It’s with great pleasure that I announce the agenda for Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals in Anaheim, CA, on November 6 & 7. We’re mixing things up this year — new formats for speakers, new hands-on, activity-based workshops in addition to track sessions, and a stellar gallery of guest speakers. And we’ve wrapped all of this up with an overarching theme: “Why Good Is Not Good Enough.”

We picked this theme because our Customer Experience Index (CXi) told us to. Seriously. Check this out: According to the latest CXi, the number of brands scoring in the “very poor” category is down to one out of 175. What’s more, only a handful of brands — 10% — are in the “poor” category. Together, these findings show that as customer experience improvement efforts gained momentum over the past year or so, the number of truly awful experiences declined, dramatically. That’s reassuring. Kudos to all the businesses out there that screw up less!

Now for the sobering news: Only 11% of brands in the CXi made it into the “excellent” category.

What that means of course is that most brands are clustering in the middle of the curve — they’re not awful in the eyes of their customers, but they’re not remarkable either. Translation: A merely good customer experience is no longer good enough if you want to deliver a differentiated experience and reap incremental sales, positive word of mouth, and better customer retention. You’re gonna have to raise your game.

Building on this analysis, CX West focuses on delivering insights that lead to a competitive edge. From innovative start-ups pioneering entirely new approaches to experience design to established companies that have learned how to crack internal and industry barriers to excellence, we’ll be focusing on breakthroughs that lead to differentiation.

Forrester’s Megan Burns will kick off the first day of the event with a speech about “The Making Of A Great Customer Experience.” Her talk will explore the drivers of customer experience quality — the things that truly matter to you customers and the things you can safely ignore. Senior analyst Rick Parrish will share his latest findings on how companies can redefine and radically improve the way they do business: “The Customer Experience Ecosystem, Redefined.”  

Then, principal analyst Allegra Burnette, former creative director at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), will use examples gleaned from her award-winning work at MoMa to guide us through the lessons she’s learned: “Elevating Digital and Physical Experiences.” And on the second day, Forrester’s VP of Digital Experience, Joan DiMicco, will host a panel featuring practitioners from the Mayo Clinic, the US federal government, and Boston’s MBTA to explore “Overcoming Bureaucracy to Drive Innovation.”

Throughout the event, attendees will have access to analyst-led track sessions focused on core CX topics — customer understanding, strategy, and technology. In addition, this year we’ve added workshops led by Forrester analysts and consultants; sessions cover journey mapping, CX maturity assessment, and CX measurement. These workshops have limited capacity, so register early!

I’ll write more about our industry speakers as we get closer to the event. For now, I’m excited just to share the lineup:

Siqi Chen, co-founder and CEO, Heyday

Jeff Donaldson, senior vice president, Gamestop Technology Group

Ryan Green, managing director, customer strategy and development, Southwest Airlines

Adam Pisoni, yammer co-founder and CVP of engineering, Microsoft Office Division

Rodney Prezeau, senior vice president, affluent client experience, Charles Schwab

A broad range of perspective on stage here — and a broad range of insights to learn from.

I hope to see many of you in Anaheim. Be sure to say hi. I’m easy to find: Just look for the handsome, well-shod guy on the main stage having the time of his life.

P.S. Shameless promotion! You can save $200 off the event price if you buy a ticket before September 27, 2014!