The Grand Illusion: Brands Think They're Doing Well On CX, Consumers Disagree

Brands are deluding themselves if they think consumers love them. The truth is that there is a large CX trust gap between brands and their customers in the U.S. and UK, according to the  2022 CX IQ Index from consumer data platform ActionIQ.

In general, 61% of businesses think their customers are very happy with them. But only 23% of shoppers were satisfied with brand interactions over the past three months -- which could hamper email marketing teams.   

Case in point: 62% of businesses think they are doing well when it comes to respecting consumer privacy. But only 45% of consumers agree. 

In addition, 54% of brands say they are available when consumers need them, while 38% of consumers concur. 

And 54% of companies think they understand customer needs. But a mere 34% of customers say they are right.  

Worse, 51% of brands claim they recommend products/services that are relevant to the consumer. But only 29% of consumers go along with that. And while 56% of brands think they are sending personalized communications, 33% of customers give them credit for it.



From the industry perspective, these segments are likely to say their customers are very satisfied with their interactions:

  • Media/publishing — 69%
  • B2B Technology — 69%
  • Financial services — 67%
  • Retail — 50%

Consumer input suggests otherwise. Take the media/publishing field.  

While 49% of firms in this area believe they protect peoples’ data, a paltry 22% of consumers feel they do. And even fewer — 18% — believe media firms respect their privacy, while 51% say they do. 

How about being knowledgable about products and services? The score is 60% versus 26%, with brands having the higher number. And whereas 49% of publishers boast of fast resolution of problems, only 18% of consumers support them on that.  

Financial services firms do slightly better, although not that well. The gap in respecting privacy is 62% versus 45%, and for being available when they are needed, 54% versus 38%.  

The score is the same for “understanding my needs.” And there is a yawning 51% versus 29% chasm when it comes to recommending relevant products/services, and a 56% versus 33% gap for sending personalized communications.  

Retailers seem to be slightly more realistic about themselves. Only 38% feel they are effective in protecting consumers’ data, while 26% of consumers agree.

And there are divides in these areas: 

  • Understands my needs — 48% versus 25%
  • Knows who I am — 39% versus 20% 

More remarkably, consumers give higher marks to brands than the brands do themselves in these areas: 

  • Is simple and easy to use/access — 46% versus 35%
  • Has fast resolution of problems — 33% versus 32%
  • Offers loyalty programs that reward me — 39% versus 29% 
  • Ratings and reviews are available — 41% versus 32% 

Consumers expect personalization and demanding a consistent experience across all interactions (both offline and online), as well as a brand that “understands my needs” with “communications are personalized to me.” 

“While surface-level forms of personalization — such as emails using a customer’s name or product spotlights based on past purchases — are appealing, consumers don’t value businesses knowing who they are as much as having their needs met whenever, wherever and however they interact with a brand,” the study notes.  

ActionIQ surveyed more than 400 consumers and 350 businesses, respectively, across the United States and the United Kingdom.


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