American Express, CDW, and Dell are the winners of the 2010 Forrester Research (Nasdaq: FORR) Voice Of The Customer Awards, announced today at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum 2010. The Voice Of The Customer Awards recognize initiatives that enable companies to dramatically improve how they collect, interpret, and react to customer feedback. Close to 900 people attended the New York event, which was targeted at Customer Experience professionals.

“The quality of this year’s nominees is evidence that voice of the customer programs are advancing rapidly,” said Harley Manning, vice president, research director, Forrester Research. “The best VoC programs demonstrate that executive involvement, measurement, and insights that are tied directly to action are critical to customer experience success.”

Nearly 40 companies representing leading brands in financial services, healthcare, retail, technology, and travel submitted entries to this year’s Voice Of The Customer Awards. Winners were judged across five categories: clarity of approach, business value to the organization, positive impact on customer experience, innovation, and potential for other companies to repeat the practice.

American Express. The global servicing firm won for its significant focus on employee engagement. The “Relationship Care” servicing ethos centers on the idea that every customer interaction is not just a transaction but an opportunity to deepen the relationship and drive customer loyalty. Results include a double-digit increase in “Recommend to a Friend” scores when this approach is used, as well as the highest customer satisfaction rankings among credit card companies by J.D. Power and Associates for the past three years

“At American Express we know great service doesn’t come down to what we think about our performance internally, it’s all about what the customer thinks after every interaction,” said Jim Bush, executive vice president of world service. “Actively listening to and connecting with our customers is an integral aspect of our business, and we are honored Forrester has recognized our efforts.”

CDW. The technology solutions provider won for its closed-loop listening process. CDW surveys thousands of its customers annually and creates “hot alerts” to immediately follow up with customers based on their responses. One type of alert notifies salespeople of opportunities to enrich existing client relationships, which drove millions of dollars in additional revenue for the company in 2009.

“At CDW we focus on understanding and meeting the needs of our customers, the IT professionals who face new challenges in their efforts to elevate the value of IT in their organizations,” said Thomas E. Richards, president and chief operating officer, CDW. “This award signifies our dedication to listening and learning from our customers in order to help IT professionals make the most of technology to drive the success of their organizations.”

Dell. The technology manufacturer won for its significant focus on employee and customer collaboration. Dell’s IdeaStorm and EmployeeStorm forums let customers and employees share ideas for new products. The firm also uses customer ratings and reviews to drive product enhancements and challenges engineers to earn average ratings of 4.5/5 stars for new products. These efforts have generated thousands of ideas, 400 of which have already been implemented.

“Forrester’s recognition underscores Dell’s overarching commitment to customers,” said Gary Fox, Dell director global customer experience. “Customers are at the core of our existence. Their feedback and our ongoing conversations help us achieve our company’s purpose — to deliver technology solutions that enable people everywhere to grow and thrive. We are thrilled Forrester has chosen to recognize the intimacy Dell shares with the people we serve and humbled to be included among a group of companies known for such strong customer advocacy.”

Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum 2010

Nearly 900 people attended Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum 2010 in New York. New research presented at the Forum illustrated the strategic differences between companies that scored well — and companies that fared poorly — in Forrester’s annual Customer Experience Index. According to the Forrester report “How Companies Improve Their Customer Experience Index Scores,” high-ranking companies demonstrate an enterprise-level perspective that includes executive support, a strong level of financial investment, and a commitment to cross-channel initiatives. Customer Experience professionals can use the data and analysis in the report to manage and improve their overall customer perception.

Industry leaders who spoke at the Event included:

  • Janice W. Brown, Manager, Channel Strategy and Orchestration, FedEx
  • Kathleen Cattrall, Vice President, Branded Customer Experience, Time Warner Cable
  • John Costello, Chief Global Customer & Marketing Officer, Dunkin’ Brands
  • Dan Hesse, Chief Executive Officer, Sprint Nextel
  • Neff Hudson, Assistant Vice President, Enterprise Member Experience, USAA
  • Patty VanLammeren, Vice President, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Allstate Insurance
  • Sabrina Wiewel, Chief Tax Network Officer, H&R Block

Attendees took part in more than 300 one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, peer networking, and a technology showcase where 29 sponsors — including platinum sponsor Acxiom and gold sponsors Autonomy, Cynergy, EffectiveUI, LivePerson, Molecular, and SapientNitro — shared their solutions.

Members of Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Leadership Boards, including members of the Customer Experience Council, took part in peer networking events. More information on Forrester Leadership Boards is available at: