tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/customer-experience Latest Customer Experience content from Econsultancy 2017-02-20T11:58:23+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68807 2017-02-20T11:58:23+00:00 2017-02-20T11:58:23+00:00 Does customer experience need its own department? Ben Davis <p>In an ideal world, everybody should champion the customer and their experience; certainly everyone within marketing, ecommerce/digital, sales, product development, service design and leadership.</p> <p>That's what happens in startups, and it's easy to do when you're a small band of merry men and women led by a charismatic founder. But how easy is it for a big multinational? How does that actually work?</p> <p>At a recent Econsultancy roundtable where we discussed customer-centric and design-led business, the discussion occasionally stalled as delegates explained what customer experience meant in each of their organisations. Some were defining departments and roles, others a mindset.</p> <h3>The customer lab</h3> <p>Some companies may have a customer lab responsible for CX strategy but also more broadly product innovation. This type of incubated unit may bear similarities to a design studio and a customer insight department, headed up by a chief customer officer.</p> <p>Separate units for product innovation are a common theme of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a>. Arguably they also allow for a more design-led approach to customer insight, often defined as 'jobs to be done'.</p> <h3>Customer insight or jobs to be done?</h3> <p>The jobs-to-be-done framework (<a href="http://www.christenseninstitute.org/key-concepts/jobs-to-be-done/">as described by Clayton Christensen</a>) is based on solving customer problems or meeting customer needs, rather than defining a customer by their attributes (demographics, behaviour etc.).</p> <p>This framework isn't really that new, it's an integral part of service design that is now bleeding into marketing. In some ways, it's a reassertion of the concept of usefulness, in the face of mounting volumes of data which threaten to obfuscate the customer need.</p> <p>Yes, 2017 may be the year of data lakes and data ops (see <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68706-ashley-friedlein-s-marketing-and-digital-trends-for-2017/">Ashley Friedlein's 2017 marketing trends</a>), getting control of first-party data and structuring it properly to 'market to machines', however there's a simultaneous need for clear design-led decision making.</p> <p>This need to solve customer problems is what has led some companies to align their organisational structure around key parts of the customer journey, rather than by business function.</p> <h3>Should org structure follow the customer journey?</h3> <p>In some organisations, customer experience ownership is achieved with departments responsible for different journey stages such as acquisition, on-boarding, payment etc.</p> <p>This structure resists functional silos (digital, marketing, finance etc.) and may encourage teams to tackle problems channel-agnostically.</p> <p>There's plenty of theory about organisational structure and whether products or customer journeys should span functional verticals. A long and thoughtful <a href="https://stratechery.com/2016/apples-organizational-crossroads/">blog post by Stratechery</a> on Apple's unique organisational structure is well worth a read.</p> <p>The blog post asserts that Apple's organisation around expertise rather than products (a unitary or integrated org) allows it to create products with superior UX, but may well hinder the company in creating and iterating services. A comparison is made with DuPont, which eventually separated its explosives and paint divisions after the First World War, as the strategy needed for the respective products was entirely different.</p> <p>There is perhaps a correlation to the idea of customer journey departments here. If, reader, you work in a company with such a structure, please do leave a comment below and give an idea of how this works.</p> <h3>Design as a service</h3> <p>Another factor to consider is the idea of design as a service, sort of like a devolved customer lab. This may mean design teams, possibly assembled from notional functional silos and managed by a project manager or customer officer.</p> <p>For example, all the UX experts may still sit together day-to-day, but each could be assigned to a different design team, where they conduct a certain proportion of their work on a particular service or customer interaction.</p> <h3>Do we need to redefine 'experience'?</h3> <p>One of the issues with assigning responsibility for the customer experience is the fact that it is a broad church. Where once it may have been about CRM, now its tentacles have spread, largely thanks to digital's impact on multichannel marketing.</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.digitalclaritygroup.com/owns-experience/">a terrific article about CX</a>, Tim Walters from the Digital Clarity Group breaks this down by referencing the work of J.M.C. Snel in her 2011 dissertation “For the Love of Experience.” </p> <p>Snel breaks experience into three vectors: </p> <ul> <li>The environment: This is the thing that is experienced – e.g., Disneyland, a city park, a meal, a movie, a mobile web page.</li> <li>The encounter: This is the interaction of an individual with the environment.</li> <li>The effect: This is the result of the encounter, a judgment or attitude held by the individual. (Which is significantly influenced by prior expectations.)</li> </ul> <p>Listed like this, one can see the idea of customer experience stretches far into the organisation and, as Snel comments, the idea of customer experience management probably focuses too heavily on the environment (building a digital product, say), rather than on the encounter.