This year’s Customer Experience Index report for US brands revealed a CX leadership gap — not a single brand has risen to the top of our rankings and continued to move upward. The report is based on Forrester’s CX Index™ methodology, which measures how well a brand’s CX strengthens the loyalty of its customers. We revealed the complete rankings of all 314 brands across 21 industries, based on a survey of 118,992 US adult customers. Below are more findings:

The quality of CX in the US dipped.

In brief, we found that between 2016 and 2017, CX quality worsened across the board:

  • Losses were broader and deeper than gains. Twice as many brands sank as rose: Of 314 brands in the CX Index, 49 lost points and only 24 gained points. Overall, brands that worsened lost an average of five points.
  • Excellent scores died off, while the number of poor scores increased. The number of brands in the excellent category fell to zero, and the percentage of brands with poor scores rose from 20% to 23%.

US CX Index Scores

There are no real CX leaders.

  • Elite brands’ scores stayed flat — again.We refer to the top 5% of brands across all industries in the CX Index as the “elite brands.” Of these 18 elite brands, 16 showed no statistically significant score change.
  • Nearly all industry frontrunners had point drops and stagnation to thank.Seven of 21 industries had new top brands this year. None of these changes resulted from a major improvement by the new frontrunner. In fact, in four industries, the previous highest-scoring brand sank, while the new frontrunner remained flat.

Without real leaders, only four types of brands remain.

In the absence of real leaders that rise to the top of the pack and continue to improve, there are only four types of brands:

  • 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, 13% of brands in the entire US CX Index are languishers.
  • Lapsers: brands that rose and then fell. Lapsers’ CX Index performance has declined for one or two years. Across the entire US CX Index, 17% of brands are lapsers.
  • 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 43% of US CX Index brands are locksteppers.
  • 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, 27% of US CX Index brands are laggards.

US CX Index 4Ls

In our recent webinar, my colleague Roxie Strohmenger and I discussed the CX Index results and the role that emotion plays in driving CX-fueled customer loyalty. Watch the full replay here.

To see the rankings of all 314 brands in the US CX Index and a much more detailed analysis of the results, check out The US Customer Experience Index, 2017.