Pitfalls Lurk For Brands Playing Catch-Up To Consumers

We’re in the midst of a customer experience revolution, according to Forrester Research. Brands just catching on to the fact are in for a tough year.
 
“In 2013 … the customer-experience industry will be characterized by efforts that range wildly from systematic change initiatives to desperate shortcuts,” according to Kerry Bodine, Forrester analyst and co-author of a new report, “2013 Customer Experience Predictions.”
 
Brands hastily trying to catch up to customer experience stars, like Apple, Zappos, and Disney, can be expected to made several costly mistakes, Bodine and her co-author, Ron Rogowski, warn.
 
Among other pitfalls, mobile media newcomers will try to skate by on “responsive design” -- which, while it is an effective technique for ensuring that a Web site renders across various devices, is only part of an effective customer experience strategy, per the analysts.  
 
Late adopters will “get swept up in the hype and implement responsive sites that deliver right-sized content to PC, tablet and mobile devices,” Bodine predicts.
 
She adds: “Having ticked the box on multidevice delivery, [brands will] move onto other priorities -- effectively bypassing opportunities to employ unique device capabilities and deliver the adaptive contextual information and functionality that their customers really want and need.”
 
Bodine and Rogowski also foresee many brands taking shortcuts when it comes to gathering customer research. “Both agencies and clients will short-circuit the research phase, substituting surveys for in-home ethnographic research -- or ditching research altogether, developing personas and journey maps based on what they think they know about customers."
 
Watch for interactive agencies pretending to be service design firms, they caution. “Big interactive agencies will try (unsuccessfully) to fill this space."
 
The research duo is betting a small group of agencies and brands will wisely concede they can’t avoid investing in thorough ethnographic research, developing a customer experience strategy, and following a human-centered design process.

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