Report: Best Practices for Actively Listening to Employees

1308_EEListening_v1_Page_01We just published a Temkin Group report, Best Practices for Actively Listening to Employees with case Studies from Adobe, Fidelity, Microsoft, TELUS, and USAA. Here’s the executive summary:

Employees are a valuable asset, not only for what they do but also for what they know. Unfortunately, companies regularly underuse or outright ignore their insights. To understand what it takes to tap into employee knowledge, we researched best practices in employee listening. Our analysis uncovered four key areas of listening: employee satisfaction and engagement, customer experience engagement, customer experience improvement, and employee experience improvement. This report outlines case studies from five companies with robust employee listening programs: Adobe, Fidelity, Microsoft, TELUS, and USAA. These firms shared many strong practices, from structured listening programs—like Adobe’s annual employee engagement survey and USAA’s pulse polls—to interactive and adaptive efforts like TELUS’s Habitat Social online platform, Fidelity’s Voice of Customer Ambassador program, and Microsoft’s Last Mile Excellence process. We recommend implementing an employee listening blueprint that includes annual surveys, pulse surveys, and online forums.

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

Here’s an overview of some of the best practices across the five case studies:

Figure4

Download report for $195
BuyDownload3

The bottom line: Employees are an asset, listen and learn from them

Amazon and USAA On Top of 2013 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Web Experience Ratings of 211 companies across 19 industries based on a study of 10,000 U.S. consumers (see full list of firms).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are some company highlights:

2013TWERCompanyBestWorst

  • For the third straight year, Amazon.com topped the Temkin Web Experience Ratings while USAA took the next two spots for its bank and insurance businesses.
  • Other companies at the top of the ratings are RegionsU.S. BankeBayAdvantage Rent A Carcredit unions, and QVC.
  • At the other end of the spectrum, MSNHealth NetEarthLink, and Cablevision earned the lowest ratings.
  • Only 6% of companies earned “strong” or “very strong” ratings, while 63% earned “weak” or “very weak” ratings.
  • Amazon.com and USAA’s insurance business earned ratings that were 20 points above their industry averages and eight other companies were at least 10 points above their peers: Kaiser Permanente, Advantage Rent A Car, eBay, QVC, USAA (bank), Sonic Drive-In, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity Investments.
  • Health Net and RadioShack earned ratings that were 20 points or more less than their industry averages and six other companies were at least 15 points below their peers: 21st Century, American Family, Days Inn, Taco Bell, and Kmart.

Temkin Group examined year-over-year results for the 154 companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings and found that:

  • Forty-one percent of companies improved, while 53% declined.
  • Over half of the companies that were in the 2012 and 2013 ratings earned lower scores this year.
  • Eight companies showed double-digit increases: Humana, Old Navy, U.S. Bank, Citibank, TriCare, Blue Shield of California, Toyota, and Safeway.
  • Twenty-one companies declined by at least 10 points and six companies dropped by more than 15 points: Southwest Airlines, MSN, United Airlines, ShopRite, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks.

Industry Results

Here are some industry highlights:

2013TWERIndustries

  • Banks earned the highest average Temkin Web Experience Ratings, followed by investment firms, retailers, credit card issuers, and hotel chains.
  • Five industries earned average ratings of “very weak” ratings: Internet service providers, TV service providers, airlines, health plans, and wireless carriers.
  • Seven industries improved between 2012 and 2013., while nine declined. Airlines suffered the most dramatic drop, losing 15 points.

Calculating the Temkin Web Experience Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to identify the companies that they had interacted with on their websites during the previous 60 days. These consumers were asked the following question:

Thinking back to your most recent interaction with the websites of these companies,
how satisfied were you with the experience?

Responses from 1= “very dissatisfied” to 7= “very satisfied”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net satisfaction” score. The Temkin Web Experience Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Trust Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Web experiences are heading in the wrong direction.

USAA On Top (Again) in 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings

We just released the third annual Temkin Trust Ratings of 246 companies across 19 industries (see full list).

