“Though brands are catching on to the fact that high-quality customer experience correlates with business growth, it’s alarming that progress on improving CX has stalled for the third year in a row” Forrester Chief Research and Product Officer Cliff Clondon said about the progress of CX today.

Forrester CXNYC was held in New York last week with more than 1000+ customer experience professionals. The Qualtrics team attended both to learn, and to experiment with adding an element of service to the event (more on that in a future post). Personally, the immersive learning experience that was provided by the entire Forrester staff helped me become a better customer experience professional.

What we learned is we all have a long way to go in order to provide and predict the customer experiences that our people crave.

Three crucial takeaways from Forrester CXNYC:

1. You might be surprised about what your customers value most

You are not your buyer, so go find out what really matters to him. Ask about his experience and his pain points are. You may be surprised. The difference between a good experience and a great experience is huge for the bottom line, but you may only need to make small changes to close the gap.

According to the Forrester Analytics Experience Index for US consumers 86% of customers will stay if they have a good experience. 96% will stay if they have an excellent experience. While 81% will spend more with a good experience and 92% will spend more with an excellent experience.

Getting from good to great requires that you ask.

JetBlue, a leader in customer experience with 12 JD Power Awards, was surprised to find what mattered most to their customers. By taking a deep dive into passengers’ feedback in Philadelphia, JetBlue traced dissatisfaction with their brand to the lack of airport shops and amenities open early in the morning. JetBlue responded quickly by simply passing out water, juice, and coffee at the gate to boost customer morale and create a better in-flight experience. They couldn’t control shop hours, but customer’s pre-flight experience was impacting their satisfaction. They were surprised, but then they closed that gap.

2. Excellent CX requires optimizing for the customer journey

While creating consistent experiences may provide a challenge to many CX professionals, it’s a non-negotiable among top experience brands. Many companies are not doing it, or at least not doing it well.

Online furniture retailer Wayfair has taken some big steps toward removing friction in the customer experience. One they did this was that they proactively let shoppers know where they are and where they are going. To do this, Wayfair uses predictive text for product search to combine this experience with their billing page provides clear options for conversion. This example was used in the Deep Dive session on retail presented by Anne Bridges, Bloomingdales and Fiona Swerdlow, Jennifer Wise and Michelle Yaiser from Forrester. QVC helped customers explore product offerings with specific content related to the fit, color, sizing and informational videos.

Some common misses for companies with site experience include when sites are hard to navigate, supporting content is low quality or missing and lengthy unnecessary checkout experiences are burdensome.

3. Current customers are more empowered than ever before

What does this mean? Customers are willing to experiment with technology; they are self-efficient and savvy in their device usage. They know how and when to access information and expect all of these things to be available in both physical and digital experiences. Technology must empower your customers. Everyone has access to it but how are you applying it. Technology doesn’t matter, it’s what we do with the technology that is important.

Consider the adoption of tablets vs. mp3 players also in the retail session. Tablets are being adopted with increasing speed compared to their predecessors the mp3, based purely upon when these technologies were implemented in the market.

Thank you to the entire Forrester event crew, analysts, employees and Hilton staff employees for creating a fantastic event. We will see you next at the Forrester CXSF event in October.

About Forrester’s CX Index.
Forrester’s CX Index is the most complete and powerful CX tool in the market today. The CX Index gives businesses a deep and actionable understanding of the quality of their customers’ experiences, competitive benchmark data so that business and technology leaders know how they stack up against their peers, and the ability to model the improvements that will have the biggest impact on revenue.