“Innovation” has become a buzzword in the customer experience field, and many firms are banking on it as a tool for market differentiation. A recent Forrester survey of 100 Customer Experience Professionals shows that nearly half of respondents say their executive team strategy for customer experience is market differentiation, and an ambitious 13% will settle for nothing less than having the best customer experience across every industry. What’s more, a whopping 73% of interviewees plan to launch “innovative” customer experiences in the coming year, and two-thirds claim to have already delivered such experiences in the past year.

These firms are right to rally around the experiences they deliver, with increasingly demanding customer expectations and growing competition in every business category, writes Forrester Principal Analyst Kerry Bodine in a new report unveiled today at Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum East. But despite their ambition, most firms that believe they’re innovating are actually thwarting differentiation and wasting massive amounts of time and money in the process. A startling 58% of respondents say their firm drives customer experience innovations by watching what direct competitors are doing, and another 62% report that technology advancements drive their firms’ innovation activities. So let’s face it: The market is confused on what it actually means to innovate. In her research, Bodine outlines the three steps CX pros must take to put their innovation efforts on the right track: 1) reframe innovation opportunities; 2) ground innovation in the ecosystem; and 3) infuse innovations with the brand. She explores brands that are on the road to competitive advantage, such as Ikea, Holiday Inn, and 3M, as well as those that haven’t yet mastered what it means to innovate around the customer experience.

Three additional Forrester reports launched today at The Customer Experience Forum:

The Path To Customer Experience Maturity
Companies have lofty goals for customer experience, but unfortunately most aren’t doing even a fraction of the things required to achieve those goals. However, companies that have tried to adopt customer experience discipline over time and actually succeeded at this goal follow the same four-phase path: They learned to find and fix bad customer experiences, adopted practices that made good CX behavior the norm, created a more sophisticated CX toolkit, and adopted practices that helped define an experience that was truly unique.

Meet The Changing Needs Of Connected Customers
Today’s customers are more connected, more empowered, and more distracted than ever. To compete in this volatile world, companies need a new approach to deliver customer experience. This research details the nature of this changing customer and the new customer journey that firms must mirror in order to best deliver value along the way.

Seven Steps To Successful Customer Experience Measurement Programs
Customer experience measurement is essential: Without a disciplined customer experience measurement program, companies will struggle to understand what’s working and what’s broken. To design a successful measurement program, CX pros need to follow seven steps that guide them through making a range of decisions, from choosing which customer segments and experiences to measure, to identifying and acting on CX issues.

To learn more about Forrester’s customer experience research, visit www.forrester.com/customer-experience.