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

For the third straight year, USAA‘s insurance business earned the top ranking in the Temkin Trust Ratings. Here are additional highlights:

1306_13TrustTopBottom

  • Two of USAA’s business areas —insurance and banking—topped the list of companies. USAA’s credit card business also ranked sixth.
  • The other companies in the top 10 of the ratings are credit unions, Publix, H.E.B., Amazon.com, Trader Joe’s, Charles Schwab, and Sam’s Club.
  • HSBC earned two of the bottom three spots for its credit card and banking businesses.
  • TV service providers and Internet service providers dominate the bottom of the ratings, collectively taking 10 of the bottom 15 spots. The other companies in the bottom 15 are US Airways, CareFirst, and T-Mobile.

We also examined year-over-year results for 204 companies that were also in the 2012 Temkin Trust Ratings. Here are some highlights of that analysis:

  • Citigroup in credit cards and Hyundai earned the largest jump (21 points) over their 2012 Temkin Trust Ratings. The other largest gainers are Alaska Airlines, Bank of America in credit cards and banking, Continental Airlines, Avis, and EarthLink.
  • Cox Communications in TV service and Fifth Third in banking lost the most ground (17 points) since last year. The other largest decliners are HSBC in banking, PNC in banking, JCPenneyBright House Networks, and eMachines in computers.

Industry Results

Here are the highlights of the 19 industries in the 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings:

1306_13TrustIndustries

  • Grocery chains earn the most trust while TV service providers earn the least trust from their customers.
  • Six companies earned Temkin Trust Ratings that are 20 percentage points or more above their industry average: USAA (banking, credit cards, insurance carriers), credit unions (banking), TriCare (health plans), and Kaiser Permanente (health plans).
  • Four companies earned Temkin Trust Ratings that are 20 percentage points or more below their industry average: HSBC (banking and credit cards), US Airways (airlines), 21st Century (insurance carriers).
  • Led by credit card issuers and rental car agencies, 14 of the 18 industries in the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Trust Ratings improved over last year’s scores. The only four industries with declining ratings are TV service providers, retailers, appliance makers, and insurance carriers.

Calculating the Temkin Trust Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked consumers to identify companies that they have interacted with during the previous 60 days.  For a random subset of those companies, consumers are asked to rate companies as follows:

To what degree do you TRUST that these companies will take care of your needs?
Responses from 1= “do not trust at all” to 7= “completely trust”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net trust” score. The Temkin Trust Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Trust Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Without a customer’s trust, it’s hard to expect her loyalty.

Report: Tech Vendor NPS Benchmark, 2013

1306_IT_NPSBenchmark_COVERWe just published a Temkin Group report, Tech Vendor NPS Benchmark, 2013, The research examines Net Promoter Scores and the link to loyalty for 54 tech vendors based on feedback from IT decision makers. We also compared results to the NPS data we published last year. Here’s the executive summary:

We surveyed IT decision makers from more than 800 large North American firms to understand how they view their tech vendors. One of the questions we asked provides Net Promoter Scores® (NPS®) for 54 of those companies. VMWare and SAP analytics earned the highest NPS while CSC IT services and Infosys IT services earned the lowest. The overall industry average NPS dropped nine points from last year. Our analysis also examined the link between NPS and loyalty, finding that compared with detractors, promoters are more than six times as likely to forgive a tech vendor if they deliver a bad experience, almost six times as likely to try a new offering from the vendor, and more than three times as likely to purchase more from them this year. When examining the loyalty levels for each vendor, we found that Oracle consulting and VMWare clients have the strongest purchase intentions, SAP analytics and Sybase have earned the most forgiveness, and VMWare and SAP analytics have the most innovation equity.

Download report for $495 (includes Excel spreadsheet with data)
BuyDownload3

Here are some of the findings from the research:

  • With an NPS of 47, VMware came out on top followed closely by SAP analytics with 45. At the other end of the spectrum, four tech vendors have negative NPS: CSC IT services, Infosys IT services, Alcatel-Lucent, and Deloitte consulting.
  • The average NPS in the tech industry went from 33.6 in 2012 to 24.7 in 2013. The percentage of promoters dropped seven points.
  • Compared with detractors, we found that promoters are more than six times likely to forgive a tech vendor if they deliver a bad experience, almost six times as likely to try a new offering from the company, and more than three times as likely to purchase more from them in 2013.
  • Forgiveness and willingness to try increase steadily starting at 3 while increased purchases begins steady growth at 5.
  • Promoters most frequently wanted lower prices and better support, while passives and detractors were looking for better support.
  • Oracle outsourcing has the strongest purchase intentions while Trend Micro has the weakest.
  • SAP analytics and Sybase have earned the most forgiveness while Trend Micro has earned the least.
  • VMware has the most innovation equity while Accenture consulting and Intuit have the least.