</p> <p>The encounter is about understanding what the user wants to achieve in context. This harks back to jobs-to-be-done and service design.</p> <h3>Some conclusions...</h3> <ul> <li>'Customer experience' is not a definitive term, nor is it always a useful one.</li> <li>Though a mindset should prevail, there has to be accountability and therefore metrics.</li> <li>Improving customer experience may be more a product of increasing collaboration between functional silos, or breaking them up completely to align with the customer journey</li> <li>There must be leaders that champion a design-led approach.</li> <li>Large organisations may need to incubate new CX departments in order to change culture and processes.</li> <li>What's in a name? Customer experience managers may be analagous to UX managers, to customer insight managers, to heads of analytics, or some combination of these roles.</li> </ul> <p>If you're reading this and you're an experienced digital leader or an expert in design or UX, you'll probably realise that I have little practical experience in organisation design, or indeed of large multinational companies. Please do wade into the comments and put me straight.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, book yourself onto one of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/customer-experience/">Customer Experience Training Courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68808 2017-02-16T10:00:00+00:00 2017-02-16T10:00:00+00:00 UK retailers still failing to meet web accessibility standards Chris Rourke <p>With so many barriers in store, shopping online from the comfort of your home is an attractive option. Furthermore, under the Equality Act 2010 all retailers must provide access to their goods online as well as in store. </p> <p>We decided to review the online accessibility of six well known UK retailers to identify the main barriers for online shoppers with disabilities.</p> <p>The chosen retailers were:</p> <ol> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 1: Boots" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-boots/" target="_blank">Boots</a></li> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 2: Mothercare" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-mothercare/" target="_blank">Mothercare</a></li> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 3: House of Fraser" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-house-off-fraser/" target="_blank">House of Fraser</a></li> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 4: Joules" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-joules/" target="_blank">Joules</a></li> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 5: Tesco" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-tesco/" target="_blank">Tesco</a></li> <li><a title="Accessibility Review of Online Retailers Part 6: Not on The High Street" href="http://uservision.co.uk/2017/01/accessibility-review-not-on-high-street/" target="_blank">Not on the High Street</a></li> </ol> <h3>How did we measure/review online accessibility?</h3> <p>To evaluate the accessibility of a site we audit them against the Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines from the W3C. Also known as <a title="Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines from the W3C" href="https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag.php" target="_blank">WCAG 2.0</a>, these guidelines help to improve web accessibility and are the best way to ensure the site serves the widest audience.</p> <p>We followed a typical shopping journey to assess how the retailers approached accessibility on their sites. This included:</p> <ul> <li>Homepage and search</li> <li>Browse (including any product category and product range pages)</li> <li>Selection (product page and basket)</li> <li>Payment (delivery and payment details)</li> </ul> <p>We focused on the major aspects of WCAG 2.0 Level AA, including important factors such as keyboard accessibility and screen reader compatibility. Items we looked out for included:</p> <ul> <li>Use of <strong>headings</strong> </li> <li>Alt text for <strong>images</strong> </li> <li>Availability of<strong> skip links</strong> </li> <li>Inclusion of a <strong>visible focus</strong> </li> <li>Access to <strong>forms</strong> </li> <li>Use of <strong>ARIA</strong> to provide greater context</li> <li>Access of <strong>pop ups / modal windows</strong> </li> <li><strong>Colour contrast</strong></li> <li>Navigating around is in a <strong>logical order</strong> </li> <li> <strong>Links</strong> are meaningful and describe their purpose</li> </ul> <h3>What were the common barriers?</h3> <p>We gained a good insight into the main barriers disabled users face when shopping online. There were several common themes and unfortunately all of the sites failed to meet the Level AA of the WCAG 2.0 guidelines.</p> <p>This means that disabled users would face difficulty in buying a product on each site, with half of the sites completely inhibiting users at certain points in their journey. The main accessibility problems are described below, with examples from across the sites.</p> <h3>Visible focus</h3> <p>This navigational technique highlights where the user is on the page visually. This is essential for sighted users who rely on visual cues to navigate with a keyboard.</p> <p>As positive examples, Tesco and House of Fraser provide clear and consistent visible focus so users can see their location as they move their focus through the site. Other retailers had a mix of custom, default or no focus at all so that they relied on the default browser focus which is not sufficient since it can be unclear and inconsistent between browsers.