For companies looking to adequately gauge their brands' customer experience, they need not look any further than the customers themselves. No matter what tools and technology may be in place, direct customer feedback provides the necessary insight companies need in order to improve or sustain their current level of service, putting customers at the heart of every business.

As part of its sixth-annual "Customer Experience Index 2013", Forrester Research explores the customer experience quality of 154 large U.S. brands across 14 industries. From retailers and hotels, to airlines and insurance firms, this study examines which major companies are leading the way in the customer experience space and which brands fail to meet customer needs and expectations. The survey, which polled 7,506 U.S. consumers, asked respondents three questions: "Thinking of your interactions with these firms over the past 90 days… How enjoyable were they to do business with? How easy were they to do business with? How effective were they at meeting your needs?"

Consumers were asked to rank each brand they do business with based on these three areas—value, ease, and "enjoyability"—each one a 1 to 5 scale. To calculate their CXi scores, Forrester then subtracted the percentage of customers who reported bad experiences from the percentage reporting good experiences for each of three questions to find every brand's average score.