1306_ITNPS2

1305_ITNPS_Economics

Download report for $495 (includes Excel spreadsheet with data)
BuyDownload3

The bottom line: When it comes to NPS, large tech vendors are heading in the wrong directions

Note: See our 2012 NPS ratings for tech vendors and the post 9 Recommendations For Net Promoter Score along with all of my other posts about NPS.

P.S. Net Promoter Score, Net Promoter, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld.

Advantage Rent A Car and USAA Lead in 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

All companies, even customer experience leaders, make mistakes. But how much goodwill have companies built up for consumers to forgive them after those miscues? To answer this question, Temkin Group surveyed 10,000 U.S. consumers about companies with whom they’ve recently interacted. We used this data for the third annual Temkin Forgiveness Ratings of 246 companies across 19 industries.

Download entire dataset for $295

Company Results

Here are the highlights of the 246 companies in the 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

  • Advantage earns top spot. With an excellent score of 61%, Advantage earned the highest rating.
  • USAA dominates forgiveness. USAA grabbed the next three spots for its banking, insurance, and credit card businesses.
  • The rest of the top 10. H.E.B., Blackboard, Aldi, Alaska Airlines, credit unions and Publix round out the top 10
  • No industry owns the top. The top 25 companies in the ratings comes form a variety of industries: Four grocery chains, three airlines, three retailers, two banks, two hotel chains, two investment firms, two software firms, one appliance maker, one auto dealer, one credit card issuer, one fast food chain, one health plan, one insurance carrier, and one rental car agency.
  • HSBC dominates the bottom. HSBC earned the bottom two spots in the ratings for its credit card and banking businesses.
  • Many TV service providers are at the bottom. Six of the bottom 12 companies are TV service providers: Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Verizon, Charter Communications, and Optimum (iO)/Cablevision.
  • USAA most outperforms its peers. We compared company ratings with their industry averages and USAA came in the top three spots, 36 points above in banking, 31 points ahead in credit cards, and 28 points ahead in insurance. Three other companies are more than 20 points above their industry averages: Advantage (car rentals), credit unions (banking), and TriCare (health plans).
  • HSBC most underperforms. HSBC fell the farthest below its industry average in two areas, 23 points behind its peers in banking and credit cards. Five other companies had scores that were 15 points and more below their industry: US Airways (airlines), Motel 6 (hotels), McAfee (software), Kia (auto dealers), and Hertz (rental cars).

We also examined year-over-year results for 204 companies that were in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings. Here are some highlights of that analysis:

  • Chrysler improves the most. With a jump of 29 percentage points, Chrysler is the most improved company.  Six other companies gained 20 points or more: Continental Airlines, Citigroup, Avis, EarthLink, Ameriprise Financial, and Alaska Airlines.
  • US Cellular declines the most. With a drop of nearly 20 percentage points, US Cellular dropped the most in 2013.  Nine other companies fell by more than 10 points: Bright House Networks, HSBC, Cox Communications, Hertz, PNC, SunTrust Bank, Dollar Rental Car, Hyatt, and TD Ameritrade.

Industry Results

Here are the highlights of the 19 industries in the 2013 Temkin Forgiveness Ratings:

1305_TFR_TopBottomFirms

  • TV service providers are unforgivable. TV service providers, as an industry, earned the lowest Temkin Forgiveness Rating of 12%. It was five points below Internet service providers and seven points below wireless carriers.
  • Grocery chains are the most forgivable.  With an average rating of 39%, grocery chains are the highest scoring industry. Three industries are just four points behind: hotel chains, auto dealers, and rental car agencies.
  • Credit cards make the most improvements. Credit cards made the largest improvement, nine percentage points, over the previous year.  Auto dealers, rental car agencies, and airlines also improved by more than five points.
  • TV service providers head in the wrong direction. Led by TV service providers that dropped three points between 2012 and 2013, three industries earned lower scores in 2012. The other industries are retailers and appliance makers.

Calculating the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings

During January 2013, Temkin Group asked consumers to identify companies that they have interacted with during the previous 60 days.  For a random subset of those companies, consumers are asked to rate companies as follows:

How likely are you to forgive these companies if they deliver a bad experience?
Responses from 1= “extremely unlikely” to 7= “extremely likely”

For all companies with 100 or more consumer responses, we calculated the “net forgiveness” score. The Temkin Forgiveness Ratings are calculated by taking the percentage of consumers that selected either “6” or “7” and subtracting the percentage of consumers that selected either “1,” “2,” or “3.”

