This past summer, I participated in my first century cycling ride — 110 miles through Eastern Massachusetts. My goal was simple: to not be the last person across the finish line. I met my goal, almost crawling across the finish line, dragging my bike behind me. As expected, my overall time was high, so I’ve already set my sights on improving my time for next year’s ride. I also want to set a realistic goal. To do that, I’ll need answers to questions such as:

  • What is the average time for riders in my age class?
  • How much do riders like me typically improve year over year?
  • Are there other metrics I can look at to help me predict my chance of improving my time, such as average heart rate or functional threshold power? (I just looked that last metric up!)

Questions To Ask

If you are responsible for setting customer experience (CX) metrics goals, or evaluating goals handed down by your executives, you should ask yourself similar questions related to your company’s CX beacon metric:

  • What is the average score for my industry or competitive set?
  • How much can I realistically expect to improve year over year?
  • What other metrics being captured are related to my beacon metric and can help me predict improvement over the next year?

These questions imply that setting goals for your CX beacon metric is not based on guesswork or hunches. To properly set goals, look at available benchmark information, examine patterns across related metrics, and conduct more sophisticated analyses to improve the accuracy of your predictions. In an upcoming Forrester webinar, Senior Analyst Rich Saunders and I will reveal specific tactics that can help you set realistic goals based on your current level of CX measurement maturity.

The Value Of Benchmarks

As mentioned above, an important component of goal-setting is benchmark data. This information provides a broader context of how CX is changing within your industry and where you stand relative to your key competitors. A recently published analysis of Forrester’s Customer Experience Benchmark Survey, US Consumers, 2022, reveals that CX differentiation has narrowed for many industries. Specifically, it details four patterns of industry movement over the past several years:

  • Convergent. Brands in these industries are becoming less differentiated over time because lower-performing brands are improving while higher-performing brands are declining.
  • Competitive. In these industries, brand differentiation is decreasing because lower-performing brands are improving at a faster rate than higher-performing brands.
  • Consistent. Scores for the industry’s highest- and lowest-ranked brands have remained stable.
  • Contrasted. In these industries, brand differentiation has increased over time.

By understanding these broader trends, CX leaders can better gauge their expected rate of improvement. Consider factors such as the range of scores within their industry, improvements of lower-ranked firms relative to high-ranking firms, and shifts in industry averages.

Next Steps

There are a lot of moving parts. To help you navigate this process, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Attend our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, October 26.
  2. If you are a Forrester client and want to learn more about the study or setting goals, please schedule an inquiry with us!
  3. Explore some of the related links included below.

Blog post:

The US Customer Experience Index, 2022, Showed That Brands Struggled During the Past Year

Forrester reports:

Widespread Drops In US CX Quality Point To Major Failures In Brands’ Customer Focus

The US Customer Experience Index Rankings, 2022

2022 Customer Experience Benchmarks, US