CX Quality Falls for Second Straight Year
Customer experience quality from U.S. companies declined for an unprecedented second year in a row, according to Forrester Research’s 2023 U.S. CX Index. Despite more than 80 percent of business leaders indicating that improving CX is a high priority, just 6 percent saw a significant increase in 2023, compared to 10 percent in 2022.
Luxury auto manufacturers and retailers are the only industries to significantly improve their overall CX quality this year. Companies from both industries, including Infiniti, Lincoln, and Tractor Supply, joined the 2023 list of elite brands—the top 5 percent of companies in the entire CX Index. Only six companies (Chewy.com, Etsy, HEB, Navy Federal Credit Union, Trader Joe’s, and USAA) are repeats from 2022.
In addition to these companies, the only other one in the top 5 percent was Lexus.
Forrester’s research also found that emotion remains a key driver for delivering high levels of CX performance. In 2023, elite companies delivered customer experiences that evoked, on average, 29 positive emotions, including feeling happy, valued, and appreciated, for each negative emotion, such as anger or frustration.
“The past 12 months have been unpredictable for consumers and brands in the U.S., especially as brands struggle to sustain CX quality levels achieved during the pandemic,” said Rick Parrish, a vice president and research director at Forrester. “Despite the continued drop in CX quality, the silver lining is that more organizations are aware that they need to prioritize their customers’ needs to drive business growth. When companies invest in improving their CX quality, they receive many benefits, including higher customer loyalty, retention, and devotion.”
Pete Jacques, another Forrester principal analyst, said delivering easy and effective experiences today is tougher for companies, many of which are struggling to deliver great CX at scale in the middle of a talent-constrained recession. “And as CX leaders know all too well, customer expectations constantly increase, regardless of macroeconomic conditions,” he wrote in a blog post.
Jacques also maintained that although companies understand the value of customer obsession, few have actually embedded it into their cultures. In the 2023 CX Index, the number of U.S. business leaders who said their companies are customer-obsessed rose by three points to 6 percent.
Yet customer obsession is still not getting the prioritization it deserves in most organizations, according to Forrester, which identified the following reasons:
- Customer obsession feels too big to initiate.
- Customer obsession turns into a platitude to justify any business effort that they like.
- Other leaders assign customer obsession internally but don’t support it.
- Overthinking stifles progress. Striving for the perfect customer strategy or bemoaning regulations paralyzes companies at lower levels of customer-obsession maturity.
Jacques also noted that high-quality CX is no longer just a nice-to-have; it’s a revenue driver. “Even small improvements in CX quality can reduce an enterprise’s churn and increase its share of wallet, adding up to millions of dollars in revenue,” he said in the blog post.
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