</p> <p>Below we can clearly see that the “Home Electrical” link has keyboard focus on the Tesco site as the text is underlined and is displayed in a blue colour which is distinguishable from the rest of the text on the page: </p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3895/VisibleFocusExample_Tesco.png" alt="Clear visible focus on the Tesco homepage enables users to see where they are on the page." width="967" height="282"></p> <h3>‘Skip to’ links</h3> <p>For non-sighted users, ‘skip to’ links provide an easy way to move through the navigation and into the main content of the page.</p> <p>Only half of the sites had implemented ‘skip to’ links meaning that keyboard users would repeatedly have to step through lengthy navigation menus, an even more tedious task for screen reader users listening to the links.</p> <p>House of Fraser was a great example of a site that had clear ‘skip to’ links:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3896/SkipToLinks_HOF.png" alt="Good example of clear and visible ‘Skip to main content’ link on House of Fraser site." width="891" height="128"></p> <p>Joules had more than one ‘skip to’ link but they were designed to be hidden for sighted users. Consequently, sighted keyboard users were unable to take advantage of this functionality.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3897/SkiptolinksBadExample_Joules.png" alt="‘Skip to content’ link on Joules.com does not become visible" width="1010" height="655"></p> <h3>Alternative text for images</h3> <p>Alternative text is read by screen readers in place of images, allowing the content and function of the images to be available to those with visual or certain cognitive disabilities. All informative images on a page should have suitable alternative text, providing all users with the same access to content.  </p> <p>Across our retailers, use of alternative text was generally good with appropriate and descriptive alt tags on product images. However, we did notice issues on both Boots and Mothercare where image descriptions were read to the screen reader more than once.</p> <p>This was due to images having both an alt tag and identical title attribute. We recommend retailers remove titles with duplicate text to make sure the image descriptions are not repeated unnecessarily.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3898/AltTextforImages_Mothercare.png" alt="Product descriptions on Mothercare site are read to screen reader users more than once" width="853" height="593"></p> <h3>Providing context to screen reader users</h3> <p>This is fundamental for screen reader users who are not able to visually group information together or understand meaning through visible presentation. Information and relationships must be therefore associated programmatically.</p> <p>Examples of this from our retailers included:</p> <p><strong>Form fields</strong> need to have programmatically associated labels so that screen reader users know what information is required for the form input field. When a form field receives focus the label for the field (e.g. “first name”, “surname”, “email address”) should be called out by the screen reader.</p> <p>This was a persistent issue across all retailers. Some sites such as notonthehighstreet.com frustratingly had correctly implemented this in some areas and not others, meaning inconsistent access to information for their screen reader users.</p> <p>All retailers at one point or another had <strong>links that did not make sense out of context</strong>. Common examples found were ‘show more’ and ‘edit’. As we can see below, Mothercare.com used ambiguous links such as “edit” and “remove”.</p> <p>Without the visual cues, a screen reader user would struggle to know what they are editing or attempting to remove.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3899/AmbiguousLinks_Mcare.png" alt="Mothercare.com uses ambiguous links such as “edit” and “remove”. Screen reader users are not provided with any more context as to what will happen if they click these links" width="409" height="445"> </p> <p>In providing important tools to select product options such as size and colour, some retailers <strong>did not provide screen reader users with all the information they need to make the purchase</strong>.</p> <p>For retailers such as House of Fraser and Joules, there was no notification that a certain size was out of stock. Visually, sizes which aren’t available are scored out and in a lighter grey colour, but these sizes still get read out to the screen reader, indicating that they are available.</p> <p>This would prevent a screen reader user from choosing a product size, and they would need to either give up or ask for assistance.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3900/ProgrammaticallyAssociatedInfo_Joules.png" alt="The colour and size selection/availability on the Joules site are visually clear, but not conveyed programmatically for screen reader users" width="800" height="235"></p> <h3>What we learned:</h3> <p>With physical accessibility in store being such a challenge, online retail may seem the ideal solution. Unfortunately, retailers who fail to consider the issues and barriers mentioned above will not provide the answer for many disabled people.</p> <p>Most retailers had reassuring text on their sites describing their dedication to making their online offerings accessible. Most had also implemented some accessible features on their sites – for instance alternative text for images was widely implemented – yet shortcomings were readily found.</p> <p>Since these accessibility barriers were identified through a relatively short accessibility audit, retailers need to build on these great intentions and implement WCAG 2.0 to significantly improve accessibility across their sites.</p> <p>Retailers should consult with accessibility and UX experts to fully understand the needs of disabled customers and the technical solutions to provide accessibility.</p> <p>Once the identifiable accessibility barriers have been removed, the retailers should involve people with disabilities in usability testing to ensure that the site is usable for this audience as well as compliant to WCAG standards. </p><p><em>Many thanks to my colleagues Marie Moyles and Natalie Simpson for leading the accessibility analysis of the retailer websites.