Download entire dataset for $295

Temkin Ratings website

To see all of the companies in the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings as ell as all of our other Temkin Ratings and sort through the results, visit the Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Forgiveness is an asset that you accumulate by consistently meeting customer needs.

Google and Apple Lead Software Industry in 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

We recently released the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings that ranks the customer experience of 246 companies across 19 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Here are highlights from the software industry:

  • The software industry, on average, comes 11th out of 19 industries we studied. We did not study software firms in previous years.
  • The top software firm, Google, earned a score of 67%, high in the “okay” range. The lowest-ranked software firm, McAfee, earned a 54%.
  • McAfee earned the lowest score across all three underlying components, functional, accessible and emotional.
  • Symantec earned the top spot  in the functional component.
  • Google earned the top ratings accessible and emotional components.
  • Apple, earned second place in the industry. While Apple is first place among its peers in the computer manufacturing industry, it received an even higher score for its software offerings—with a score of 67%.
  • Here’s a link to industry results from the 2012 ratings.
Download entire dataset for $395
Software2 Software2
Temkin Ratings website

Report: 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings

Temkin Ratings website

2013TemkinExperienceRatings_Cover

We published the 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings. The report analyzes feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate 246 organizations across 19 industries. Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Publix, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Chick-fil-A, Amazon.com, and Sam’s Club.

Download report for FREE
You can also download the data for $395.

The Temkin Experience Ratings are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Functional: How well do experiences meet customers’ needs?
  2. Accessible: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotional: How do customers feel about the experiences?

Here are the top and bottom companies in the ratings:

2013TER_BestWorstHere’s how the industries compare with each other:

(NOTE: We have published posts on the detailed results for all 19 industries)

2013TER_IndustriesHere are the companies that are leaders and laggards across the 19 industries:

figure10

In this year’s ratings, 37% of companies earned “good” or “excellent” scores, while 28% are rated as “poor” or ”very poor.” Companies with at least a “good” rating grew by nine-percentage points since 2012 and by 21-points since 2011. Of the 203 companies that are included in both the 2012 and 2013 Temkin Experience Ratings, 57% firms had at least a modest increase. The companies that made the largest improvement over 2012 are Citibank, TriCare, TD Ameritrade, Office Depot, EarthLink, Hardees, and Regions Bank.

Download report for FREE

Get the Data

Do you want to see all of the data? You can purchase an excel spreadsheet for $395…

Screen Shot 2013-02-24 at 5.42.22 PM

To view all of our ratings (experience, loyalty, trust, forgiveness, customer service, and web experience), visit the Temkin Ratings website

Temkin Ratings website

The bottom line: Customer experience is improving, but there’s still a long way to go

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012

We just published a Temkin Group report, Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2012. It provides NPS data on 175 U.S. companies across 19 industries. Here’s the executive summary:

USAA took the top two spots for its banking and insurance businesses while HSBC came in at the bottom for banking and credit cards. Our analysis of differences across consumer demographic segments showed that NPS tends to go up with age, doesn’t vary much by income levels, and is often highest with Asians. We also asked consumers what would make them more likely to recommend the companies and found that promoters are more likely to select lower prices and detractors are more likely to select better customer service. While there is some debate about the efficacy of NPS, our analysis shows that promoters are much more likely than detractors to purchase more in the future across all industries. To help you implement a successful NPS program, we’ve included eight tips such as don’t believe in an “ultimate question” and use control charts, not pinpointed goals. The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

Download report for $295
(includes the data)

The industries included in this report are airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, grocery chains, health plans, hotel chains, insurance carriers, Internet service providers, investment firms, major appliance makers, parcel delivery services, rental car agencies, retailers, software firms, TV service providers, and wireless carriers.

