The Australia Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) data for 2017 is in, and there’s bad news: CX quality in Australia has worsened and there are no true leaders. This isn’t Forrester’s opinion — it’s how 9,000 Australian customers graded their recent interactions with 36 brands across the measures of CX quality that lead to revenue. The CX Index score measures brands across three key areas: effectiveness, ease, and emotion. Forrester clients can access the full report, including rankings and movements of the 36 brands, here.

Our analysis of the data turned up no real leaders. Despite the likes of RACQ, Bendigo Bank and ING Direct achieving some some nation-leading scores, all the brands we examined fell into four other categories:

  • Languishers: brands that rose high and then stalled. These relatively high-scoring brands have remained stuck, without a statistically significant score change, for at least two years. Overall, 11% of brands in the Australia CX Index are languishers — including those occupying the top two places.
  • Lapsers: brands that rose and then fell back. Lapsers’ CX Index performance has declined for one or two years. Overall, 19% of brands in the Australia CX Index are lapsers. A full 60% of credit card providers are lapsers, giving that industry the highest percentage of brands in this category.
  • Locksteppers: brands that move up and down with the pack. Even when these brands improve, they fail to differentiate themselves because the quality of their CX remains roughly on par with that of their competitors. A full 61% of CX Index brands in Australia are locksteppers — a much higher percentage than in the US — and Australian locksteppers include two industry frontrunners.
  • Laggards: brands that have stayed at or near the bottom. Although some laggards have improved the quality of their CX, their scores remain consistently at the low end of the rankings. Overall, 8% of CX Index brands in Australia are laggards, all of them in the retail sector.

Overall brands we evaluated did not perform as well as last year in providing quality customer experiences. This does not mean that CX has necessarily regressed, but rather that customer expectations are outpacing brands’ ability to adapt. But in the end this doesn’t really matter: Brand success depends on staying ahead of customer expectations, so any brand that finds itself slipping behind needs to accelerate or reset its CX initiatives, or risk a competitor doing so first.