Last month I contributed to Dane Anderson's excellent report "Asia Pacific Technology Predictions: 2014." As it's the time of year for predictions (and the occasional fireworks display and glass of champagne), I wanted to revisit my thoughts on what will be important in 2014 from a customer experience perspective, in addition to the predictions I made in that report.

We who research customer experience full-time and have been doing it awhile can't help but notice a change in how customer experience is being viewed by firms and organizations. Five years ago when I was last at Forrester, for example, the main thrust of our work was convincing business leaders that CX was something that was essential to invest in. Now our work has changed. It seems that the CX message has been received, and it's less about convincing firms that it's a good idea and more about gauging where companies are with their CX efforts and giving guidance on how they can achieve the goal of truly differentiating their businesses through the quality of the experiences they deliver (consistently and systematically).

So as I listen closely to what customer experience professionals, CIOs, and CMOs are talking about, it's clear to me that we're actually cresting the wave of a trend. Customer experience brings proven benefits, the C-suite gets it and funds it, empowered customers expect it, and companies that ignore this trend are going to be left behind.

2014 is the time to get serious. We talk about the path to customer experience maturity, and my hope for the next year is that firms in Australia, New Zealand, and Asia Pacific start moving the needle, improving from the most immature phases of customer experience programs to those that truly create a differentiated offering and brand.

But the goal in 2014 should not be the lofty goal of differentiation. 2014 should be about getting a grip on stuff that's not working, to stop the avalanche of poor customer experiences that firms already know about. 2014 is the year of the tortoise — slow deliberate and meaningful steps — and not the hare, bursting ahead and falling down before reaching the finishing line.

Happy New Year, and all the best for a successful 2014.