As 2010 draws to a close, what are the key trends that customer management process professionals need to pay attention to as you finalize plans for next year?
Here are the top trends that I am tracking. My full report that spotlights our latest research will be published in January.
Trend 1: The Revenue Impact Of Poor Customer Experience Is Recognized
Our models estimate that the revenue impact from a 10 percentage point improvement in a company’s performance, as measured by Forrester’s Customer Experience Index Score (CxPi), could be in excess of a billion dollars. Poor performers are particularly weak in being able to orchestrate multi-channel interactions.
Trend 2: Business Process Management Extends To The Front Office
By extending business process management (BPM) to the front office functions, customer service organizations will improve the consistency of service delivered, elevate agent efficiency, personalize service, and meet compliance goals — at a cost that makes sense to the business.
Trend 3: The Business Value of Social Customer Engagement Becomes More Evident
Winners of Forrester’s annual Groundswell Award spotlight how organizations are using Social Computing to innovate, such as: community-based marketing research techniques; engaging with customers through social media; energizing brand advocates; empowering communities to support customer self-service; and, collaborating with customers during the product ideation and development process.
Trend 4: The Hidden Costs of Sales-Enablement Become Intolerable
Random and poorly managed sales support resources drive unneeded cost while also contributing to overburdening the salesforce. More companies will adopt Forrester’s planning framework to understand the right combination of sales initiatives, marketing programs, and leadership excellence (SIMPLE) required to systematically transform random acts of sales support into an efficient selling system.
Trend 5: Demand Generation Evolves Into The Lead-To-Revenue-Management Process
More enterprises will redefine the concept of demand generation and embrace the idea of “lead-to-revenue management” (L2RM) as the model for an expanded mandate for marketing in “complex-sale” industries. The L2RM model has three principles: 1) the end-goal is revenue, not leads; 2) nurturing and qualification processes fill the gap that typically exists between lead generation and the sales process; and, 3) marketing is an integral part of the entire revenue management process — its role does not end with lead generation.
Trend 6: eCommerce Integrates with CRM, BI and OMS
The Web will to continue to evolve from a standalone satellite of the business to a central hub for marketing to, transacting with, and servicing customers. Robust eCommerce solutions will be tied into customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, business intelligence (BI) solutions, and centralized order management systems (OMS).
Trend 7: Voice of The Customer Programs Rise In Importance
More organizations will adopt the best practices exhibited by the winners of Forrester’s 2010 Voice Of The Customer (VOC) Award. Companies with advanced VoC initiatives are: tapping unstructured and unsolicited feedback; integrating social media monitoring; harnessing the voice of the employee; and, closing the feed-back loop with customers.
Trend 8: Front-line Users Push For User-Friendly Customer Data Analysis Tools
Business intelligence professionals that support customer-facing business processes will be pressed to provide more “self-service” BI tools. These are tools that enable customer-facing workers in marketing, sales, and service to get the answers they need quickly, with less reliance on IT as the middleman.
Trend 9: Adopting Customer Data Management Best Practices Remains A Challenge
Data management specialists will continue to be challenged in convincing business process owners to take ownership and accountability for the quality and usefulness of supporting customer data. Only when “the business” takes responsibility and accountability for the master data will customer data management efforts truly become a strategic investment that can deliver significant business value.
Trend 10: Mobile Applications Empower Customer-Facing Workers
The opportunity to deploy mobile applications to support enterprise business processes will change dramatically, particularly for CRM. Yet enterprise apps vendors are still learning the mobile apps game. Mobile applications for business users for many use cases remain in an incubation stage.
Trend 11: CRM Cost Of Ownership Models Evolve Toward Better Transparency
Packaged application vendors will yield to the demand for more cost transparency by their customers, cloud-based offerings from traditional (i.e., not pure SaaS) vendors will evolve to a managed bundle, similar to SaaS, consisting of: software usage by subscription or lease, software maintenance (e.g., compliance updates, fixes, and troubleshooting); software enhancements and upgrades; and application managed services (e.g., patching and performance tuning).
Trend 12: SaaS Buyers Turn To Advanced Questions About Governance
Organizations will recognize that SaaS is more than just an alternative deployment model; SaaS has unique characteristics that require new ways of thinking about vendor selection, contracting, risk tolerance, and organizational skill set requirements.