The report contains the following components:

  • NPS for 175 companies across 19 industries
  • NPS differences based on age, income, and ethnicity of consumers
  • Improvement areas selected by promoters and detractors by industry
  • Connection between NPS and future purchases by industry
  • Eight tips for implementing a successful NPS program

Figure1Figure4

Download report for $295
(Includes the data)

The bottom line:  Companies need to give customers a reason to recommend them

Cloud Computing Leaders: Google, Microsoft, and ACS

The “cloud” is a popular topic in IT circles. So we decided to examine how much it will affect companies and how prepared technology vendors are to satisfy those changing customer demands. During January 2012, we asked 800 IT professionals from companies with at least $500 million in annual revenues two questions about cloud computing:

  • Cloud importance: To what degree will the shift to cloud computing influence your company’s IT strategy over the next three years? (Note: 79% of IT professionals say it will have a significant influence)
  • Cloud capabilities: Given your company’s plans for cloud computing, how would you rate the cloud computing capabilities of the IT vendors that you interact with compared with where they need to be?

To fully understand how prepared tech vendors are to meet their client’s changing IT needs for cloud computing, Temkin Group created the Cloud Readiness Index (CRI), a measure of where vendors are in their cloud capabilities compared with the needs of their customers. The CRI takes the cloud importance results and divides it by the cloud capability results as follows:

Here is the Cloud Readiness Index data for 60 tech vendors. Google, Microsoft’s business applications, and ACS are on top of 15 tech vendors in the “leading” category. At the other end of the spectrum, Autodesk, Check Point, and CGI are on the bottom of 25 tech vendors in the “lagging” category.
You can download the data from this post in an Excel spreadsheet for $195. The file includes detailed data for the Cloud Readiness Index as well as details for Cloud Importance and Cloud Capabilities. The spreadsheet includes the data for the 60 tech vendors listed in this post as well as for 28 other tech vendors with smaller sample sizes.

 The bottom line: Tech vendors need to meet their client’s cloud needs

Net Promoter Score and Market Share For 60 Tech Vendors

Temkin Group recently surveyed 800 IT professionals from large companies and asked them a series of questions about tech vendors. This research has fueled some of our previous posts: Temkin Experience Ratings for Tech Vendors, How IT Professionals Share Feedback About Vendors, and Tech Vendors: Benchmarking Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients.

We also asked the IT professionals to rate each tech vendor on the Net Promoter Score (NPS) scale.* NPS is based on one question: How likely are you to recommend the tech vendor to a friend or colleague? IT professionals choose an answer on a scale from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). Responses are put into one of three categories:

  • Promoters (score 9 or 10)
  • Passives (score 7 or 8)
  • Detractors (score 0 to 6)

NPS is calculated as the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. (If you’re interested in best practices for using NPS, read my post 9 Recommendations for NPS which is also part of our VoC resource page).

Here is the NPS for 60 tech vendors, ranging from Intel, Microsoft and Cisco in the 50s down to Compuware, Unisys, Cognizant, and Capgemini below 10.

We also asked the IT professionals how much their company was planning to spend in 2012 compared with 2011 and mapped this data with NPS. It turns out that we found four bands of performance in this market based on NPS scores:

  • More than 40: These companies have much higher purchase momentum and are poised to grab a lot of market share
  • Between 28 and 40: These companies have above average purchase momentum and are poised to gain market share
  • Between 23 and 28: These companies have below average purchase momentum and are poised to lose market share
  • Less than 23: These companies have much lower purchase momentum and are poised to give up a lot of market share

You can purchase the data in an excel spreadsheet for $195. The file includes details on the 60 tech vendors shown in this blog post as well as 28 other tech vendors with sample sizes too small to be included in our published research. The data includes sample sizes for the companies, percentages for promoters, detractors, and NPS score, as well as the percentage of companies with increasing spending plans and those with decreasing spending plans.

*Note: Net Promoter, NPS, and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld

Tech Vendors: Benchmarking Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients

We just published a new Temkin Group data snapshot: Tech Vendors: Benchmarking Product and Relationship Satisfaction of IT Clients. This new research highlights how IT professionals rate tech vendors in two key areas of experience: Products and relationships.

During January 2012, 800 IT professionals from companies with at least $500 million in annual revenues rated the products of and their relationships with 60 tech vendors. Some of the findings include: Intel dominates in product flexibility, Cisco leads in product features, Compuware’s product features are severely lacking, Google has a big lead in cost of ownership, Intel dominates in product flexibility, Apple leads in innovation, and Wipro is far behind in technical support.

