Many companies are doing a pretty poor job when it comes to customer experience, and even the few who are doing well aren’t particularly excelling.
According to Forrester’s recent “Global Customer Experience” Trends report, only 18% of U.S. brands were ranked "good" or "excellent" (with only one earning an excellent rating). The majority of brands (nearly 60%) were rated as just “OK.”
“Overwhelmingly, customer experience comes in at ‘OK,’ which I would rate as [lacking],” Rick Parrish, Forrester analyst and the report’s author, tells Marketing Daily. “We also found the companies with the best customer experience are stagnating. They’ve got good [marks] but they’re just sitting there. They’re not getting better.”
Much of the issue, Parrish says, is that many companies are working on their customer experience programs, without having any idea what purpose they serve. Therefore, they have no real follow through in creating and improving the experience.
“What many companies do is they mistake action for progress,” he says. “They’re not focusing on the key activities necessary for customer experience management.”
Yet research highlights the importance of customer experience, which breeds long-term loyalty and an edge over the competition, Parrish says. “A good customer experience drives loyalty for companies that also perform better,” he says. “There are measurable revenue benefits.”
Where marketers are often falling short, Parrish says, is in tying the customer experience to their bottom lines. When executives don’t know what to look for or test against, they have no idea whether their programs are good or fair, or improving or stagnating. “When you measure things wrong, you get wrong results,” he says. “If all you’re measuring is ‘satisfaction,’ you have no idea if that satisfaction is driving loyalty, which generates results.”
Additionally, a commitment to improving customer experience needs to permeate through an entire organization, from the top down, Parrish says. “It takes a full effort, researching customers, deciding which areas to improve, etc,” he says. “Everybody has to play a role.”
And, it has to be never-ending. There’s no such thing as a point where customer experience is considered “done,” Parrish says. Even the companies that have strong customer experience marks need to be looking over their shoulder at those who might be improving, he says. “Improving your customer experience isn’t something that’s ever finished,” Parrish says. “It has to be the way your business runs.”