So I visit this coffee shop close to office pretty often. The other day I was waiting in line and I paused to ask myself – why do I keep coming here? I mean, everything about the exercise including the taste is pretty unremarkable. I order, I’m served, I leave. So then why do I repeatedly give them my business?

You guessed it. I go there day after day, month after month because it is – wait for it… convenient. And predictable. Certainly not because it’s “awesome”. I’m not looking for a fake smile or a scripted line. It’s a really tiny part of my day. My expectations are minimal, they are met, and I’m satisfied. That’s it.

Globally, companies swoon over the superior experience delivered by the likes of Amazon and Apple; paeans have been written about Zappos’ legendary customer service. Last time I looked, a Zappos service associate apparently spent over 10 hours on a service call! Good for them!

Should you follow suit? May be not.

Of course CX is critical. In fact, in the Age of the Customer, we propose it’s the only way forward.

However, people don’t need “awesome” all the time. In my recently published Forrester report Should All Customer Experiences Be Awesome? I dissect this very issue.

At Forrester, we talk to many companies as well as customers the world over. In our experience we observe two things:

  • Customers and companies compare experiences across industries.  And, as a result,
  • CX laggards often want to emulate leaders. For instance, Citi, acting on Apple-fever went ahead and built an Apple Store-inspired “bank of the future” using the same architects.

This is reflected in companies’ sky-high CX ambitions. In a 2014 Forrester survey of CX professionals, 57% said that they wanted their companies to be CX leaders in their own industry, and 16% wanted to be CX leaders across all industries!

Ambition in itself is not a bad thing. But instead of going for max, or after the really cool experiences that CX leaders provide, you’re better off looking within. Here’s why. You’re a different company. Your strategy, your customers, your brand – are all different from the Amazons of the world. So the CX you aim to dish out to your customers must be appropriate to *your* context. At the same it must differentiate you from competition.

How do you do this?

To know that, check out my report on