report. “The Forrester Wave™: EFM Satisfaction And Loyalty Solutions. 3) research customer processes. Effective journey maps define which interactions customers value most. 2010. reproduction Prohibited December 8. 2010. It is a collaborative process that typically takes place in a workshop setting where teams identify and document the people. and 5) map the customer journey.

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