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68746 2017-02-16T01:30:00+00:00 2017-02-16T01:30:00+00:00 Understanding the customer journey: 70% of APAC marketers admit little channel integration Ben Davis <p>The report - <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey-in-asia-pacific-2/">Understanding the Customer Journey in Asia Pacific</a>, in association with Emarsys - also provides evidence that marketers' biggest challenge is a lack of collaboration within organisations.</p> <p>Let's look at some of the findings from the survey.</p> <h3>The omnichannel customer experience is still a pipedream for many</h3> <p>29% of company respondents admit that all of their customer touchpoints are managed in isolation (in silos) and offer inconsistent delivery.</p> <p>A further 41% say that though they understand the customer journey, there is 'little management across touchpoints'.</p> <p>Though 7% have impressive 'seamless integration of channels', the remaining 24% that have 'integrated touchpoints across channels' say this work is 'channel-focused, not customer-focused'. This hints at missed opportunities.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3409/fig_23.jpg" alt="integrated touchpoints" width="615" height="492"></p> <h3>Complexity and collaboration are biggest barriers to understanding the customer journey</h3> <p>When asked what is preventing a better understanding of the customer journey, responses chimed with some of the current themes of marketing transformation. There is difficulty unifying different sources of data (34%), a siloed org structure (34%), lack of sharing between departments (28%), IT bottlenecks (26%) and chiefly a complex customer experience (44%).</p> <p>At the root of many of these problems is the lack of collaboration between teams. Marketing ops teams may be formed to prioritise work and alleviate IT bottlenecks, with a customer-based / design-led approach to marketing requiring cross-functional teams.</p> <p>Though culture isn't a big issue (10%) and understanding the customer journey seems to be on the agenda (only 9% say it is a low business priority), there's notable mention of lack of leadership (21%) and lack of processes (19%), which again point to the need for marketing transformation.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3408/fig_27.jpg" alt="barriers to cx" width="615" height="601"></p> <h3>More than half of marketers have no CX strategy</h3> <p>When asked about their strategy for improving customer experience, 8% of company respondents effectively said 'what strategy?' and 44% said it was in development.</p> <p>This implies 2017 may be a big year for change in APAC as regards the customer journey, with companies set to focus on customer needs and established channels.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3414/fig_3.jpg" alt="strategy for improving cx" width="615" height="494"></p> <p><strong><em>There's plenty more revealed by the survey within the report, including a large section on the ongoing impact of mobile. Subscribers can <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey-in-asia-pacific-2/">download the research today</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4413 2017-02-16T01:00:00+00:00 2017-02-16T01:00:00+00:00 Understanding the Customer Journey in Asia Pacific <p>Businesses across the world are on an agressive path towards making their businesses more customer-centric through better understanding of the customer journey, and making the overall customer experience as postitive as possible.</p> <p>Having the ability to build a joined-up view of all customer interactions and experiences, across every channel and touchpoint, is still held by many as the silver bullet of marketing success.</p> <p>The<strong> Understanding the Customer Journey in Asia Pacific</strong> report, produced in association with <a title="Emarsys" href="https://www.emarsys.com/">Emarsys</a>, explores what APAC companies are doing to map journeys and improve the overall customer experience across an array of different touchpoints.</p> <p>The research is based on a survey of almost 1,000 digital marketers and ecommerce professionals in Asia Pacific, carried out between August and October 2016.</p> <h2>Key findings from the report </h2> <ul> <li>Desktop is regarded as the most important channel for understanding the customer journey but mobile comes out on top as combined first and second choice for three-quarters of respondents.</li> <li>Companies say they lack the systems (79%), data (74%) and analysis skills (68%) to effectively map the mobile customer journey.</li> <li>Two-thirds of companies rely on email data to inform their understanding of the customer journey.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68786 2017-02-14T13:49:16+00:00 2017-02-14T13:49:16+00:00 Amazon Alexa: Brands must be careful before rushing in Ben Davis <p>The chart below from Business Insider shows estimated worldwide unit sales of 2.4m in 2015 and more than double that in 2016.</p> <p><a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/amazon-echo-sales-figures-stats-chart-2016-12"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3773/echo_sales.jpg" alt="alexa sales" width="800"></a></p> <p>What makes Alexa so interesting to me is not just the confluence of science fiction and reality, but the uncertainty about just how far this technology will be admitted into our lives.</p> <p>Most coverage of Alexa and most anecdotal user feedback (from my friends who have splashed out) suggests that the Echo is used for relatively limited functionality - chiefly, productivity and entertainment.