Download report for $295

As you can see below, we found a wide range of ratings across the 60 tech vendors for each of the eight criteria we examined:

The data snapshot includes eight graphics that show the scores for each of the 60 tech vendors for each of these criteria. Here’s a summary of the firms with the highest and lowest average ratings:

Download report for $295
(includes spreadsheet with data)

The bottom line: Tech vendors need to improve their product and relationship experiences

Report: 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings of Tech Vendors

We are excited to be publishing this first report from our large-scale research on customer experience in the IT sector.

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings of Tech Vendors. The report analyzes feedback from 800 IT professionals to rate 60 tech suppliers. Congratulations to the top firms:

1) Microsoft (business applications)
1) Cisco
3) IBM SPSS
3) Microsoft (servers)
5) Microsoft (desktop software)
5) IBM software (other than SPSS)
5) Intel

Here is the executive summary from the report:

To understand the customer experience delivered by IT vendors, we surveyed 800 IT professionals from large companies. Using their feedback on the functional, accessible, and emotional components of experiences with vendors, we created the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings for Tech Vendors which rates 60 large IT suppliers by their customers. Microsoft business applications, Cisco, IBM SPSS, and Microsoft servers were at the top of the list with “excellent” ratings. At the other end of the spectrum, Compuware, Capgemini, and Fujitsu were at the bottom of nine companies with “very poor” ratings. Our research also looked at the 2012 purchase plans for these IT buyers. When we chart the Temkin Experience Ratings for Tech Vendors with the purchase momentum for these 60 firms, it shows the clear connection between customer experience and revenues.

Download report for $295

The Temkin Experience Ratings for Tech Vendors are based on evaluating three elements of experience:

  1. Functional: How well do experiences meet customers’ needs?
  2. Accessible: How easy is it for customers to do what they want to do?
  3. Emotional: How do customers feel about the experiences?

Here are the ratings for all 60 tech vendors that had feedback from at least 60 IT professionals:

The report also examined IT purchasing plans. We created a purchasing momentum index, equal to the percentage of companies planning to increase spending in 2012 minus the percentage that were planning to decrease spending. The report contains the purchasing momentum for all 60 tech vendors in the study. It turns out that the Temkin Experience Ratings are highly connected with purchase momentum:

Download report for $295

The bottom line: Customer experience and loyalty go hand in hand in the tech sector.

Nokia Needs More Design, Less Engineering

I was just reading a recent New York Times article, The Engineer-Driven Culture of Nokia, about how Nokia is dropping its cell phone operating system in favor of Microsoft’s. That amounts to a failure of Nokia to keep up with the new wave of smartphones.

Why did Nokia lose its dominant position in cell phones? Engineering won over design.

The article quotes Adam Greenfield, a former head of design direction at Nokia:

The engineers at Nokia brag about the number of megapixels a new phone has. But they don’t understand that if you can’t find the button to use the camera on the phone, it doesn’t matter how many megapixels it is.”

I run into this problem a lot within companies. It’s a typical “engineering culture.” In these environments, functionality is the dominant focus of the product development organizations. While functionality is clearly important, it represents only one of the three components of experience.

Design cultures, on the other hand, address the requirements of all three aspects of an experience:

  • Functional: Does it do what people want it to do?
  • Accessible: How easy is it for people to do what they want to do?
  • Emotional: How does it make people feel?

Even if a product has all of the functionality that customers may want, it will still likely fail if it’s hard to use and/or customers don’t feel good about owning or using it.

The bottom line: Focus more on design, less on engineering

8 Customer Experience Trends For 2011

Download report for FREE

It’s the time of year when prognosticators drag out their crystal balls and divine about next year. Well, I’m not too different. But instead of a crystal ball, I’ll tap into the 8 customer experience megatrends that I outlined earlier this year. They remain the key trends that I think we’ll see in 2011.

Here are the 8 megatrends along with my thoughts about how they’ll play out in 2011:

1. Customer Insight Propagation. Most decisions in companies are made without any real customer insight. Companies will increasingly recognize that they need to integrate a deeper understanding of their customers throughout their company. That’s why Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs represent one of the most popular customer experience efforts. A new cadre of vendors are making it easier to collect, analyze, and share customer information broadly across just about any organization.

