Customer Experience – Stop Decorating, Start Renovating

Forrester presented new research yesterday (The US Customer Experience Index, 2018, Rick Parrish) which shows CX quality has languished in the past 12 months, a far cry from businesses saying they’re putting CX first, they’re talking the talk but not walking the walk.

When it comes to Customer Experiences it’s time to Stop Decorating and Start Renovating said Maxie Schmidt, Forrester Analyst, at CXNYC yesterday. Many initiatives have given some result but  but it’s now time to get strategic and structural. Everyone’s talking about being ‘customer first’ however to effect real long-term change the Forrester advise brands to get more strategic in their thinking to drive real business outcomes.

Forrester’s report shows not a single brand has risen to the top and continued to improve, they seem to have only trodden water over the past year. Not a single brand has managed to rise to the top of their rankings and continue to move upward — the mark of a true CX leader, pioneering and setting their own new frontline which they keep pushing forwards.

Forrester measures CX Quality by effectiveness (the experience delivers value to customers), ease (it’s not difficult to get value) and emotion (people feel good about their experience) which all drives loyalty (retention, advocacy and ‘enrichment’ to buy more). They’ve summarised brands have been lock-steppers, laggards, languishers, and lapsers.

Top CX Brands to Watch

It’s not all doom and gloom, the Forrester report gives the top US CX Brands – who rank highest in their industry sectors for CX, and they’re to be applauded:

  • JetBlue Airways
  • USAA
  • Lexus
  • Subaru
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • National Parks Service
  • Kaiser Permanent Health Plan
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton
  • Verizon Fios – 1st and up from 3rd
  • Netflix
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car – up from 2nd
  • Home Shopping Network – up to 1st from 6th (Etsy fell from 1st to 4th)
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Dish Network (up to 1st from 2nd)
  • MetroPCS Communications (up to 1st from 2nd)

However, not a single brand scored ‘excellent’, and none of those that had ranked 1st last year have improved so we can’t call them Heroes – yet. If each of these however was to embrace true customer engagement, that would translate into positive customer emotions and loyalty, and the value would pay dividends to both brand and their customers.

5 Tips to Becoming a CX Leader

  • Stop focusing on micro transactions and renovate the bigger picture – focus on customer engagement, of which CX is a crucial part.
  • Get structural, really make sure your business is organised around the customer, reorganise to move away from Silos. You need disciplined execution across your entire enterprise.
  • Have a genuine focus on connected customer journeys, from understanding the real journeys customers have, where they’re dropping off, where their experience is not meeting their expectation. Focus on understanding customers’ needs and intentions. Then focus on delivering customer journeys that are based on in-the-moment customer intent.
  • Make sure you have the right kind of insights to enable you to act in real-time in such a way that you can turn that into value and positive emotions for your customers, irrespective of what channel they’re in when they come into contact with your brand. And make sure getting those insights (and value) can happen in weeks – not months or even longer.
  • Feelings Count. 6 emotions boost loyalty the most. Contrary to conventional thinking, customer Happiness is not the only one. The other 5 are appreciated, confident, grateful, respected, and valued. 74% if customers will stay with your brand when they have good experiences. Where customers feel annoyed, disappointed or frustrated then those negative emotions will always drive customers away, and sacrifice revenue.

Forrester summarise: “Even a minor improvement to a brand’s customer experience quality can add tens of millions of dollars of revenue by reducing customer churn and increasing share of wallet. What’s more, happier customers are more willing to pay a premium price for the same products and services. When you add in other benefits of superior CX — like reduced service costs and low-cost customer acquisition through word of mouth — the ROI of even small-scale CX transformations can be jaw-dropping. CX pros can earn these benefits for their brands via a disciplined approach to envisioning, designing, and delivering a consistently high-quality experience.” Cheers to that.

Read: How to get started with customer engagement

Link to this blog on Forrester: