• January 16, 2024

U.S. Companies Fail to Meet Customer Expectations, KPMG Finds

Article Featured Image

The majority of U.S. companies are failing to meet customer expectations, according to KPMG's latest U.S. Customer Experience Excellence report. The survey showed a 5 percent decline from 2022, the lowest level since 2015.

"U.S. businesses went above and beyond to keep customers engaged during the pandemic, raising customer expectations," said Jeff Mango, managing director and customer experience lead at KPMG. "However, companies' post-pandemic recalibrations, together with the tightening of the labor market, have led to an overall decline in customer experience."

But not all news is bad. The research also found that companies that deliver technology efficiency with intimate customer empathy and understanding are seeing profitable growth, Mango said.

In fact, the companies that led the CEE index are balancing the following three major factors to improve results and counter escalating customer expectations:

  1. They rely on operating models that put customers first and orchestrate the experience they provide around this principle.
  2. They use a carefully selected mix of channels, technology, and human interactions for delivering on their brand promise.
  3. They use technology and artificial intelligence as an enabler to solve customers' problems.

"AI and advanced technologies can play a critical role in elevating the total customer experience," Mango said. "The leading U.S. organizations in the CEE report utilize AI not to simply automate processes but to engage with customers, help manage the customer lifecycle, and elevate the human experience."

"Leaders in customer experience realize that consumers warm to personalities. If the emotional connection between brand and customer is to be sustained, AI and digital customer interactions need to be humanized and express the brand personality. By balancing the human touch with automation, top brands can still lower costs to serve, reduce customer friction, and improve customer satisfaction," added Jason Galloway, principal and U.S. Customer Advisory Center of Excellence lead at KPMG.

Many of the organizations that topped this year's rankings have done so for many years, though there are some newcomers to the list. This year's top 10 are as follows:

  1. H-E-B (landed at number one spot for the first time).
  2. USAA (held the top or second position in the CEE index for several years).
  3. Navy Federal Credit Union (has reclaimed a top three spot after four years).
  4. Sherwin-Williams (reached the Top 10 for the first time, but has been in the Top 30 for years).
  5. Edward Jones (rose 20 places to the Top 10 this year).
  6. L.L.Bean (maintained the sixth< spot for two years in a row).
  7. Barnes & Noble (first time to join the Top 10).
  8. Publix (has been in the Top 15 for the last five years).
  9. Chick-fil-A (has been in the Top 10 for four of the last five years).
  10. Walmart (has been consistently in the Top 20 for the last five years).

Among the companies that are considered Movers and Shakers, having made significant progress in 2023 by increasing their ranking by more than 60 places, are the following:

  • Humana (advanced 119 places to 26 from 145).
  • DoubleTree by Hilton (advanced 84 places to 77 from 161).
  • Progressive Insurance (advanced 63 places to 94 from 157).

Grocery retail remained in the top industry position with an average score of 7.68 out of 10, despite a 3 percent decrease from 2022. Financial services remained in second place with a score of 7.54, showing a 4 percent decrease from 2022, and non-grocery retail remained in third place with a score of 7.45, also down 4 percent from 2022. Restaurant and fast food remained in fourth place with a score of 7.42, while healthcare rises to fifth place with a score of 7.33. The average score for all industries was 7.28.

Travel and hotel, entertainment and leisure, logistics, telecoms, and utilities rounded out the top 10 industry segments.

"Industries with more frequent interactions with customers have the edge over industries with less customer interactions," Mango said. "This is one reason, together with freshness of tangible products, grocery brands lead the CEE index, with financial services and non-grocery retail to follow. We see telecom and utilities toward the bottom of the list because they are hampered by poor customer service, while they are perceived to prioritize profit over experience."

CRM Covers
for qualified subscribers
Subscribe Now Current Issue Past Issues