I recently took part in Forrester’s Predictions 2020 webinar. Attendees were able to ask me their burning customer experience (CX) questions. There were a lot of CX questions this year (as you can see from the length of this post), so I decided to round up a few of the questions and answers here

Q: How do you differentiate between CX and product experience, especially if CX and product experience are both digital?

A: We don’t. In fact, for most customers, the greatest amount of time they spend interacting with a brand is when they use the brand’s product or service.

Q: How do you influence senior executives to invest in CX when they don’t believe that it will increase business performance? What’s the best way to get started on CX journey in this situation?

A: I have some blog posts that collectively break down this problem and how to solve it: 

Also, check out Forrester’s complimentary step-by-step guide to building a convincing business case for CX. It includes an ROI modeling tool that can clarify the connection between CX and positive financial outcomes to executives.

Q: What should firms do to develop an understanding of the client’s mindset with real-time relevance?

A: Check out Kelly Price’s report, “How To Increase Your Firm’s Appetite For Customer Understanding.”

Q: Harley, where do you see the voice-of-the-customer (VoC)/CX platform and technology market heading? Is VoC research the most important component of CX management?

ARegarding VoC platforms, surveys have become a commodity, and the real differentiation is in the ability to ingest and analyze data from multiple sources, especially unstructured data. For details, check out the upcoming “The Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q1 2020” by Senior Analyst Faith Adams, which is scheduled to go live on February 11.

Regarding the importance of VoC: I wouldn’t say that VoC research is the most important. It’s foundational because almost every other competency rests on it (e.g., you can’t design good solutions for your customers unless you first understand your customers).

That said, if all you do is listen without taking action, you won’t accomplish much. Plus, you need to measure CX systematically so you can tell whether your solutions actually improved the experience. Consider checking out this report, which describes how the competencies fit together.

Q: You mentioned that CX professionals should build data skills. What kinds of skills are in demand?

AData science skills that can take the massive amount of customer data that firms collect and turn it into actionable insights — for example, driver analysis and path analysis (to determine causality).

Check out the great work by Forrester Principal Analyst Andrew Hogan on this topic. I suggest starting with the report, “Data-Fueled Products: How To Thrive On The Design And Data Science Collision.”

Q: Do you have any reports that indicate CX performance gains in the B2B space?

A: We typically embed B2B examples in our CX reports that are not explicitly labeled B2C or for a specific B2C industry. For example, look at Figure 1 in this report and check out the HP example.

If you want to have a deeper conversation around the economics of B2B CX, have a chat with Forrester Principal Analyst TJ Keitt.