</p> <p>A survey conducted by Statista (see below) showed playing music and controlling smart lights to be the most frequently used functionality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3776/statista_echo.jpg" alt="echo usage" width="615" height="438"></p> <p>Being able to check and update your shopping list or calendar, play music, search Google - none of this is inconsequential, of course. For many, these features alone are enough to justify investing in an Echo.</p> <p>But the survey results beg the question - how will functionality evolve and should brands be getting in on the act? The research was conducted at a relatively early stage for Echo (Alexa Skills increased in number by c.4000 between May and December 2016), and the sample size of the survey wasn't great either.</p> <p>Are Echo owners now ready for some more varied functionality?</p> <p>Of the integrations now available in early 2017 there are some that conceptually seem like a good fit. Uber and Domino's for example. Whilst there may be the odd bit of friction involved, partly due to functionality being tied to one default destination or pizza order, these are surely just wrinkles.</p> <p>However, for every one of these promising Skills there are others that have been met with derision by Echo owners.</p> <h3>A problem of concept or execution?</h3> <p>The growth in Skills developed by third-party developers is impressive, but look at the number of critical reviews. In the screenshot below I have broken out Amazon's cumulative frequencies to show the number of reviews left at each star rating. More than a third of reviews are one or two star reviews.</p> <p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/alexa-skills/b/ref=dp_bc_1?ie=UTF8&amp;node=13727921011"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3770/Screen_Shot_2017-02-08_at_11.25.44.png" alt="alexa reviews" width="404" height="338"></a></p> <p>Okay, some of these reviews are probably spurious. And not all Skills will work - just as not every mobile app works. </p> <p>However, some of the bigger-brand forays into Alexa Skills (outside of news, entertainment and connected home) do seem patchy at this early stage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3785/bmw.jpg" alt="bmw connected" width="150"></p> <p>Almost 60% of 63 reviews for BMW's Alexa Skill are rated one star only. The functionality is limited and is not integrated with all of BMW's new models. How's this for a review:</p> <blockquote> <p>A brand new, $80k+ M4 Coupe and all I can do so far is have Alexa lock my doors, although I can't check whether they're already locked or not. "Alexa, ask BMW if my doors are locked." Reply: "This feature is not supported for your vehicle."; Not Alexa's fault though, BMW apparently hasn't made their end smart enough yet.</p> </blockquote> <p>To be fair to BMW, they responded, detailing what functionality this customer can try out (check trip details and turn on ventilation), and thanking them for being an early adopter. Even so, could this early release annoy valuable customers in a sector where tech is a big selling point?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3786/nr_skill.png" alt="national rail" width="150"></p> <p>In the UK, National Rail's Alexa Skill has critical reviews pointing out poor UX, such as having to keep saying "more" to get Alexa to name every train time, or having to specify an exact railway station, when users often want to name a city. It is perhaps the perfect example of an experience more suited to a screen than a voice.</p> <p>Some of the Skills available are seemingly scuppered by poor implementation. But some of them are poor concepts, too. Until Amazon adds that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68773-all-the-digital-news-stories-you-missed-this-week-23/">rumoured</a> screen to Echo, brands should think carefully whether their Alexa Skill will be a delightful experiment for high value customers or a frustrating waste of time.</p> <p>Getting involved early isn't necessarily a bad thing if brands are equipped to fail fast. However, if Skills are not updated regularly enough, they risk achieving the opposite of what is intended and giving users a poor and all-too memorable experience on their shiny new speaker.</p> <p>Early app developers arguably had a greater period of grace, as the world began to understand the power of smartphones. If Echo devices continue to fly off the shelves, I'm not sure Skill developers can sail as close to the wind.</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68791-should-financial-services-brands-follow-capital-one-on-to-amazon-echo/"><em>Should financial services brands follow Capital One on to Amazon Echo?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/"><em>The problem with voice user interfaces like Amazon Alexa</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68791 2017-02-09T10:31:00+00:00 2017-02-09T10:31:00+00:00 Should financial services brands follow Capital One on to Amazon Echo? Ben Davis <p>The bank has moved quickly and has garnered some good reviews.</p> <p>Banking mobile apps are amongst the most sophisticated and widely adopted, so is it a natural leap on to the voice UX of a cognitive assistant?</p> <h3>Financial services a good fit for Alexa?</h3> <p>There are 130 Alexa Skills in the business and finance category on Amazon. However, most of these are news related.</p> <p>One or two Skills provide information for users that play the stock market. Fidelity is the chief example, though is seemingly not the most elegantly designed Skill (it isn't real-time and is accused of being too verbose, and lacking a full range of stocks).</p> <p>Listen to the Skill in action in the video below and see if you think the information is easy to take on board or beats the UX of a screen. One suspects the user will quickly jump back to a mobile app.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/6DTANSwDpxY?