- Whole Foods, following its acquisition by Amazon, saw a 3.6 point gain in its customer experience score, one of the biggest increases for the brands measured in Forrester's fifth annual Customer Experience (CX) Index rankings.
- Only 14% of brands achieved a significantly increased score and overall, the quality of U.S. customer experience rose only 0.4 points. The findings show no real leaders in customer experience, as no single brand has risen to the top and continued to move up.
- Other top brands for customer experience include Boost Mobile, Edward Jones, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Lexus, QVC, Residence Inn by Marriott, TD Bank, USAA and Zappos.com. Eighty-one percent of brand scores remained essentially the same as last year, 14% rose and 5% declined. The report is based on a survey of 101,341 U.S. adults and covers 260 brands across 16 industries.
The key takeaway from Whole Foods' gains is that brands with both digital and physical channels show a better customer experience than those with just one or the other, VP and report co-author Harley Manning said in a blog post about the findings. After its purchase by Amazon, Whole Foods prices dropped and the chain let customers order products online, get free two-hour delivery through Amazon Prime for some markets, have products delivered to Amazon lockers in Whole Foods stores and receive special discounts if they are Prime customers.
Whole Foods' financial results support Forrester's finding that customers are responding well to the changes, with Manning pointing to a 16.5% increase in foot traffic reported by Whole Foods in the first quarter of 2019 and a 6% increase in sales, when digital sales are included. In general, each one-point rise in Forrester's CX Index correlates to a 2% increase in revenue per customer, Manning noted.
Overall, this year’s survey showed that emotion plays a key role in brand differentiation, Forrester said. This means that, when it comes to brand loyalty, how an experience makes a customer feel is likely to have a bigger influence than effectiveness or ease of use. The top performing brands in terms of CX provided an average of 22 emotionally positive experiences for each negative experience. In contrast, the brands at the bottom of the customer experience index provided only three emotionally positive experiences for each negative experience.