Retailers, Hotels Top Forrester's Customer Experience Rankings

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by: Marketing Charts

Only 11% of companies garnered a rating of “excellent” in this year’s Customer Experience Index of large US firms, released by Forrester Research, Inc., and 38% of firms were rated as “poor” or “very poor,” writes Retailer Daily.

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Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) and USAA topped Forrester’s ranking, while Charter Communications and Medicaid received the lowest score.

At an industry level, retailers and hotels ended in the top spots of this year’s Customer Experience Index for all categories, while medical insurers and TV service providers ended up at the bottom.

Among the top 10, retailers took seven spots, compared with nine last year, Forrester said. The three nonretailers in the top 10 this year are USAA, Hampton Inn, and credit unions.

Compared with last year, banks made the largest improvements, led by US Bancorp (NYSE:UBS), SunTrust (NYSE:STI), and Citibank (NYSE:C). Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable (TWC), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), and Blue Shield of California had the largest decline.

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“Executives regularly tell us that customer experience is critical to their competitiveness, but this year’s Customer Experience Index demonstrates that there’s room for improvement across all industries,” said Bruce D. Temkin, vice-president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

“While many firms are dealing with rough economic times, they can’t let customer experience fall to the back burner. If firms let their customer experience deteriorate, then they’ll lose customers and amplify the negative impact of the downturn.”

To maintain customer experience momentum during a downturn, Forrester offered several recommendations for companies, including the following:

  • Prioritizing the moments of truth that occur during customer interactions because they have the biggest impact on overall satisfaction, likelihood to repurchase, and likelihood to recommend.
  • Seeking usability improvements to key customer touch points like Web sites, service emails, and interactive voice response (NYSE:IVR) systems.
  • Increasing communication with employees to keep them apprised of any shifts in priorities and engaged with overall customer experience efforts.

About the findings: Forrester asked more than 4,500 consumers about their interactions with 114 companies across 12 different industries and developed its Customer Experience Index based on the usefulness, ease of use, and enjoyability of those experiences.