Report: Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program

We just published a Temkin Group report, Renovating Your Voice of the Customer Program.

Here’s the executive summary:

Voice of the customer (VoC) programs are essential to any customer experience effort. In recent years, VoC efforts have continued to expand and support their organizations; however, going forward they will need to adapt to significant changes in data sources, technology, operational pressures, and consumer behavior. In this report, Temkin Group details how companies can propel their VoC programs into the future by:

  • Identifying Six Customer Insight Trends that will reshape VoC programs: 1) Deep Empathy, Not Stacks of Metrics; 2) Continuous Insights, Not Periodic Studies; 3) Customer Journeys, Not Isolated Interactions; 4) Useful Prescriptions, Not Past Descriptions; 5) Enterprise Intelligence, Not Customer Feedback; and 6) Mobile First, Not Mobile Responsive.
  • Sharing 30 examples that exemplify innovative VoC practices across each of the trends.
  • Helping companies lay the groundwork for VoC innovation with a description of how to drive change through three distinct stages.

For this report, we received submissions of innovative VoC practices from Confirmit, InMoment, Rant & Rave, Qualtrics, Verint, and Walker.

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Here are the best practices described in the report:

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Report: Activating Executive Commitment to CX

We just published a Temkin Group report, Activating Executive Commitment to CX. Here’s the executive summary:

Organizations that want to drive sustainable customer experience (CX) improvements need to have senior executives who are committed to propel change throughout the entire journey. Successful transformation efforts require senior executives to set the direction, lead communication efforts, model desired behaviors, align resources, and hold the rest of the organization accountable. However, CX leaders and their teams often struggle to obtain the commitment and involvement necessary from senior executives to ensure these change efforts succeed. In this report, we provide a model for how CX teams can effectively engage their senior leaders. Here are some highlights:

  • The blueprint includes six levers CX leaders can use to gain and strengthen senior executive commitment: Create Vision Clarity, Share Compelling Opportunities, Amplify Emotional Empathy, Feed Intrinsic Motivations, Enable First Steps, and Fuel Ongoing Confidence.
  • To illustrate how these levers work, we share examples of 24 best practices from companies including Anthem, CA Technologies, Cisco, Fidelity, Microsoft, Penske Truck Leasing, and Regions Bank.
  • We provide CX leaders with an assessment they can use to identify the commitment stage of their senior executives and offer advice on which of the six levers can have the greatest impact by stage.

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Here are the six levers for activating executive commitment:

  1. Create Vision Clarity. Many senior executives are enamored with the idea of customer experience, yet lack a clear picture of what CX really means for their organization. As a result, they aren’t able to persuasively advocate for the required changes. Therefore, CX teams should provide leaders with a clear understanding of where the CX efforts are heading.
  2. Share Compelling Opportunities. Senior leaders will only stay committed to a CX effort for as long as they remain convinced that it will help the organization succeed. That’s why CX leaders must continue to make and reinforce the CX business case to senior executives. This requires establishing a tangible business case and setting realistic expectations for the upside of action and the downside of inaction.
  3. Amplify Emotional Empathy. An executive who is emotionally committed to CX efforts provides a different level of support than one who is only intellectually bought-in. To gain this emotional commitment, the CX team should enhance executives’ natural empathy by bringing customers’ experiences to life for them.
  4. Feed Intrinsic Motivations. Executives are motivated by a myriad of different objectives, such as being seen as successful or reaching some self-defined goals. Intrinsic motivators – like meaning, choice, competence, and progress – can be particularly powerful levers for activating commitment. CX leaders should connect their efforts to the personal goals of executives and should make them feel good about the efforts underway.
  5. Enable First Steps. Even executives who are fully committed to the CX agenda may not know exactly what they can do to help propel the CX efforts forward, especially since they are often juggling many different priorities. It’s up to the CX leader to make it easy for the senior leaders to participate in the efforts by recommending specific, doable steps that they can take.
  6. Fuel Ongoing Confidence. CX teams need ongoing support from their executives; however, senior leaders are prone to distraction and doubt. To keep them on track, CX leaders need to keep executives informed of the progress and success of CX efforts and need to demonstrate to executives that resources are being used well and risks are being managed well.

