Let’s admit it … it’s been a tough 12 months. Sure, it was nice to start returning to some sense of normalcy (if that’s truly attainable). As consumers, however, we faced constantly shifting health and safety guidelines, new COVID-19 variants, longer wait times for calls into service centers, and longer waits for service at our favorite establishments. We also waited longer for products due to myriad supply chain issues.

At the same time, companies struggled with those same supply challenges, the “great resignation” (and subsequent staffing shortages), and inflation. How well did brands manage the experiences they delivered to customers during this tumultuous time? Results from Forrester’s US Customer Experience (CX Index™), 2022, shed light on the situation. This year, we reveal the scores and rankings for 221 brands across 13 industries.

CX Quality Drops For US Brands

Results show that overall CX quality in the US has fallen back to early-2020 levels, reversing gains made in 2021. Specifically, between 2021 and 2022, the average score dipped from 72.0 to 71.3. More brands had significant score decreases than increases: 40 brands had a significant score decrease compared to 21 brands that had a significant score increase. No brand increased its score by 5 or more points, while six brands decreased their scores by between 5 and 10 points.

Top Brands Continue To Win With Emotion

Top brands generally maintained their CX quality between 2021 and 2022. They did it, in large part, by providing high emotional quality in their experiences. Elite brands — the top 5% of brands in the CX Index — provide, on average, 15 percentage points more emotionally positive experiences compared to the rest of the field (26% versus 11%).

The investment industry was the only industry to improve overall. The industry’s average CX Index score increased from 72.6 to 73.2. Investment firms were buoyed by strong market performance through 2021. It was also the only industry that maintained the emotional quality of interactions. In contrast, industries such as airlines, auto manufacturers, and hotels that were challenged by external factors saw statistically significant decreases in their industry averages.

To see the rankings of all 221 brands in the US CX Index and a much more detailed analysis of the results by industry — including every brand’s score and the emotions that drive loyalty the most — check out our report: The US Customer Experience Index Rankings, 2022.

To dive deeper into the reasons behind these drops, and regain focus for your CX, check out a report I’ve coauthored with VP and Research Director Rick Parrish: Widespread Drops In US CX Quality Point To Major Failures In Brands’ Customer Focus.