Research Reveals Customer Experience Stagnation in the United States


In June of this year, Forrester unveiled the results of its 2018 Customer Experience Index (CX Index).

The CX Index studied more than 110,000 online adult consumers and 287 brands across 19 industries in the United States.

The study is used to identify the impact of a brand’s customer experience in nurturing customer loyalty.

Of the 287 brands studied this year, none made it to highest category defined by Forrester: that of excellence.

Furthermore, brands achieving ‘Good’ status showed decline across all 19 sectors, while there was an increase in the number of brands scoring ‘OK’.

The slow progress in CX improvement was also true in the 2017 index and has become a common theme over the last three years.

Is It a Very Serious Problem?

Not really. While the results show a worrying trend where no clear CX leaders can be identified, and more rankings have decreased than increased, there is no evidence of a sharp decline in CX overall.

As with any statistical research, there is room for interpretation. The Forrester approach is to compile results from a diverse range of 19 sectors including retail, insurance, finance and even federal agencies and public sector organisations.

When utilising a service of the federal administration, there is often no option for the consumer to choose a competitor, making it difficult to measure against private sector brands.

To include such a broad range of organisations and services surely affects the results, particularly where there is no possibility for competitive edge.

With no access to competition, does it make sense to include public administrations in charge of education, health, employment, immigration, etc. in the study?

In Europe, this would seem like an unusual comparison, but perhaps this works better for the US market.

The Forrester figures clearly illustrate the private sector dramatically outweighs the public sector in terms of CX, with 27% of consumers scoring the Federal Government ‘very poor’ compared to just 1% in the private sector.

Is the Comparison Between Public and Private a Fair Fight?

The White House itself promotes customer experience and citizen experience and aims to align itself with the leaders in the private sector. This provides an explanation for why the comparison has been made.

Without wishing to defend the federal agencies, the comparison appears to be designed to stigmatise the US public sector and those who work there.

It would seem the inclusion of these agencies is an attempt by Forrester to place more focus on CX within the federal agencies and force them to work harder to improve this.

Like the public sector in many other countries, the federal agencies are expected to deliver on factors important to US citizens including:

  • Simplicity of the process to assert rights or to obtain service or information
  • Ease of access to a competent contact person at the right time
  • The respect of the people

This is a fair expectation; however, we can’t help thinking that the purpose of opening such a discussion surrounding customer experience has little to do with the real issues within the federal agencies. Arguably, it is motivated by the desire to drive up CX in the sector by Forrester.

The Three E’s of Customer Experience

Forrester further encourages brands who want to improve their CX score to focus on the three E’s that make the difference for the customer, namely Effectiveness, Ease and Emotion.

The results of this year’s index showed without doubt that the key to CX differentiation is emotion. This is a concept that companies like Diabolocom can really get on board with!

In fact, Diabolocom has even issued an eBook on this subject: Customer relations: And all its emotion

Author: Robyn Coppell

Published On: 27th Jul 2018 - Last modified: 31st Jul 2018
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