2011: I’ve written a lot about VoC programs this year. Companies are beginning to figure out how to better use the insights and an emerging set of vendors have deployed customer insight and action (CIA) Platforms that can help considerably. But there’s still a long way to go. In the research report The State Of Voice Of The Customer Programs, we found that only 1% of large companies are “Transformers,” which is the highest level of maturity. In 2011,  I expect to see many companies move up on the VoC maturity scale as this continues to be an increasing area of focus next year. Don’t be surprised to see CRM players like Oracle and SAP acquire some of the CIA vendors.

2. Unstructured Data Appreciation. Deep feelings that customers have about a company often get truncated into a 5-point, 7-point, or even 11-point multiple choice scales; making it difficult to understand “why” things are happening. New text analytics applications can quickly process thousands of pieces of unstructured data and discern what’s making customers happy or what’s making them upset; pushing a dramatic rise in companies analyzing rich unstructured data like comments on surveys, call center verbatims, or social media discussions.

2011: As I said in a blog post earlier this year, it’s time for text analytics. I’m working with many companies on strategies for getting deeper customer insights and just about all of them involve a component of text analytics. In 2011, I expect there to be twice as many text analytics pilots as in 2010 and a lot of companies touting success stories at conferences. I expect IBM to make a big push in this area next year with SPSS and I would not be surprised to see Big Blue acquire either Clarabridge or Attensity.

3. Customer Service Rejuvenation As companies do touchpoint analyses and customer journey maps, they often find that customer service is a key “moment of truth” for customers. Unfortunately, the cost-cutting in this area over the last several years has created many poor experiences. Companies are recognizing that poor customer service is creating a very negative perception of their brand and will increasingly make investments to improve these experiences.

2011: During customer service week in October, I discussed how companies sometimes seem to care more about saving $1.50 in transaction costs than they care about $60 worth of business. But, I am seeing some changes. I’ve actually been working with a number of contact centers that are transforming the service they deliver. In 2011, I expect to see more contact centers drop average handle time (AHT) as a core metric and revamp quality measures based on customer feedback.

4. Loyalty Intensification. Over the last several years, many executives have realized that shareholder value is not an objective; it’s actually the outcome of building stronger customer loyalty. As companies starts using measures like Net Promoter Scores (NPS) to track loyalty, more firms will elevate these metrics to their executive dashboard; pushing companies to think and act more strategically about loyalty.

2011: Many companies are developing loyalty metrics and infusing them into their management dashboards. We found that 45% of companies tie compensation to some customer feedback metrics, but don’t push too hard, too early with compensation.  We also found that only 25% of respondents think their senior executives are willing to trade-off short-term financial results for longer-term loyalty. In 2011, it will become much more common for companies to balance loyalty metrics with financial ones. And many companies will evolve beyond fixing problems that cause dissatisfaction and start designing experiences that inspire advocates.

5. Interaction iPod-ization. QWERTY keyboards help make PCs so universal. But a keyboard-based QWERTY device is not the ideal interface for the next generation of digital devices. Fortunately, Apple’s iPod (and iPhones, iPads) are doing the same thing that QWERTY did over 100 years ago, teaching myriads of people how to interact with a touch-screen. As a result, a new wave of touch-pad based applications will emerge.

2011: Add Nooks, Android, and Windows Phone to the list of devices that will be teaching people how to touch, drag, shake, pinch, and tap to get what they need. In 2011, Mainstream PCs with a keyboard and mouse will seem even more like relics’ as people increasingly transition to iPad (and iPad-like) devices.  I also expect to see more voice interfaces emerge.

6. Social Media Assimilation. Social media is a hot topic. But Social Media is not really a new thing for companies; it represents just another interaction channel with customers. Companies will increasingly fold Social Media activities into the core activities of the company; especially within customer service.

2011: I created a term called “Social Schizophrenia” which describes companies that provide levels of service in social media that differ significantly from service levels in other channels. That still describes a lot of companies. In 2011, focus on social media will continue to grow but I expect much more mature approaches as the tools and processes are evolving.

7. Digital/Physical Integration. Consumers increasingly go online with their cell phones while they are doing activities like walking through a mall or eating at a restaurant. At the same time, iPhones have introduced consumers to the notion of task-specific application downloads. In this environment, companies can no longer think about online as a separate and distinct channel. They will start designing more experiences that blend together online and offline interactions.

2011: Mobile applications will increasingly take advantage of location-awareness to provide services and capabilities that are specific to the store, restaurant, hotel, ball park, intersection, or wherever you are. In 2011, we’ll also see more adoption of recognition-based services like Shop Savvy that can scan barcodes and Google Goggles that recognizes landmarks, text — pretty much anything you can take a picture of with your phone. Given the capabilities, I think we’ll see a bunch of integrated digital/physical offerings in the second half of the year.