Here are the best practices discussed in the report:

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Report: The Shift To Customer Journey Insights

We just published a Temkin Group report, The Shift To Customer Journey Insights. Here’s the executive summary:

Customer insights are critical to customer experience programs. However, current insights’ efforts tend to focus on individual interactions rather than on a customer’s entire journey, and as a result, they often fail to provide a complete picture of a customer’s experience with the company. This report helps companies shift their insights efforts from concentrating narrowly on single transactions to focusing broadly on customers’ journeys.

Here are some highlights :

  • We developed an approach to help companies create a comprehensive view of journeys called Customer Journey Insights (CJI), which is made up of five strategies: Internal Journey Alignment, Journey Data Farming, Journey Performance Tracking, Journey Visualization, and Journey Prioritization.
  • We share 20 examples of best practices from companies that are applying these strategies to develop a more complete understanding of their customers’ journeys.
  • To help companies master these strategies, we have identified three stages organizations proceed through on their path to enabling customer journeys: 1) Customer Journey Orientation, 2) Customer Journey Enablement, and 3) Customer Journey Mastery.

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Here are the best practices focused around five strategies for shifting towards customer journey insights:

  1. Internal Journey Alignment. Shift the company’s mindset away from siloed interaction success to customer goal facilitation.
  2. Journey Data Farming. Tap into adjacent data sources and make linkages across channels.
  3. Journey Performance Tracking. Overhaul metrics to measure performance across customer journeys.
  4. Journey Visualization. Create mechanisms for communicating insights in a way that reinforces the centrality of customer journeys.
  5. Journey Prioritization. Focus on the journeys, customer segments, and channels that are strategic business priorities.

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Report: The Four Customer Experience Core Competencies (Free)

If you are only going to read only one thing about customer experience, then this report is it. It’s the blueprint for building a customer-centric organization… and it’s free.

We just published a Temkin Group report, The Four CX Core Competencies. This blueprint to building a customer-centric organization is an update to our groundbreaking research that was originally published in 2010 and updated in 2013.

Temkin Group has conducted multiple large-scale studies demonstrating that customer experience (CX) is highly correlated with loyalty across many different industries, in both business-to-consumer and business-to-business environments. When customers have a good experience with a company, they are more likely to repurchase from the company, try its new offerings, and recommend it to others.

While many companies try to improve their CX by making superficial changes, Temkin Group has found that the only path to lasting differentiation and increased loyalty is to build a customer-centric culture. Temkin Group has studied hundreds of companies to uncover the difference between CX leaders and their less successful peers, and has identified four CX competencies that companies must master if they wish to build and sustain CX differentiation:

  1. Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values. (see video)
  2. Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers. (see video)
  3. Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the organization. (see video)
  4. Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization. (see video)

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This whiteboard video describes the Four CX Core Competencies:

Here’s an infograhic with the best practices described in the report:

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Report: Humanizing Digital Interactions

We just published a Temkin Group report, Humanizing Digital Interactions.

Emotions play an integral role in how customers make decisions and form judgments. This means that how a customer feels about an interaction with a company has an enormous impact on his or her loyalty to that company. However, companies tend to ignore customer emotions, especially during digital interactions, which is problematic as customers are increasingly interacting with companies online. This report focuses on humanizing digital interactions by replicating the elements of strong human conversations.

Here are some highlights:

  • We developed The Human Conversational Model, which is made up of seven elements – Intent Decoding, Contextual Framing, Empathetic Agility, Supportive Feedback, Basic Manners, Self-Awareness, and Emotional Reflection.
  • We share over 35 examples of best practices from companies that are designing digital experiences across the seven elements of The Human Conversational Model.
  • We demonstrate how you could apply The Human Conversational Model to three types of digital activities: opening a new bank account online, purchasing a pair of shoes through an app, and getting technical support online.

