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Survey: Retailers struggle to provide high quality customer experiences

BY Antoinette Alexander

Brands must focus on providing high quality customer experience to gain loyalty, but retailers are missing the mark. That’s according to Forrester’s U.S. 2018 Customer Experience Index.

The CX Index found that multichannel retailers’ customer experience quality remained flat, and 36 percent of digital retailers’ scores decreased significantly since last year.

Contrary to popular belief, making customers happy is not the single best way to achieve loyalty — feeling appreciated and confident are equally as important in the retail industry. According to Forrester’s 2018 CX Index data, 86 percent of multichannel shoppers and 87 percent of digital shoppers who feel appreciated intend to spend more with the brand. According to Forrester, this is a clear indication as to why understanding which emotions evoke loyalty matters.

“Few industries have felt disruption like retail, and many are choosing the wrong path forward because they’re not focusing on the drivers that improve customer experience where it counts,” said Forrester chief research and product officer Cliff Condon. “CX is directly linked to driving revenue — Forrester estimates that a one point improvement in a big box retailer’s CX Index score can lead to an incremental $244 million in revenue — so it’s vital for retailers to identify what consumers want and invest in those elements that drive loyalty. Only then will retailers see an improvement in the CX quality that their customers now demand.”

Based on a survey of more than 110,000 U.S. online adult consumers, Forrester’s CX Index measures and ranks nearly 300 U.S. brands across 19 industries to identify how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. Of the 287 U.S. brands ranked in 2018, 42 multichannel and 11 digital retailers were analyzed to determine how customers perceive their experiences and how customer experience drives loyalty.

Most notably, Trader Joe’s claimed the top spot in multichannel retail, thanks to its ability to provide the most positive experiences of all 287 brands ranked. Costco and Neiman Marcus also placed second and third on the multichannel list, while Home Shopping Network, QVC and Zappos.com were the three leaders for digital retailers.

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