Customer experience transformation efforts don’t happen overnight. It can take years to develop the right customer experience strategy and roll out improvements across interaction points. But the screaming pace of technology innovation over the past year has sparked major changes in customer behavior and expectations. The net result? 2011 will be a pivotal year for the customer experience field.

In our latest report, Ron Rogowski and I outline what these changes mean for customer experience professionals in the year ahead — and what they’ll need to do to keep up. The report includes predictions for the customer experience ecosystem, its impact on organizations, and the resulting implications for customer experience vendors. For example:

  • The complexity of the customer experience ecosystem will mushroom. 2011 will bring major changes in the number of devices consumers have at their disposal as well as the types of interactions they’ll expect on those devices. Forrester expects the number of connected TV sales to double in 2011 — and consumers say they’ll be gobbling up eReaders and tablet computers at the roughly same pace that they’ll purchase new laptops. This will force customer experience professionals to expand — and differentiate — their reach. Despite the growing popularity of mobile and tablet devices, the Web (no, it’s not dead) will continue to be a vital part of the customer experience ecosystem in 2011.
  • More parts of the organization will seek to get into the customer experience game. As customer experience takes a more central role in overall corporate strategy, more departments will take an interest and pursue active involvement. In particular, product management and marketing will both look to start building out experience platforms around core product and service offerings in order to engage customers more deeply across multiple channels. The IT group will support all of these efforts per usual, but operations and HR will also get thrown into the mix as customer experience efforts expand into the redesign of internal business processes and customer-centric hiring, training, and compensation practices.
  • The vendor landscape will get a major shakeup. As firms look for outside help with their customer experience initiatives, we expect customer experience transformation consultants, interactive agencies, and service design agencies to jostle for position. But that won’t compare with the all-out war to own the “customer experience management” space. Given intense client interest in customer experience initiatives, it’s no surprise that technology companies of all shapes and sizes have started to rebrand themselves as customer experience management (CEM) vendors. However, CEM is a strategy supported by an ecosystem of technologies — and a single platform that supplies all CEM needs will never exist. Instead, we expect more of what we saw in 2010: many vendors, each of which supplies a piece of the puzzle, claiming to own it all.

For a complete list of our customer experience predictions for 2011, please see the full report.

Ron and I will be sharing our predictions (including a few that didn’t make it into the report!) during our teleconference on February 1st at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. We hope you can join us.