A couple of weeks ago I gave a teleconference to Forrester clients called “The State Of Customer Experience, 2009.” My key message: Customer experience is showing resilience in the face of the down economy.
My assessment comes from a few different angles. First of all, I’ve been in touch with many vendors who sell voice of the customer solutions and they are continuing to report pretty strong pipelines.
In addition, I analyzed consumer data from late last year; looking at the correlation between customer experience and loyalty. This was the same analysis that I did the previous year in research called “The Business Impact Of Customer Experience.” It turns out that link between customer experience and loyalty has increased for all 9 industries I examined. If you’re interested in more details on this analysis, look out for a report called “Customer Experience Correlates To Loyalty” in the near future.
I also looked at a survey of large North American firms that we fielded in Q4, 2008. Their responses showed no drop-off in commitment to customer experience. As a matter of fact, the percentage of firms that had a senior executive in charge of customer experience has increased from 45% to 57% and the percentage of firms that use a single measure of customer experience across their company has grown from 53% to 69%.
We also asked specifically about how the companies will react to the down economy; here’s one of those questions:
If you look at these responses, 48% of companies expect relative strength in customer experience spending, which is higher than the number who expect cuts to be at par with other areas and 4 times the number of people who expect customer experience spending to go down more than in other areas.
While the tough economy will likely affect customer experience spending (as it does everything else), companies seem to understand that customer experience is one of the more important items to focus on in a recession.
The bottom line: Customer experience remains critical in a recession.