Forrester CX Europe 2018 - 4 Things We Learned


As Forrester CX Europe 2018 drew to a close for another year, attendees exited the Lancaster Terrace venue in London brimming with ideas for how to get the best out of their CX. This year's event featured some remarkable speeches from equally remarkable guest speakers, and was an unqualified success.

If you were not lucky enough to land yourself a ticket for the conference, don't fear. We've distilled some of the key points into handy summaries, in order to help you really push the boundaries of your customer experience. So, let's take a look - this is what we learned at Forrester CX Europe this year. 

Hitting the Targets on Your X1 is Crucial

Forrester founder, George F. Colony kicked off proceedings with a hugely insightful opening talk, during which he got down to the key elements involved in crafting a positive CX for all clients. Colony identified X1 as vital for your customer journey - X1 being critical and elemental contact between your customers and your business, upon which the rest of your CX hangs.

George F Colony at Forrester CX Europe 2018

X1 – short for Experience 1 – is something you simply must be getting right. During his talk, Colony raised the example of Delta Airlines, who discovered that their X1 was availability of advertised flights. Delta discovered that, after a period in which cancellation rates were high, users were simply heading elsewhere to fulfil their travel needs.

The takeaway here is simple - use data to find your X1 and address this. What do your customers expect to be able to do when they use your service, and what is driving them away? For example, you may discover that lengthy log in processes, or annoying, counter-intuitive website structures are pushing customers away from your business - sort this out and achieve positive, slick, CX.

Customer Experience Must be Geared Towards Habits, both Current and Aspirational

On the first day of the conference, we were treated to a very insightful speech delivered by TJ Keitt, in which he discussed the relationship between customer experience and habit. We all know about customer habits, and we do our best to cater to these habits, but Keitt went further than this - he identified how catering to customer habits within CX must be more far-reaching.

He discussed the example of Borders - the American bookstore - which did a sterling job of catering to the habits of its customers in the present moment. However, as book buying trends shifted, company bosses discovered that the habits they were speaking to had fallen out of vogue. Customers were now, instead, looking elsewhere for their books. and Borders eventually went out of business.

Keitt highlighted how this is linked to an over-reliance on journalist and author Charles Duhigg's habit model - first comes the cue or trigger which kicks the habit off, next is the routine, or the habit in action in daily life, followed by the reward. Businesses such as Borders are focusing too much on this middle 'routine' phase, and banking on this routine being static and unchanging. This works - for a while at least - but, as the Borders example shows us, it does not work forever.

Instead, we must be alive to changes in triggers and cues which will inform this routine and gear our CX to the habits our customers want to form and want to keep, rather than just the ones they currently have.

A CX Needs a Habit Forming Action Plan

Later in Keitt's speech, he turned his attention to the habit-forming components of our CX. To put it simply - he outlined how we need an action plan to form the right sort of habits within our customers.

Keitt broke this plan down into three parts -

  • Making value the focal point of CX
  • Determining where we have permission to be
  • and, defining our focus habits

We are in the driver's seat here, and so it is up to us to ensure that our CX is not only catering to the habits of our customers, but helping to form new habits in the future. The first part of our plan refers to value - what do our customers want from us? What do they consider valuable? And how might changes in the market effect this definition of value?

Next, determining where we have permission to be. This is simply understanding how our customers view us, and what they will allow us to do. For example, if we operate a price comparison website for booking plane tickets, will our customers trust us to offer them high-level travel advice and suggested itineraries?

Finally, defining which sort of habits we want to foster in our customers. As the market develops, what habits do we want our customers to form? We can use the data regarding customer value to determine this, foster brand loyalty by supporting the creation of these new habits.

Trust and Advocacy as CX Gold Standards

Word of mouth marketing is a big deal for modern businesses, but many business owners fail to understand just how big a deal this is, and how CX plays such a major role in achieving its benefits.

Michelle Yaiser discussed this in her talk, analysing areas in which brands can push their CX to the next level, and gain the advantage of high level word of mouth momentum. 76% of customers will recommend a company if they have a good experience Yaiser explained, which is great, but we can push this further. 90% of customers would recommend a company if they have a great experience, translating to a huge amount of revenue and security for the company in question.

So, we should be innovating our CX and using data to drive changes in its implementation, asking "what do our customers want and how can we give this to them?" One example raised by Yaiser was voice activation integration - many companies have not considered implementing this, and yet this is a layer of convenience which many customers crave. This disconnect between customer wants/needs and what is actually provided is harming business.

Next, trust. Michelle Yaiser described the three components of a strong brand. Firstly, the brand sets itself apart from its competitors. Secondly, the brand is one which customers prefer over other, similar brands. Finally, the brand is trusted. Once again, we must return to our data and ascertain what our customers really want and expect from us, then we can craft a CX which brings about this trust, and the loyalty which comes with it.

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