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Forrester's grim forecast for customer experience management in 2023


Research house Forrester makes bleak 2023 customer experience predictions, with an estimated 20% of CX programmes set to disappear, and many more in peril unless they are able to show proof of ROI.

3rd Nov 2022
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2023 looks to be a year of reckoning for CX programmes, with established and below-average brands alike set to encounter struggles as they contend with a turbulent economy and a less tolerant customer base.

In their 2023 Report, Forrester predicts that a staggering one in five CX programmes will be scrapped.

The customer research giant also estimates that 80% of companies who do not currently have CX built in as part of their brand identity will need to show proof that spending on CX improvement is necessary, or they could soon see their programmes dissolved.

This is particularly worrying given the findings of another Forrester study which revealed that 54% of CX pros are unable to prove the ROI of their projects.

The other major concern revealed in the report is the forecasted erosion in CX differentiation. It is predicted that the range between the best and worst customer experiences being provided will narrow, with 25% of below-average brands set to improve and 50% of above-average brands likely to decline or stagnate.

Why is differentiation narrowing?

In layman’s terms, traditionally lower-performing brands are solving basic CX problems more efficiently, whereas top brands are struggling to embrace the transformative CX improvements needed to enhance their current offerings.

To stand out from this tightening pack, Forrester argues that companies must embrace customer obsession and pursue CX innovations that differentiate their brand, rather than relying on CX strategies that consumers perceive as similar.

The slimmest of silver linings

Whilst the predictions revealed in the report strongly indicate that 2023 will be another extremely difficult year for the customer experience sector, there are enough crumbs of comfort to suggest that companies with robust CX programmes who invest smartly could get through unscathed, and possibly even flourish.

In contrast to the 80% of companies who are not CX-centric, according to the report the 20% that embrace great customer experience as part of their brand identity will reward CX teams that can show positive ROI.

The leaders of these teams will join the 25% of their CX leader peers who already sit in the c-suite. They will also gain direct control of teams to which they previously had only dotted-line connections – such as customer success or the contact centre – thus enabling them to earn larger budgets for personnel, technology, and project work.

82% of CX leaders believe that their budgets will rise in the next 12 months. 

Another reason to be optimistic is the rise in resources and funds that CX leaders are predicting for 2023, with 82% believing that their CX budgets will rise in the next 12 months.

Whilst Forrester believes this prediction to be overly optimistic, there is clearly a feeling within the industry that companies have reached a turning point. and are learning lessons from Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

During financial difficulties and downturns, CX and customer service are usually one of the first areas to get scaled back – a point accentuated by covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

However, as these examples have shown, cutting resources during difficult times may provide some short-term relief but will almost certainly lead to more long-term damage.

From record levels of service complaints, to customer loyalty plummeting, the proof is in the eton mess of a pudding.

Future-proofing CX

Despite the dreary tone of the predictions, they do also provide important lessons for companies moving forward. In order to survive the next crisis, it is essential that brands do not repeat the same mistakes again.

If CX teams are able to use any budget increase to elevate the importance of CX within the company, they will distance themselves from their competitors and be far better placed to take advantage of any future opportunities to advance their programmes.


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