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A gratifying conversation requires two processes:

  • Cooperative Interface. Each participant is required to collaborate with her partner to achieve the shared goal of the conversation – be that casually catching up, gathering information, sharing knowledge, etc. This is the part of the model that a conversational partner sees and responds to, and it consists of five elements: contextual framing, intent decoding, empathetic agility, supportive feedback, and basic manners.
  • Background Mindfulness. This portion of the model is not observable within what would normally be considered the scope of the conservation as it pertains to what happens internally within person. Each participant has a pre-existing notion of who he is as an individual (self-awareness) and throughout the course of the conversation, learns about how he affects other people (emotional reflection). Though not directly observable, “background mindfulness” informs the way in which each participant communicates with his current and future partners.

Here’s an overview of the Human Conversation Model along with best practices we highlight in the report:

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Report: Engaging A Tethered Workforce

1701_engagingatetheredworkforce_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Engaging A Tethered Workforce.  Here’s the executive summary:

Companies across a number of industries create and deliver customer experiences (CX) through a combination of traditional employees and other workers who they do not directly control – such as contractors or employees of channel partners or outsourcing partners. Despite not being directly employed by the company, these other workers – who make up what Temkin Group calls a “tethered workforce” – still play a critical role in delivering experiences that represent the company’s brand. However, tethered workers differ from typical full-time, corporate employees in ways that pose challenges to brands’ efforts to align these workers with their customer experience goals and objectives. In this report, we examine how brands are tapping into these tethered employees. Here are some highlights:

  • Companies must manage three connections: 1) Between themselves and their partners that employ the tethered workers, 2) Between their partners and the tethered employees, and 3) Between themselves and the tethered workers.
  • We share over 30 examples of best practices from across Temkin Group’s Five I’s of Employee Engagement: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, and Incent.
  • We offer brands a blueprint for engaging tethered workers with key things to think about across the three connections of tethered workforces.

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Here are the 17 best practices described in the report:

1701_bestpracticesforengagingtetheredworkers

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Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017

1701_lessonsincxexcellence_coverWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2017. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2016 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has 62 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we named five organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2016 Customer Experience Excellence Award – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Century Support Services, Crowe Horwath, Oxford Properties, and VCA. This report highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses, describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. it includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the winners: Read More …

Free eBook: 25 Tips For Tapping Into Customer Emotions

1609_ebook_25emotiontips_finalAs part of our CX Day celebration, we’re giving away this free eBook: 25 Tips For Tapping Into Customer Emotions.

Here’s the executive summary:

Emotions play an essential role in how people form judgments and make decisions. Consequently, a customer’s emotional response to an experience with a company has a significant impact on their loyalty to that company. To help you improve your customer experience, we’ve compiled a list of 25 examples from companies who are tapping into customer emotions, which you can emulate at your own organization.

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The eBook contains 25 tips across four areas: Experience Design, Organizational Personality, Organizational Empathy, and Customer Segmentation.

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The bottom line: Apply these lessons to tap into your customers’ emotions

Report: Five C’s of Mobile VoC Disruption

1607_MobileVOCDisruption_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Five C’s of Mobile VoC DisruptionBest Practices for Embracing the Power of Mobile in Your Voice of the Customer Program.

As mobile continues to grow in importance, companies will need to renovate their voice of the customer (VoC) programs. Why? Because mobile is more than just another communications channel – it is transforming the way that companies and customers interact. To help companies modernize their VoC programs to account for this increase in mobile usage, we’ve identified the key areas in which mobile is different from other channels, what we call the “Five C’s of Mobile VoC Disruption: “Condensed, Comprehensive, Current, Conversational, and Contextual. These disruptive characteristics will force companies to redefine how they capture, share, and act on customer insights. We’ve identified more than 20 best practices that span all areas of a VoC program, including soliciting in-the-moment feedback for key interactions and accelerating the sharing of useful insights. In order to use mobile successfully, companies need to evolve through three stages of change: 1) Mobile-Enabled, 2) Mobile-Adjusted, and 3) Mobile-First.

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Here’s an overview of the Five C’s:

5CsOfMobileVoC

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Report: Emotion-Infused Experience Design

1606_EmotionInfusedExperienceDesign_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Emotion-Infused Experience Design.

