Forrester's Bruce Temkin: Forrester's 2010 Customer Experience Rankings

Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
This is our third year publishing the CxPi. The 2007 CxPi and the 2008 CxPi rankings were published in Q4. We decided to publish this year's CxPi in Q1 2010, so we don't have a 2009 CxPi.

This is our third year publishing the CxPi. The 2007 CxPi and the 2008 CxPi rankings were published in Q4. We decided to publish this year's CxPi in Q1 2010, so we don't have a 2009 CxPi.

The 2010 CxPi ranks 133 organizations across 14 industries: Airlines, Banks, Credit Card Providers, Health Plans, Hotels, Insurance Firms, Internet Service Providers, Investment Firms, Parcel Shipping Services (new this year), PC Manufacturers, Retailers, TV Service Providers, Utilities (new this year), and Wireless Carriers.

The CxPi is based on consumer evaluations during November 2010 across three areas: 1) meeting needs; 2) being easy to work with; and 3) enjoyability (see the methodology section below).
Here are the full 2010 CxPi rankings...

Barnes & Noble took the top spot in the CxPi rankings for the second year in a row. Marriot Hotels, Hampton Inn,, and Holiday Inn Express round out the top 5. At the other end of the spectrum, Charter Communications landed at the bottom of the CxPi rankings for the third year in a row. Here are some additional insights about the overall results:

  • Retailers take 12 out of the top 20 spots. Most of the top rated companies on the list are retailers. Hotels also grabbed three of the top 20 spots. Interestingly, three financial services firms also cracked the top 20: credit unions, SunTrust Bank, and Vanguard.
  • Healthcare, Internet and TV services dominate the bottom. The bottom 11 companies on the list came from only four industries: five health insurance plans (United Healthcare, Medicaid, Anthem, and CIGNA), three ISPs (Charter Communications, Comcast, and Qwest), two TV service providers (Charter Communications and Comcast), and one credit card provider (HSBC).
  • There was very little excellence. Only 13 firms ended up with an "excellent," and 35 received a "good" rating. 40 companies fell in the middle with "okay" ratings. At the bottom of the list, 45 received either a "poor" or "very poor" rating.
  • Liberty Mutual improved the most. When we compared firms' 2010 CxPi with last year's results, we found that 22 companies had improved by at least five percentage points. Led by Liberty Mutual's 15 percentage point increase, five firms even had double-digit improvements (Comfort Inn, Sprint, and Time Warner Cable).

CxPi Results Across Industries

We also looked at the overall results for the 14 industries included in the CxPi.

The industry CxPi data shows that:

  • Retailers, hotels, and parcel delivery services lead. Three industries at the top of the ratings, retailers (82%) hotels (80%), and parcel deliver services (78%) were the only industries to receive "good" average ratings. Only health insurance plans (51%) ended up with a "very poor" average rating.
  • Retailers and ISPs are heading in opposite directions. We examined the industry results over the last three years of CxPi results. Of the nine industries that we've examined for all three years, two have been on steady paths. Retailers have improved every year, going from 78% in 2007 to 82% in 2010. ISPs, on the other hand, have dropped consistently from 62% in 2007 to 57% in 2010.
  • TV service providers improved the most. We also examined the changes from last year's CxPi. Led by a five percentage point gain from TV service providers, seven industries made improvements in their overall CxPi scores. Banks and credit card providers, on the other hand, had the largest declines.

The CxPi Methodology

This analysis was based on responses from 4,653 US consumers during November 2009. The Customer Experience Index (CxPi) was calculated as an average of the indices that came from consumer responses to the following three questions from an online survey:

  • Thinking about your recent interactions with these firms, how effective were they at meeting your needs? ("Meeting Needs" rating)
  • Thinking about your recent interactions with these firms, how easy was it to work with these firms? ("Being Easy To Work With" rating)
  • Thinking about your recent interactions with these firms, how enjoyable were the interactions? ("Enjoyability" rating)

Consumers selected responses along a five-point scale - ranging from a very negative experience (1) to a very positive one (5). The individual indexes were calculated by taking the percentage of consumers who selected one of the top two boxes (4 or 5) and subtracting the percentage of consumers who selected the bottom two boxes (1 or 2).

In order to limit consumer feedback to organizations that consumers are familiar with, we only asked consumers about organizations that they've interacted with during the previous 90 days.

While we received feedback on many firms, the CxPi only includes the 133 organizations that had at least 100 consumer responses.

The bottom line: There's plenty of room to improve customer experience which will increase customer loyalty.

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About the Author: Bruce Temkin is a Vice President, Principal Analyst, at Forrester Research where he serves Customer Experience professionals, and writes the blog Customer Experience Matters. Reprinted with permission.