Customer Experience Generation Gap

As I prepare to gather consumer data for the 2009 Customer Experience Index (CxPi), I went back and ran another analysis on the 2008 CxPi dataset. In a report called The Customer Experience Generation Gap, I looked at the difference in feedback in 12 industries across 5 generations of US consumers. Here are some of the findings:

  • Seniors give the highest ratings. For all 12 industries, Seniors gave their providers the highest average ratings of any generation. The scores from this older group ranged from 86% for retailers to 61% for TV service providers. 
  • Gen Y give the lowest ratings. For 11 of the 12 industries, Gen Y gave the the lowest scores. What was the only exception? Older Boomers were the low mark for PC manufacturers. The scores from Gen Y ranged from 78% for retailers to 38% for health plans.
  • Health plans have the largest generation gap. When we compared the scores from Seniors with those from Gen Y, health plans had the largest gap, 38%. Seven other industries had gaps of at least 20%: ISPs, airlines, credit card providers, investment firms, wireless carriers, tv service providers, and insurance providers. 
  • Health plans and TV service providers widely disappoint. For all five generations of consumers, health plans and TV service providers get the two lowest scores.
  • Retailers and hotels are the most enjoyable. I also examined the  underlying components of the CxPi. It turns out that all five generations gave retailers and hotels enjoyability rankings of 70% or more, but no other industry ended up with even a single score that high.

The bottom line: Firms need a Gen Y experience plan.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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