Around the world, CX quality has largely stalled. Why? Multiple data sources show that customer confidence is up, spending is up, and expectations are rising as consumers interact with brands more than ever before. But the data also shows that trust in companies has dropped precipitously. This crisis of trust is worsened by misleading and false statements from executives and politicians alike, which are amplified by the speed and power of internet platforms to scale the spread of falsehoods.
As companies recognize this crisis of trust, they’ll respond to the sea of changes in four ways. We released our 2018 customer experience predictions and believe that the best companies will address trust head on in 2018. For example:
- Brands that own their values will break away from those that merely borrow them. Brands that deliver CX rooted in values such as Aesop, Muji, and Apple will draw customers while brands that borrow their values and stage their superficial experiences will continue to be called out for all to see across social media.
- Smart companies will deepen customer understanding beyond the low-hanging fruit. CX pros at leading firms will move beyond ad hoc initiatives, probe deeper into root causes, and work to instill the discipline required for outcomes to scale and last.
- B2B firms will move from “just selling” to customer success management (CSM). CSM practitioners earn trust by strengthening CX management maturity practices to ensure that promises made to clients in the pre-sale period don’t fall into a post-sale transition gap. For a growing number of B2B companies, the pathway to growth will come through CSM.
- Brands will increasingly serve distinct communities rather than the mass market. “Jack of all trade” brands slipped across the board in our CX Index this year – an indication that brands struggle more and more to be “everything to everyone” in the Age of the Customer. We see specialty brands continuing to raise the bar as new CX leaders emerge by serving narrower sets of customers more deeply.
Forrester predicts 2018 will be a year of reckoning. Download our 2018 predictions guide to gain new insights and help catalyze action at your organization.
By Ryan Hart, Principal Analyst