It was a tough year for Canadian brands. The Canada Customer Experience Index Rankings, 2023 show brands falling short and backsliding on performance. Getting underneath the hood, we see brands facing diverging fates. Fewer brands incurred significant drops in customer experience (CX) quality in 2023 compared to 2022. But when there were drops, they were more severe on average than last year. The overall outcome is the lowest level of CX quality for Canadian brands since Forrester started tracking it in 2016.

The Top-Performing Brands

Two brands were able to move their Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) scores up this year: PetSmart and Tangerine Investment Funds. PetSmart was able to climb into the “elite” brand category, which contains the top 5% of brands. This year’s elite brands delivered, on average, 17 positive emotions for each negative emotion. Among 2022’s elite brands, four of the five returned to the list. CAA Insurance, Etsy, IG Wealth Management, and maintained their elite position, while RBC Dominion Securities lost its spot.

The Challenge Ahead

There are three dimensions to a high-quality customer experience: effectiveness, ease, and emotion. Emotion has always been the trickiest dimension for brands, but it’s also the most important and the most likely to drive loyalty. Loyalty grows more critical in a tough economic environment, where consumers typically look to cut spending with brands that they lack an affinity for.

Unfortunately, Canadian brands struggled with all three components of great CX. This indicates that brands aren’t hitting the mark with their customers. The reasons why will vary brand to brand, but in our work, we’ve pinpointed some common issues:

  • Misalignment. Great CX requires departments across the enterprise to march toward a common goal. Too often, these departments have competing visions of how to serve the customer, leading to muddled or even contradictory experiences.
  • Outside-in thinking. CX decisions are made based on leaders’ “gut instinct” about what customers want, rather than actual user research and customer feedback.
  • Lack of investment. Even modest improvements in CX can drive millions of dollars in additional revenue, but many companies still look at CX as a “nice to have” that isn’t worth investment dollars during tough economic times. This is a huge financial miss.

You can read the full report, The Canada Customer Experience Index Rankings, 2023, if you’re a client. You can also read our summary of the US Customer Experience Index rankings for this year, or learn more about the CX Index itself here.