8. Cultural Renovation. Companies are increasingly recognizing that “unengaged employees can’t create engaged customers” which is one of my “6 Laws Of Customer Experience.” That’s why many firms are starting to focus on the culture of their firms; trying to align employees with the vision, mission, and brand of the company. Cultural change takes several years to take hold; so significant changes won’t show up in companies immediately. But when change happens, it will very difficult for competitors to replicate.

2011: It’s great to see many executives ask for help building a customer-centric culture. I often compare customer experience to quality, which is captured in my manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free. I also like usurping this quote from the quality movement: “Great customer experience is the result of a carefully constructed cultural environment. It has to be the fabric of the organization, not part of the fabric.” We gauge customer-centric culture with Temkin Group’s Four Customer Experience Core Competencies. Our assessment of 144 large firms showed that only 3% are customer-centric. In 2011, I expect many companies to put in place the foundations for improving their customer-centricity while a few will revert back to their old ways; this stuff is not easy.

The bottom line: Hopefully you’re ready for 2011!

6 Customer-Centric Lessons From Microsoft And Windows 7

I know; you don’t often see “Microsoft” and “customer-centric” together in the same sentence. 🙂

Let me start with a disclaimer: Microsoft is a very large client of my employer (Forrester Research) and I’ve worked with Microsoft on its customer experience efforts. Hopefully my posts about Microsoft demonstrate that I take a balanced view on the software behemoth, as I do with every company (for example, see Will An Efficient Culture Destroy Microsoft? and Apple Beats Windows In Customer Experience).

I recently had discussions with several Microsoft execs about the company’s customer & partner experience (CPE) and online self-help efforts surrounding Windows 7. Overall, I think they are doing an excellent job re-orienting Microsoft more directly on the needs of customers. In particular, here are six areas that other firms can learn from:

  1. Internalize customer experience. Microsoft’s CPE team has developed programs for driving more customer-centricity across the organization. The efforts which include CPE training for new employees, CPE culture programs, CPE goals for all employees, and executive compensation tied to CPE results.
  2. Infuse customer feedback into the product. Core requirements for Microsoft products now include self-help, self-healing pillars. This ensures that supportability is designed into products from the beginning. In addition, the company actively listened to social media during beta with developers and end users to identify problems and develop fixes.
  3. Make a good first impression. A poor initial experience can set the stage for a very dissatisfied customer. That’s why Microsoft created a cross-functional team to focus more than ever on its “shipping process” for Windows 7. This team looked at all of the areas that needed to be in place for customers to be satisfied when the product shipped. One of the key areas: simplifying the installation and upgrade processes.
  4. Create customer-centric metrics. To get the support organization focused on the right areas, the company uses a “time to happy” metric — which looks at the time it takes for customers to get a problem resolved starting from the moment they have the problem. This is quite different from most companies that try to minimize the time it takes them to respond once customers come to them with the problem.
  5. Accelerate the support process. Microsoft has invested heavily in Windows 7’s support infrastructure, looking at both reactive and proactive support. Some of the key investments include Microsoft Answers (providing answers to natural language questions) and Microsoft Fix It (automated diagnostics and solutions). The company is also embedding support communities into the product and working on search engine optimization to make it easier for customers to find solutions.
  6. Take responsibility for the entire ecosystem. Microsoft tracks the satisfaction of its partners as well as the satisfaction of its partners’ end customers. This allows them to identify areas of improvement across the ecosystem. The company also invested in its Windows Compatibility Center  to identify the apps and hardware that works with Windows 7 and provide access to the latest drivers. In addition, the company is working with OEM partners like Dell to create “solution assets” that cut across software/hardware boundaries. 

This is not an endorsement of Windows 7, since I have not used or evaluated the software. I am, however, impressed by Microsoft’s attempt to shift from an engineering-driven to a customer-centric culture. While this transition won’t happen overnight, Microsoft’s CPE efforts are pushing it in the right direction. If Microsoft stays dedicated to CPE, then I am hopeful that Windows 7 and future products will be easier to use and to maintain.

The bottom line: When it comes to customer experience, Microsoft appears to be heading in the right direction.

%d bloggers like this: