Let’s face it: The last few years have been a mixed bag for customer experience (CX) leaders. Consumer ratings of brands hit a high in 2021, only to start sliding down the very next year. CX programs have grown their remit, but their budgets and staffing aren’t growing proportionately to their workload. In 2024, we expect that CX leaders will continue to navigate variable footing, in some cases finding themselves caught in the crossfire between new tech and old policies. Prepare yourself for the new year with a preview of our 2024 predictions:
- The global average customer experience will improve for the first time in three years. CX ratings have been dancing for years – taking a few steps forward and then a few steps back, and signs point towards a return to forward progress in 2024. That said, most brands will see their CX ratings stay relatively flat year-over-year, and the upward increase will be driven by the small percentage of brands that have continued to get better over the years. We expect these improvements to be most pronounced in Europe and APAC, with the US faring better than Canada in North America. Improved customer service will help drive higher overall ratings, as firms leverage technology – such as behind-the-scenes generative AI (genAI) in the contact center – to close employee experience (EX) gaps that lead to CX shortfalls.
- Half of large global firms will experiment with customer-facing genAI. Executive enthusiasm for genAI will push many firms to test the tech for customer-facing applications regardless of whether their organizations are ready. Companies that will do the best at this will build skills and expertise with internal use cases first. Firms like Walmart and Morgan Stanley are exemplars of piloting internal applications before deploying external ones, and we expect more to follow – as 42% of AI decision-makers identified improving or personalizing CX as a top use case for the technology. Building expertise in a lower-risk environment is a best practice, as it helps firms learn how to manage and mitigate hallucination and bias.
- One-third of all brands will launch experiences that are biased, inaccessible, or harmful. The growing number of return to office (RTO) mandates will wreak havoc on firms’ attempts to incorporate marginalized people’s vital perspectives in the design process. As a result, companies will release products and services that fail key inclusive design standards, hurting their revenue, profit, resilience, and trust. Amazon and Meta, both tech giants with strict RTO policies, are examples of firms that face higher risk due to their large customer bases. Companies insistent on enforcing RTO rules must intentionally design their employee experience to manage accommodations requests, create inclusive ways of working, reserve in-office time for punctuated moments, and maintain diversity-focused recruitment.
I often describe CX as a game of inches rather than yards, and 2024 will be no different. Firms that invest in targeted CX improvements – and that never lose sight of every customer, associate, and partner being a human being – will come out on top in the new year.
Read our full Predictions 2024: Customer Experience report to get details on all of these predictions, plus two more bonus predictions! Forrester clients can also set up a guidance session to discuss the prediction(s) of their choice and plan for how to navigate 2024’s turbulence. If you aren’t yet a client, you can download our complimentary predictions guide, which covers our top predictions for 2024. Get additional complimentary resources, including webinars, on the Predictions 2024 hub.