Most people and organizations don’t know whether they’re succeeding or failing in their customer experience (CX) program. That’s really scary, given that everyone knows that providing an incredible customer experience often means the difference between whether an organization succeeds or fails.


According to Forrester’s recent “The Path to Customer Experience Maturity” report, customer experience professionals indicated that 57 percent of executives aim to use customer experience as a competitive differentiator in their industry, but only 61 percent consistently measure the quality of customer experience. That means almost half of customer experience professionals actually have no way of knowing what’s actually working and what isn’t.


So how do you know if you’re succeeding or failing? And how do you create successful and sustainable programs that set your organization apart from the competition?


The key is learning to use negative customer experiences as a chance to improve your strategy and learn from your mistakes. Forrester VP Megan Burns and analyst Anjali Lai present four phases that organizations should work through to achieve this kind of customer experience maturity:


Phase 1: Repair

You need to fix bad customer experiences before you can develop an effective and robust CX program. You can’t build a solid CX foundation on negative experiences, so prioritize fixing the issues that cause your customers pain.


Phase 2: Elevate

Integrate CX into your core business processes. Make exceptional customer experience a standard at your company by measuring your customer experience more thoughtfully and consistently—then share that information so your entire organization understands what’s working and what isn’t.


One of the most effective ways to do this is to award customer-centric behavior. The old adage that people do what you inspect, not what you expect remains just as true today as it’s ever been. By awarding and incentivizing customer-centric behavior, you’ll elevate strong CX programs faster and more effectively.


Phase 3: Optimize

Combine customer insights and business analysis to create a “customer experience design” for your employees. Having a clear plan for how to manage CX will propel your organization further down the road to customer experience maturity because your team will be able to visualize outcomes from the very beginning.


Phase 4: Differentiate

The first three steps help you consistently deliver good customer experience, detect when things go wrong and make adjustments that improve CX programs.


At that point, it’s time to think outside the box and dig deep to reveal unmet customer needs. Look for new and creative research techniques to find ways to make your CX strategy better than ever. Once you’ve discovered those needs, reframe and rethink your biggest customer pain points, creating dynamic and new solutions to ever-changing problems. This phase should be constant and cyclical.



Taking your organization through these phases will walk you down the path to customer experience maturity, and drastically improve your CX efforts.


Just remember, walk before you run. Lay out a road map and give your organization time to achieve high-level customer experience maturity.