Emotions play an essential role in how people make decisions. Consequently, how a customer feels about their experience with a company has the most significant impact on their loyalty to that company. And yet despite their importance, both customers and companies agree that organizations do a poor job of engaging customers’ emotions. To help companies create a stronger emotional connection with customers, we’ve developed an approach called Emotion-Infused Experience Design (EIxD). To master EIxD, organizations must continuously focus on three questions: “Who exactly are these people (who happen to be our customers)?” “What is our organizational personality?” and “How do we want customers to feel?” This report offers both advice and examples about how to apply these three questions across four facets that affect emotion: senses, feelings, social, and values. And to help infuse these practices across the organization, we have also identified some strategies for how to turn employees into agents of EIxD.

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Our research shows that emotion is often a missing link in customer experience. While emotions may seem ephemeral and subjective, we developed a concrete methodology you can use to design for emotion. We call this methodology “Emotion-Infused Experience Design” (EIxD), and we define it as:

An approach for deliberately creating interactions that evoke specific customer emotions.

To master EIxD, you must ask (and answer) three questions throughout the entire design process:

  1. Who exactly are these people (who happen to be our customers)? You cannot design emotionally engaging experiences without a solid grasp on who your target customers are—what they want, what they need, what makes them tick.
  2. What is our organizational personality? Research shows that people relate to companies as if they are fellow human beings rather than inanimate corporate entities.
  3. How do we want our customers to feel? People are inherently emotional beings, and every interaction they have with you will make them feel a certain way—whether you intend it to or not.

To address the three questions of EIxD, this report shows how to design around four elements of emotion: senses, feelings, social, and values. Here are two of the 26 figures in the report:

1606_TwoPartsofEmotion1605_CokeStarbucksEmotions

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Report: Customer-Infused Process Improvement

1604_CustomerInfusedProcessImprovement_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Customer-Infused Process Improvement, which provides five strategies for instilling customers’ needs into process improvement methodologies. Here’s the executive summary:

Process improvement and customer experience have traditionally served different roles in a company. However, these two disciplines are starting to intersect as customer experience looks to process improvement to operationalize key customer interactions and process improvement needs customer experience to provide customer-focused insights and continually monitor new processes. Temkin Group proposes that companies bring these two approaches together into Customer-Infused Process Change. This report highlights five strategies critical to driving this new approach: Prioritize Improvements Across Customer Journeys, Embrace Deep Customer Empathy, Involve Customers in Solution Development, Innovate to Meet Latent Needs, and Measure Success with Customer-Focused Metrics. To make process improvement efforts more customer-centric, organizations need to infuse these strategies across all aspects of process improvement.

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It’s time for process improvement to become more focused on customers. Rather than abandoning existing process improvement methodologies, Temkin Group recommends bringing a customer orientation into your efforts. We call this approach Customer-Infused Process Change (CiPC), which we define as:

Driving improvements based on a deep understanding of customer needs.

The report provides best practices across five strategies of CiPC:

  1. Prioritize Improvements Across Customer Journeys: By understanding customer interactions in the context of their broader journeys, companies can invest in process improvements projects that have the most impact on the customer’s experience.
  2. Embrace Deep Customer Empathy: In order to effect sustainable changes, employees impacted by redesigned processes need to understand why these changes are important to customers.
  3. Involve Customers in Solution Development: Process improvement efforts must have resources available to ensure that ongoing, incremental changes can be made based on this customer input.
  4. Innovate to Meet Latent Needs: Customers can’t always articulate what they want; instead, they often describe a slightly improved version of what they already know.
  5. Measure Success with Customer-Focused Metrics: Companies can’t measure the success of process improvement efforts with internally focused, operational metrics.

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The bottom line: Process improvements need more customer insights.

