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Customer experience collapse: New research finds brands’ CX quality at an all-time low—a scant few put their customers’ needs front and center

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

The customer experience has grown from a post-purchase service challenge into a multifaceted obstacle course for brands—and nearly every one is failing miserably, according to new research from Forrester. CX quality among brands in the US sits at an all-time low after declining for an unprecedented third year in a row. Several factors—including brands’ inability to provide seamless customer and employee experiences, underwhelming digital experiences using chatbots, and consumers’ concerns about their personal financial situations, society, and the economy at large—have contributed to the decline.

The firm’s latest US Customer Experience Index rankings reveals that in addition to 39 percent of brands and 10 industry averages declining in CX quality over the past year, CX performance dropped across all three dimensions of CX quality—effectiveness, ease, and emotion. The bleak findings show that only 3 percent of companies are currently categorized as customer-obsessed, defined as putting customers’ needs, desires, and satisfaction at the forefront of all business decisions and actions. Customer-obsessed organizations reported 41 percent faster revenue growth, 49 percent faster profit growth, and 51 percent better customer retention than those at non-customer-obsessed organizations.

customer experience

In 2024, only the airline industry saw improvement in its overall CX quality

Additionally, the 2024 “elite” brands, the top 5 percent of brands in the entire CX Index—Chewy.com, Edward Jones, Etsy, H-E-B, Lincoln, Navy Federal Credit Union (for both multichannel banks and credit card issuers), Subaru, Tesla, USAA, and Zappos.com—struggled to maintain their status. Tesla’s ability to quickly resolve issues helped shift the automaker into the elite category.

While emotion remains the key factor for delivering high levels of CX performance, US brands are struggling to connect emotionally with customers

In 2024, elite brands evoke, on average, 25 positive emotions for each negative emotion, down from 29 the previous year. This year, the average effectiveness of experiences fell to 64 percent, while the average ease of experiences fell to 66 percent.

“US consumers are having, on average, the worst experiences in a decade,” said Rick Parrish, VP and research director at Forrester, in a news release. “Brands want to create better experiences, and they realize that putting the customer at the center of their business is the way to do it. However, organizations struggle with the scale of change that this requires. It’s worth it, though, as our research finds that firms that are customer-obsessed grow revenue, profit, and customer loyalty faster than their competitors.”

The report is available for purchase here.

Conducted for the ninth year in a row, Forrester’s Customer Experience Benchmark Survey, which collects data to calculate Forrester CX Index scores, is based on more than 98,000 US customers across 223 brands and 13 industries.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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