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Enabling Customer Experience as a Business Discipline


Forrester is one of the most influential research and advisory firms in the world. The firm works with business and technology leaders to develop customer-obsessed strategies that drive growth. Through proprietary research, analytics, custom consulting, exclusive executive peer groups, learning offerings, and events, Forrester challenges the thinking of its clients to help them lead change in their organizations.

As traditional sources of competitive advantage disintegrate, customer experience has become one of the few ways companies can differentiate themselves and drive financial performance. Forrester has a deep history in customer experience, dating back to the founding of its Customer Experience (CX) practice in 1998. Members of the firm’s CX Council, a 300-member group of senior professionals across multiple industries, expressed frustration with inadequate training opportunities for their field. In response, Forrester launched its CX Certification Program in July 2018 to develop skills and create professional recognition in an emerging business discipline.

Challenges in Building a Global CX Training Program

When the Forrester team first convened to hammer out a plan of action for the CX training, they knew, based on customer feedback, that the program had to be online so it could scale for global teams. The team also heard from clients that the learning program needed to embed the principles of social learning and incorporate practical application with interactive coursework supported by peers, mentors, and facilitators. These program requirements would be key in helping course participants turn the abstract concept of CX into the concrete and actionable skills required for CX practitioners to confidently execute CX improvements.

It was mission-critical to create a differentiated, rich and engaging digital learning experience,” relayed Erin Streeter, VP Certification Products. CX improvement projects are large, collaborative, cross-functional initiatives, and the learning environment needed to expose participants to different viewpoints and deep interactions with peers.

“It was mission-critical to create a differentiated, rich, and engaging digital learning experience.”

– Erin Streeter, VP, Certification Products, Forrester

Co-creating a Powerful CX Certification Program

To meet these needs, Forrester turned to NovoEd and its flexible, configurable online platform. Its sophisticated design delivers consumer-grade learning experiences that appeal to adults, meeting them where they like to learn (desktop or mobile devices) and how they like to learn (video, audio or text). NovoEd’s functionality fosters social and collaborative learning, enabling participants to engage in team discussions and projects and get feedback from peers, mentors, and facilitators. The Forrester team was able to easily customize the platform to align with the certification program’s specifications; there was no need for a team of outside developers, which resulted in lower development costs and faster delivery to market.

The result was a program with three levels: Level 1, CX Foundations; Level 2, CX Management; and Level 3, Innovating CX. Courses typically launch once per month and are open for an 8-week period during which participants complete 6 lessons. Each lesson is comprised of short videos, webinar excerpts, case study snapshots, peer discussions, insights from experts, and tools and templates from a CX Toolkit, a resource of frameworks and guides. Built for practical application, lessons include hands-on exercises designed to help participants implement CX strategies in their own organizations.

“We needed a collaborative, interactive, modern learning environment that would help working professionals immediately put into practice what they are learning.

– Erin Streeter, VP, Certification Products, Forrester

Proving the Concept

In the 12 months since the launch of the CX Certification Program, Forrester has trained and certified more than 1,200 professionals, with course completion rates at 92%. Participants represented more than 300 Fortune 5000 companies, with a global reach that has far exceeded initial expectations.

Pre- and post-course participant surveys, which measured satisfaction and value, showed impressive gains. Participants reported an increase in their confidence to:

  • Craft a brand-aligned CX vision jumped almost 2.5x
  • Establish a customer-centric culture nearly doubled
  • Develop a CX measurement program increased by more than 2.5x

Forrester has identified further ways to expand and enhance the CX practitioner learning experience by building upon the strong peer connections and digital engagement made possible through the NovoEd platform. These enhancements ensure its courses not only impart the knowledge and skills practitioners need, but also help to create a community of practice that sustains learning over time.


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