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Notes From The Gartner CRM Summit September 14, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Customer Experience, Marketing.
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Last week, I attended my first-ever Gartner event – the Gartner CRM Summit. After five years as a Forrester analyst, it was nice to get exposure to how the other half lives. According to Gartner over 600 attendees representing 25 countries attended the event held at the National Harbor Resort (a surreal manufactured enclave just outside of DC). I don’t know how other attendees felt but, I have to say, the venue was a bit reminiscent of that Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show

My favorite Gartner speaker was Ed Thompson who presented the opening keynote entitled “Improving the Customer Experience.” Ed warned the audience that he would speak quickly and accelerate as he went on and, that, he did.

Ed’s opening one-liner: “Why should you care about customer experience? The boss says you have to…” That certainly jives with my experience that “customer experience” is a top initiative in most companies these days. But, as Ed aptly pointed out, few companies have a clear and consistent definition for what they mean by “customer experience” (CXP). Often, depending upon which group you talk to within an organization, you get several different definitions. Different groups also measure customer experience in different ways. For instance, customer service groups might measure customer satisfaction, while marketing measures retention, and engineering measures quality. All that’s ok – in fact it’s a good thing. The key point? Before embarking on a CXP initiative bring all of the diverse people together clearly define your objectives, the tactics for achieving those objectives, and how you will measure success.

In fact, Ed says “lots of companies give up before they see the improvement.” Many companies have applied the model developed by Professor Noriaki Kano to CXP projects.

Ed’s pointers:

  • Get the basics right.
  • Focus on moving above average before, during, and after the experience. Plan to move some investment to setting customer expectations, getting more customer feedback, and reacting to the feedback.
  • Stay on top and avoid the middle ground by excelling in one of three dimensions: 
    1. Product leadership (e.g., Apple)
    2. Customer intimacy (e.g., USAA)
    3. Operational efficiency (e.g., Southwest Airlines)

To the investment point above, I was disappointed, although not terribly surprised, to hear the results of a Gartner study revealing that while 95% of firms survey customers to get feedback, a paltry 10% do anything with that feedback.

Ed also talked about the large numbers of companies creating executive level positions focused on customer experience (e.g., VP of Customer Experience). Unlike some industry pundits who espouse Customer Experience Officer C-level positions, I was happy (because it aligns with my own view) to hear Ed indicate that, in his experience, he typically sees this position reporting to the CMO. Is the CXP executive a fad role? “No,” says Ed, “if European companies are adopting it, it couldn’t just be a fad started in California” (this elicited another chuckle from me).

Finally, I was happy to hear Ed fire a few bullets at NetPromoter (NPS) saying (as I have also said) that the metric isn’t a silver bullet, that more than one question is necessary, and NPS doesn’t help companies with causal analysis. He further indicated that NPS is useful in some industries some of the time, but not in all channels, and isn’t a great metric across all company types (e.g., B2B firms). The best use of NPV? Give to your board of directors, but don’t stop analyzing and measuring lots of other things.

Meet At The Gartner CRM Summit? September 6, 2008

Posted by Elana Anderson in Marketing, Marketing Technology.
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I’m off tomorrow (Sunday, 9/7) to DC and the Gartner CRM Summit. I’m excited to attend my first Gartner event — understandably, I’ve been a Forrester bigot until now… — and to see how the other half lives. If you are planning to attend and want to connect, drop me a note and we can arrange to meet up. Also, please plan to drop by the Unica booth. I’ll probably be hanging close by during booth hours. Hope to see you there!

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