Rick Parrish, VP, Research Director

Show notes:

2022’s Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) results saw the first significant decline in CX quality since 2017. This occurred partly because companies sat on their laurels after big performance gains during the height of the pandemic. But customer expectations are always evolving; sitting still means falling behind.

2023 will be a crucible for CX organizations – some will fade away, while some will forge a brighter future. In this episode of What It Means, VP, Research Director Rick Parrish shares Forrester’s CX predictions for 2023, discussing why CX will face big hurdles and how CX leaders can position themselves to succeed.

CX leaders’ number one job is to prove ROI, says Parrish, as their organizations won’t be able to skate by on faith alone in a softening economy. Forrester data shows that CX leaders aren’t seeing the storm clouds ahead — in August 2022, 82% of CX leaders said they expected their budget to expand in 2023. What’s causing the dissonance? During the last moment of economic pain in early 2020, CX budgets did, in fact, grow as companies looked for new ways to reach customers. But 2023 is a different environment, with a strong focus on cost cutting. Forrester has resources that help CX leaders select projects that will move the financial needle.

Parrish states that once you’ve established ROI, it’ll get easier to address another problem plaguing CX teams: talent. In 2023, four in five CX teams will lack critical design, data, and journey skills. These skills are both scarce and in high demand. If you have the ability to hire designers now, says Parrish, you should do so, as it will get harder with more organizations waking up to the importance of design.

The design talent shortage will cascade into another issue. Later in the episode, the discussion turns to the prediction that CX differentiation will erode in three-fourths of industries in 2023. CX Index results are regressing to the mean, with less difference between the highest and lowest scorers in a category. Brands that are already doing well with differentiation will need to go toward customer obsession, rather than trying to improve CX project by project.

Listen to the full episode to get more of our predictions and guidance for CX leaders in 2023, including a discussion of the CX tech landscape.