Exceptional customer experience isn’t something you can master — and then forget. Like love and friendship, it begs to be nurtured, developed, and continually reaffirmed or it will lose its luster.

That’s one of the key takeaways from a new report from the Temkin Group, a Waban, Massachusetts-based customer experience (CX) research, consulting, and training firm.

2018 Temkin Experience Ratings

In its eighth annual Temkin Experience Ratings, the company again offers a cross-industry, open standard benchmark of customer experience.

Wegmans, H-E-B, Citizens Bank, credit unions, Publix, and Subway earned the highest overall ratings. CarMax, Spirit Airlines, Optimum, Medicaid, and Comcast received the lowest.

Last year, Publix, Chick-fil-A, and H-E-B earned the highest overall ratings, while Health Net, Blue Shield of California, and Comcast earned the lowest scores.

The report suggests exceptional customer experience remains elusive, and that businesses are more talk than action when it comes to enhancing experience.

The evidence is clear. Despite the ubiquity of CX programs and strategic initiatives, customers aren’t that excited about what’s being delivered.

Experience Ratings Have Slipped

temkin experience ratings

Bruce Temkin, founder and managing partner of the Temkin Group, said overall ratings declined slightly this year, “driven mostly by a drop in the emotion component scores.” Most consumers responding (65 percent) felt indifferent about their experiences: They didn’t walk away “upset,” but they didn’t feel “delighted” either.

Overall, auto dealers and utilities saw the largest decline in their scores, dropping by nearly 3 percentage points, Temkin noted.

The Temkin Group based its findings on responses from 10,000 US consumers. Participants rated their recent interactions with 318 companies across 20 industries on the basis of three dimensions: success, effort, and emotion.

The Road to Better Experience Ratings

Temkin acknowledges that “any company can improve narrow segments of its customer experience.” However, he said, “creating lasting differentiation requires more than just strong ambitions and superficial changes.”

To advance CX maturity and establish the foundation for lasting success, he said companies must build and sustain four customer experience competencies:

  1. Purposeful Leadership: Leaders operate consistently with a clear set of values
  2. Employee Engagement: Employees are aligned with organizational goals
  3. Compelling Brand Values: Brand promises drive how the organization treats customers
  4. Customer Connectedness: Customer insights are infused across the organization

Arke CMTO Chris Spears said those competencies are essential elements of a company’s brand experience.

Understanding Brand Experience

Spears said brand experience encourages a big-picture lens to evaluate experience in all of its contexts. “It also assesses the impact it has on every person affiliated with your brand. That includes customers, employees, suppliers, vendors, and other stakeholders,” he said.

“Companies can create the best brand experience by building it on a foundation of strategy. Ask questions. Why does your company do what it does? What is its mission?”

Once companies answer the “why,” he said, they can more clearly assess all the journeys their customers and employees will embark upon. They can also better understand the channels that will support those journeys and the marketing technologies that will enable them.

“You’ll have a clear vision to assess the technologies you need, how to integrate them, and who to turn to for help transforming your vision into an efficient, effective, repeatable process that scales as your business grows,” he said.

In short, you’ll set the stage for better experiences for everyone associated with your brand.

Want to learn more about building enhancing brand experience? Email Chris Spears for more information.

About Arke

Atlanta-based Arke develops strategies and implements digital technologies for better brand experience for your customers.