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Virginia Credit Union <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Virginia-Credit-Union/dp/B01N9CS0CL/ref=sr_1_22?s=digital-skills&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1486554044&amp;sr=1-22">has an Alexa Skill</a>, but the extent of the functionality is, to me, somewhat comical.</p> <p>For example, the Skill boasts the ability to ask “What’s the Member Services phone number?” or “When is Member Services open?” - a science fiction gadget to direct you back to a telephone. Multichannel, maybe, but frictionless, definitely not. </p> <p>Capital One, though, does much more. Example commands include: </p> <p><strong>For your credit card:</strong></p> <ul> <li>“How much did I spend at Target last month?” </li> <li>“What’s my current credit card balance?”</li> <li>“When is my credit card bill due?”</li> <li>“To pay my credit card bill.” </li> </ul> <p><strong>For your bank accounts:</strong></p> <ul> <li>“What’s my checking account balance?”</li> <li>“What are my recent transactions?”</li> </ul> <p><strong>For your auto loan:</strong></p> <ul> <li>“What’s my car loan principal balance?” </li> <li>“What's my payoff quote?”</li> <li>“When is my car loan due?”</li> <li>“To pay my car loan bill.” </li> </ul> <p>This is genuinely useful functionality and it seems to be pleasing customers. The only bad reviews I found on Amazon come from two or three users who couldn't get their account linked - a common theme across virtually every Alexa Skill that requires it.</p> <p><em>Capital One Alexa Skill in action</em></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fxLhhM8RU-o?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Privacy is still a big problem, though</h3> <p>For the moment, one may argue that other banks have not followed Capital One simply because it is too early. Capital One is the first to recognise a market demand, whether or not it persists.</p> <p>However, could privacy be an issue deterring financial services from following suit?</p> <p>Here's what one reviewer says of Capital One's Alexa Skill:</p> <blockquote> <p>My concern is that the pin code necessary to access account information, pay bills, etc is stored as plain text in Alexa's voice history list, and can be read by anyone who looks.</p> <p>99% of people are not going to know how to go on Amazon through their PC and clear that history, or scroll through hundreds of entries and delete it from the Alexa app. This to me pretty much negates the security aspect of requiring a pin, and so I removed the skill.</p> </blockquote> <p>One can see the reviewer's point. There are more general concerns, too. Even if you believe that passive listening doesn't represent a problem (it is only Alexa's wake phrase that begins the recording of interactions), there are laws and regulations that may apply to voice UX.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_comments/2016/08/00003-128652.pdf">paper by the Future of Privacy Forum</a> (FPF) points out a few of these:</p> <ul> <li>'At the federal level, a “voice print” is considered either a biometric or personal record in the context of the Privacy Act, FERPA, and HIPAA, and thus subjected to greater regulatory restrictions.'</li> <li>'Similarly, several states have expanded their legal definitions of personally identifiable information in certain identity theft or breach notification laws to include some form of biometrics.'</li> <li>'Two states, Illinois and Texas, have broad-reaching statutes that cover biometric data in commercial contexts, and strictly curtail its use.'</li> </ul> <p>Now, of course, at the moment, Alexa only recognises speech (anyone's voice), it doesn't recognise one specific voice and use it for biometric purposes. However, voice recognition is improving and the end goal may be to recognise a voice signature.</p> <p>Either way, the FPF paper points out some ambiguity in the law when distinguishing between the recording itself and the use of that record for biometric purposes.</p> <p>Further, more general concerns are raised when reading the Fourth Amendment. Here's what the FPF report says:</p> <blockquote> <p>Under the “third party doctrine” arising in the twentieth century, information shared with third parties loses its private status under the assumption that there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in information shared with the outside world.</p> <p>...it becomes increasingly possible that courts will be unable to reconcile the third-party doctrine with the historical notion of the home as a constitutional sanctuary. Until judicial solutions are reached, the distinction between local and external processing...may be of particular importance.</p> </blockquote> <p>This distinction may not affect banking directly, but it does hint at a possible tension between privacy and voice UX. </p> <h3>Usability hurdles seem to be smaller</h3> <p>For all the legal ambiguity, voice UX offers some great usability benefits for banking, provided an Alexa Skill (or similar) is properly implemented.</p> <p><a href="https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.07323">Speech input is three times faster</a> than text for English or Mandarin, and there are obvious benefits of voice for some disabled users.</p> <p>There are issues with voice UX that are yet to be solved, of course, and one of them is a <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/292-what-you-say-will-be-searched-why-recognition-systems-don-t-recognize-accents-and-more-1.3211777/here-s-why-your-phone-can-t-understand-your-accent-1.3222569">diminished accuracy of speech recognition for children, seniors and people with accents.</a></p> <h3>But voice is definitely coming</h3> <p>Whether we're talking Amazon Alexa or simple voice searches via Google, voice input is on the rise. </p> <p>There has been a 7x increase in voice search queries since 2010. Google and Microsoft say that nearly one in four mobile searches are now voice-based - that's pretty significant.