It’s January again, which means it’s time to reveal the results of our seventh annual Forrester Customer Experience Index (CXi). This year’s report benchmarks the quality of the customer experience (CX) at 175 US firms in 14 industries as rated by the only people whose opinion really matters — their customers.

The top spot this year went to, but not for its score in the retail category. Amazon earned an Index-leading score of 91 for its debut in the consumer electronics manufacturer category (for the Kindle). I guess that’s what happens when one of your company’s core principles is to obsess about customers. (It’s also worth noting that our study happened to coincide with the launch of the Kindle’s innovative Mayday feature and corresponding ad campaign.)

Among firms making a repeat appearance in CXi 2014, we saw big improvement where customers said they wanted it most. The industry-average CXi scores for the four industries that have historically scored lowest — health insurance, ISPs, TV service providers, and wireless carriers — shot up from 2013 levels. Why? A big part of it is the slow but steady efforts of individual brands in these industries to find and fix bad customer experiences. In fact, many of the brands with double-digit increases like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (up 22 points, the biggest gain of 2014), Charter Communications (up by double digits in both the ISP and TV service provider categories), and United Healthcare (up 10 points) have had CX programs in place for more than three years.

The race for CX supremacy got interesting in a few industries, too, most notably airlines. With a score of 79 (up 13 points from 2013), Delta Air Lines wedged its way in between perennial CX leaders Southwest Airlines (81) and JetBlue (77). We share some of what we found out about Delta’s efforts in the report and hope to learn more in the research for our next report “How Companies Improved Their CXi Scores, 2014.” We expect to publish that one in late March, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the CXi, please join me on February 4th at 2:00 p.m. ET for a 1-hour webinar. I’ll share more of our analysis at that time and take questions from the audience. Hope to see you there!


P.S. For repeat readers of the CXi, you’ll notice that we’ve updated the graphics in this year’s report. Our goal was to make it easier for you to visualize the data and to present it in the way you’ve told us you want to see it. So far the response has been very positive, but we want to hear from you, too. Please let us know what you think. Suggestions for further improvements are welcome!