CXSF 2015 Recap: Forrester's Forum for Customer Experience Professionals

I recently had the chance to attend the 2015 Forrester’s Customer Experience Conference in San Francisco (CXSF). During the conference, I had plenty of opportunities to connect with leading innovators to share best practices, converse on the latest Forrester research, and of course, enjoy some amazing San Francisco cuisine. 
As a seasoned member of the customer experience (CX) community, it was refreshing to hear how other leading practitioners and analysts describe their methods for getting the CX machine running efficiently. Topics outlined for this year included Digital CX and Culture, Beyond Digital Disruption, and Digital Design. 
These topics align with the modern consumer. While customers continue to shift to digital channels, the future of your brand is determined the moment it takes to click a button or glance at a screen. Making sure your digital CX is ready to compete is a challenging task that can make all the difference. Here are some takeaways from the conference to illustrate this point.
How CX can make or break your digital future
Great customer experience has the power to transform a company from average to exceptional. According to Leah Buley of Forrester Research, 87% of companies recently completed or are currently planning a major company transformation, focused on adapting to digital change. Of these companies, only 25% of these digital transformations are successful.
The major area of failure in these transformations is the concept of design thinking and collaborating toward the common goal of exceptional customer experience. To be successful with major digital change, organizations must empower their employees to collaborate and innovate, rather than focusing on solving individual problem areas. 
Forrester Research Senior Analyst Tony Costa explained that 57% of CX professionals want to lead CX innovation and change in their organizations, but in reality these professionals spend up to 70% of their time fixing or preventing existing issues. This leaves a small portion of their resources available for true innovation and proactive CX strategy. Businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve must empower their CX teams to drive the change throughout the organization.
Transforming your CX program
Below are some tips shared at the conference that have helped other companies transform their CX program. This advice is a great starting point for companies looking to jump-start their own:
  • Team and Culture - The most important resource any organization has to create exceptional customer experiences is their team, and fostering a culture that encourages innovation. Having the right people that are empowered to innovate quickly without fear is what separates the winners from the losers in CX. Ultimately, transformative CX happens through the right combination of people and culture, and you must have both to affect change in any organization.
  • Strategic Design - Another important factor of any successful CX program is design. As consumers evolve, organizations need to focus on digital design as a strategic focus to stay ahead of the curve. In only 10 years, 75% of the workforce will consist of millennials, and this generation of customers are more accustomed to higher orders of design than their predecessors. Evolving and adapting to the needs and desires of your customers will keep you competitive continue to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
  • A Culture of Embracing Failure - Truly innovative cultures embrace failure – not a pattern of failure, but an environment where failure is recognized as an important part of risk-taking. CX is a never ending process of asking difficult questions and a tireless commitment to excellence. Enabling and fostering a culture that understands, and to a certain degree expects, failure is critical. Some of the questions CX disruptors consider when aiming for innovative culture include: How do teams share knowledge? How well is inclusiveness promoted? How is failure tolerated? A truly innovative environment is one which knowledge flows freely between groups, teams and departments, one that promotes acceptance and inclusiveness, and where members feel they are a part of a team.
Fortunately, it is never too late to start. Many of today’s leaders started in relative confusion and obscurity, experiencing at least a few failures along the way. With the almost daily evolution of CX, there is a wealth of resources available to any organization looking to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Thanks to Forrester’s Customer Experience Conference for the great event!
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By John Butler
About the Author:

John Butler is a Customer Experience Team Lead at Stratigent.

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