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3725/google-trend.jpg" alt="voice search" width="800" height="601"></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>It's not hard to look to a future where instead of rooting in a box file under the stairs or even checking a mobile app, banking customers can simply ask their cognitive assistant for information.</p> <p>However, though Amazon sold more than 5m Echo units in 2016, one suspects it will be some time before all the privacy and UX issues come out in the wash.</p> <p>Capital One has to be applauded for getting a working Skill out so quickly - a product of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68506-10-inspiring-examples-of-design-led-brands/">the company's design expertise</a>. Other banks will be watching carefully over the next year, keen to see whether Alexa integration creates some sort of market demand.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68721 2017-02-08T17:11:00+00:00 2017-02-08T17:11:00+00:00 The challenges to CX maturity in India: A lack of vision and collaboration Ben Davis <p>When it comes to their biggest challenge, respondents cite a lack of vision and strategy. Let's have a look at some other data from the survey report...</p> <h3>12% of Indian marketers rate their CX maturity as 'very advanced'</h3> <p>12% of company respondents saw their customer experience (CX) maturity as very advanced. 48% answered 'not very advanced'.</p> <p>These are more positive findings than Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67816-customer-experience-cx-maturity-in-australia-new-zealand-new-report/">CX maturity survey in Australia and New Zealand</a>, where the figures were 3% and 53% respectively.</p> <p>Though the question calls for a subjective response and could perhaps be a reflection of the self-confidence of India's marketers, 12% seems a healthy proportion of 'very advanced' customer experience strategies.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3260/chart_1.png" alt="cx maturity in india" width="615" height="486"></p> <h3>Collaboration and data are the keys to great CX</h3> <p>'Optimising internal collaboration' between teams and 'using data to understand customer behaviours and marketing measures' are identified as the two most important factors in delivering great customer experiences over the coming year.</p> <p>75% and 67% of company respondents stated that these respective factors were 'very important'.</p> <p>These traits of internal collaboration and data-informed design are synonymous with customer-led businesses.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3261/chart_2.jpg" alt="cx challenges" width="615" height="671"></p> <h3>A variety of challenges include complexity, org structure and lack of vision</h3> <p>Respondents were asked to select the three greatest barriers to improving the customer experience. As the chart below shows, responses were varied.</p> <p>It's clear that agency respondents see a lack of overall strategy or vision as the chief barrier (44%), with company respondents placing this second on the list (25%).</p> <p>Company respondents see the complexity of the customer experience as the biggest barrier to improvement (28%).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3263/chart_3.jpg" alt="cx challenges" width="615" height="687"></p> <h3>Focus and marketing ops needed?</h3> <p>The three charts presented here could be seen to tie in neatly with some of the trends noted by Ashley Friedlein in his <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68706-ashley-friedlein-s-marketing-and-digital-trends-for-2017/">2017 digital marketing trends essay</a>.</p> <p>Both collaboration (seen as key to great CX by Indian marketers) and strategy (identified as lacking) are key principles of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68717-what-exactly-is-marketing-ops/">marketing ops</a>, which allows marketing to react quickly to changes in business strategy and customer behaviour.</p> <p>Furthermore, the complexity of the customer experience (identified as the biggest barrier to improvement) means marketers must this year focus very sharply on the channels they want to improve, rather than adding to the confusion with nascent and poorly optimised technologies.</p> <p>However, it's clear that CX is being prioritised by Indian marketers, with 12% already feeling they have it licked.</p> <p><a title="Customer Experience Maturity in India" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-maturity-in-india/" target="_self">Download the report</a> to see the rest of the data, including the methods that Indian marketers are using to improve the customer experience.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4402 2017-02-08T16:00:00+00:00 2017-02-08T16:00:00+00:00 Customer Experience Maturity in India <p>The<strong> Customer Experience Maturity in India</strong> report, published in association with <a title="Epsilon website" href="https://www.epsilon.com/gb/" target="_self">Epsilon</a>, explores the extent to which marketers in India are focusing on the customer, how well they understand the customer journey, how customer experience (CX) budget is allocated, how return on investment is measured and what the future of customer experience initiatives looks like.</p> <h3>What you'll learn</h3> <ul> <li>Find out more about the level of customer experience maturity at which marketers in India stand.</li> <li>Benchmark your CX capabilities against those of marketers in India and discover if you are well equipped to deliver great customer experiences.</li> <li>Gain an understanding of the most common barriers to understanding the customer journey and providing a positive CX.</li> </ul> <h3>Key findings from the report</h3> <ul> <li>Two in five respondents claim to be at an 'intermediate' stage in terms of their understanding of the customer journey.