Report: The Federated Customer Experience Model

1603_PathtoFederation_COVERWe published a Temkin Group report, The Federated Customer Experience Model. Here’s the executive summary:

When a company starts its customer experience (CX) journey, it often establishes a centralized team to build the necessary internal capabilities and catalyze change. However, that team’s effectiveness can be limited by a number of things, including divided attention within lines of business and a lack of resources to reach across the company. In its 2012 report, The Future of Customer Experience, Temkin Group identified the need for CX efforts to become more federated. To succeed in the long-run, companies need to focus more on embedding CX capabilities across departments and functions through a federated CX model. A federated model is a structure for enabling and coordinating a distributed set of customer experience capabilities, and it operates through centers of excellence—which spread specialized expertise beyond the boundaries of the centralized team—and enterprise CX coordination—which ensures that company-wide goals and standards are in place—and distributed CX skills and mindsets—which infuses customer-centric mindset throughout the company. These centers of excellence include deep analytics, reporting and data visualization, experience design, customer-driven process improvement, and culture change management. Enterprise CX coordination oversees enterprise CX strategy and governance, insights, metrics and reporting, standard methodologies and tools, central CX storylines, and portfolio management. And distributed CX skills and mindsets encompasses CX goal alignment, customer understanding, empathy orientation, improvement focus, and organizational awareness. The path companies take to federation can include multiple phases, such as centrally driven, cross-functional participation, distributed expertise, and federated. As their companies move down this path, successful CX professionals will be the ones who learn the business, coach and advise others, embrace empowerment, and keep learning; or, alternatively, they can choose to specialize and leave the central CX team to join one of the centers of excellence.

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Here are the elements of a Federated CX Model:

1603_FederatedCXModel

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Report: Mobile Experience Review: Purchasing an eGift Card

1603SLICE-B_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Mobile Experience Review: Purchasing an eGift Card. The report uses our SLICE-B experience review methodology to evaluate mobile experiences. We attempt to achieve a specific customer goals and then grade the experience on 12 criteria across six areas: Start, Locate, Interact, Complete, End, and Brand Coherence.

Here’s the executive summary:

As more customers use smartphones, companies need to adjust their websites and processes for the smaller screens. To evaluate the customer experience of mobile websites, we used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B experience review methodology to assess the experience of purchasing an eGift Card from ten large retailers: Macy’s, Kohl’s, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Petco, Petsmart, Kroger, Safeway, Michaels, and Jo-Ann. Macy’s earned the highest score for its simple yet engaging process, while the user was unable to complete the full purchasing goal at Barnes & Noble, Petco, Petsmart, Kroger, Safeway, and Kohl’s.

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Here’s an overview of the results:

1603_MobileSLICEBevals

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Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2016

1601_LessonsInCXExcellence_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2016. The report provides insights from eight finalists in the Temkin Group’s 2015 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which is 100 pages long, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This year, we chose eight organizations as finalists for Temkin Group’s 2015 Customer Experience Excellence Award. The finalists for 2015 are EMC Global Services, Hagerty, InMoment, Safelite AutoGlass, SunPower, The Results Companies, Verint, and Wheaton | Bekins. This report provides specific examples describing how these companies’ CX efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses. We also highlight best practices across the four customer experience competencies—purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness. We have included all of the finalists’ detailed nomination forms at the end of this report to help you compile examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

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Here are some highlights from the finalists: Read More …

Report: Make Your VoC Action-Oriented

1512_MakeYourVOCActionOriented_COVERWe published a Temkin Group report, Make Your VoC Action-Oriented. Here’s the executive summary:

Companies recognize that customer feedback and insights are critical for understanding customers, so they often create Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs as one of their first customer experience priorities. While most respondents within large organizations believe that these efforts have been successful, Temkin Group has found that an overwhelming number of VoC programs are still in very early stages of maturity. These immature programs overly focus on collecting feedback and don’t focus enough on driving action based on insights from the feedback. Our research shows that simplification is a key path to VoC maturity. This report identifies five strategies for simplifying VoC programs: Stakeholder Empathy, Tailored Insights, Feedback Rationalization, Loop-Closing, and Customer Journey Alignment. As companies adopt these five strategies, VoC teams must learn new skills and become research generalists, business consultants, compelling communicators, portfolio managers, and value creators.

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Here are the best practices we discuss in the report:

1512_ActionOrientedVoCBestPractices

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