3 key takeaways from Forrester CXSF 2016 for CX professionals

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I was fortunate to attend the recent Forrester CXSF show in San Francisco.  As I spoke with customers and analysts, and listened to the keynote presentations, I found emerging commonality across three main themes:

1) Mobile is a mainstay
Mobile as a de facto customer engagement channel has been a theme for years, but what struck me from the CXSF was its acceleration in terms of interaction volume, sophistication and opportunity to monetize.

One Forrester analyst coined the term “landmarks” to describe the critical moments that matter in the customer journey.

It was clear at CXSF that dealing with mobile landmarks is the key to the future of customer engagement. Mobile apps in particular are taking over as an engagement channel.

According to one Forrester study, mobile drives a higher CX index score than desktop websites, which wasn’t by itself that surprising.

What was surprising to me is that based on the Forrester CX index that measures “effectiveness”, “ease” and “emotion” of a customer experience – mobile rated slightly higher than desktop on “effectiveness” and “ease”, but significantly higher on “emotion”.



In one study that examined airlines, the CX index “emotion” score for mobile was 14% higher than desktop.

There is a whole body of work on how eliciting a positive emotional connection with customers leads to retention, advocacy and increased lifetime value.

If companies can excel and differentiate during mobile “landmarks” to elicit positive emotion from their customers, significant positive business impact is sure to follow. But the opposite is also true.

The mobile ecosystem is becoming increasingly complex. Here’s a guide to how OpinionLab can help uncover actionable insight that enables you to make great emotional connections with your mobile customer.

2) CX is a business priority
Customer experience has been a buzzword at many past Forrester conferences, but what struck me at CXSF was the connection being made between CX and quantifiable business value.

According to a recent KPMG CEO survey presented at CXSF, 88% of CEOs surveyed are concerned about customer loyalty and 63% admit they are challenged to keep up with changing customer needs.

Topline growth is top priority for any CEO, and one study shared onstage at CXSF showed that if a company over delivers on CX it experiences an immediate return on investment, but if a company under delivers on CX it will experience a drastic drop in customer loyalty.

Some tips were shared on how to connect CX initiatives to measurable business value:

  • Manage by metrics
  • Recognize benefits potential
  • Gain clarity on cost
  • Align line organization support for success

In another conversation about monetizing CX, the advice was given to understand the value of your customer on a micro-level (versus a macro level) and be adaptable in your CX initiatives.

OpinionLab provides the real-time customer insight to help on both counts. Here’s how.

3) CX innovation is accelerating
There was a lot of CX future vision being shared at CXSF.

To cut through the hype, several major brands discussed how they assess CX innovation.

Amazon stated they use data when they have it, and when they don’t they use judgment. Amazon’s advice when innovating: don’t be afraid to fail.



OpinionLab customer Expedia provided an overview of their future lab where they are doing some cutting edge work to innovate in the digital space. Their approach in their future lab: test and measure and get to “final” fast, but at the end of the day innovation decisions are “all about the data”.

Similarly, Mastercard spoke about how they think about CX innovation. Their advice: bring creativity and design thinking into the process. And, to drive CX transformation, don’t map a future state; design a future state (you can read more about that on a previous CX LabNotes blog). This philosophy combined with quick prototyping and measuring, enabled Master card to move from CX fixes to CX innovation.

Rounding out the theme of accelerating CX innovation was a significant amount of time dedicated to Artificial Intelligence.

With expanding data accessibility, improved voice recognition and increasing computational power, chatbots and virtual assistants were touted as an emerging trend in customer engagement (including a humanoid robot designed to engage customers at retail point of sale).

It’s not clear which of the CX innovations discussed at CXSF will deliver near-term value, but what is clear is the rate of CX innovation is accelerating as more and more major players seek to differentiate and compete on the basis of CX.

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