With recent drops in global stock markets and all eyes on China’s economy, the timing of the China CX Index report couldn’t be more serendipitous. While customer experience (CX) most likely doesn't have a direct impact on all this sudden share volatility, our research shows that there is a strong correlation between CX and revenue growth.

Forrester’s Business Technographics™ data shows that CX improvement is a growing priority for companies in China: 70% of tech and business decision-makers indicated that improving the experience of their customers was a high or critical priority for 2015 and 2016. However, CX Index scores reveal that these aspirations have yet to manifest themselves in actions and — more importantly — results.

Evolved from the inaugural assessment we completed last year, The China Customer Experience Index, 2015 now includes loyalty elements to the mix to gauge how well brands in China are at delivering quality customer experiences that create and sustain customer loyalty. This year, we examined 60 brands across five industries in China: banking, insurance, retail, eCommerce, and mobile device manufacturing.

At a high level, the results of 9,000 customer surveys in China revealed that:

  • No brands stand out as especially good or bad. The good news: No brands ended up in the very poor category. The bad news: none achieved excellent scores either. The vast majority of brands (80%) rated as just OK; 5% landed in the poor category, and 15% qualified as good.
  • Financial services take the top slots. Tier-2 retail banks led the way on the back of improved channel integration and credit card loyalty programs. Large state-owned enterprises lagged behind the industry average. We saw similar results in the insurance industry.
  • Traditional retail and eCommerce fall to the bottom. Traditional retail and eCommerce brought up the rear of the brand rankings; notably, brands in these two industries struggled in the area of effectiveness, failing to meet customers’ basic needs such as product selection, product availability, and accuracy of specifications.

No doubt China has its hands full with urgent priorities aimed at getting the economy back on track and growing again. But for companies in China looking to develop and grow sustainable businesses, CX improvement offers a clear path to winning customer loyalty and driving long-term revenue gains. Companies that can nail down the basics will be freed up to focus on customer emotion — the proverbial land of opportunity.

For more information on what brands did well and what brands failed and why, take a look at this year’s CX Index report for China.