</li> <li>Just 12% of respondents say that their customer touchpoints are seamlessly integrated, to allow for the exploitation of opportunities.</li> <li>Three in five of those surveyed do not have a budget specifically allocated for understanding the customer journey.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68737 2017-02-06T14:32:00+00:00 2017-02-06T14:32:00+00:00 Why brands are increasingly creating experiences & adventures to woo consumers Patricio Robles <p>In partnership with Momenta, a photojournalism non-profit that offers workshops around the world, Leica is inviting individuals who love photography the rare opportunity to travel to India or Myanmar later this year with professional photographers as part of <a href="http://momentaworkshops.com/workshops/leica-destinations-travel-photography-workshops/">its new<em> Destinations</em> program</a>.</p> <p>The two trips, which take place in October and November, consist of "off-the-beaten-path" journeys "without tour buses or large groups."</p> <p>The professional photographers will serve as tour leaders and be available for "one-on-one private editing sessions" with participants. Participants do not need to own Leica equipment, but not surprisingly, "Leica gear...will be made available for those who would like to experience the joy of a rangefinder or elegant point-and-shoot cameras." This includes new Leica equipment, such as the company's $8,000-plus model SL camera.</p> <p>Each trip costs $6,995, excluding international airfare, and is limited to 15 participants. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3623/leica.png" alt="" width="778" height="297"></p> <p>Attendees are promised the experience of a lifetime. As Jamie Rose, the COO of Momenta told Bloomberg about a recent workshop the organization held in Myanmar, "We found out about a novice monk induction ceremony the day before it happened, and we were able to get into it. That’s something nobody else would have had."</p> <p>Leica's <em>Destinations</em> program is an extension of <a href="http://leicaakademieusa.com/">Leica Akademie</a>, which hosts a number of events and has offered a <em>Landscape</em> program that offers photography trips to National Parks.</p> <h3>A way for high-end brands to connect with customers and aspirational consumers</h3> <p>Even though only 15 individuals will be able to participate in each of Leica's <em>Destinations</em> trips, that isn't the point. The mere fact that Leica is offering a program like this helps reinforce its brand and position in the marketplace.</p> <p>Increasingly, that's critically important for companies that compete in the high-end of their markets and often appeal to aspirational consumers. For Leica, a company that sells cameras routinely costing thousands of dollars, and some costing tens of thousands of dollars, experience is indeed one of the most potent ways to reinforce its brand.</p> <p>Leica isn't the only high-end brand taking advantage of experience.</p> <p>Lamborghini, for example, offers the Lamborghini Esperienza, a "tailor-made program [that] allows participants to experience the brand’s values." It includes a visit to the Lamborghini factory in Italy and gives participants the ability to get behind the wheel of some of the company's vehicles on the Autodromo di Imola race track.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3622/lamborghini.png" alt="" width="852" height="259"></p> <p>The luxury car brand also runs Lamborghini Accademia, which offers training programs for those who want to learn how to drive Lamborghinis in a variety of settings.</p> <p>The company's Winter Accademia, which takes place later this month, gives participants the opportunity to learn how to drive Aventador and Huracán vehicles costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in "extreme winter-driving conditions." The program is open to anybody; no ownership of a Lamborghini is required.</p> <h3>The convergence of product and experience</h3> <p>Leica and Lamborghini are two examples of high-profile brands that manufacture and sell physical products and that are building experiences around those products. But what about companies that are focused on experience?</p> <p>Interestingly, some of those are getting into the business of creating products to go along with their experiences. Case in point: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68333-what-brands-need-to-know-about-snapchat-spectacles/">Snapchat Spectacles</a>.</p> <p>Spectacles hints at a future in which brands, no matter what they sell, ultimately seek to cement their position in the markets they serve by combining product and experience.</p> <p>While not every brand has the ability to do this in the same fashion as brands like Leica, Lamborghini and Snapchat, expect to see more and more brands moving in this direction in years to come.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4395 2017-02-06T10:00:00+00:00 2017-02-06T10:00:00+00:00 Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium <p>Econsultancy's <strong>Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a comprehensive collection of the most recent healthcare and pharma statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media.</p> <p>The report will be <strong>updated twice a year</strong>.</p> <p>Like our main <a title="Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium">Internet Statistics Compendium</a>, this report has been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the healthcare and pharma internet statistics you need.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p>Areas covered in this report include:</p> <ul> <li>Digital healthcare market trends</li> <li>Consumer internet and mobile usage</li> <li>Digital health investment / funding</li> <li>Digital strategy</li> <li>Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables</li> <li>Online pharmacies</li> </ul> <p><strong>A free sample document is available for download.</strong></p>