Frequently Asked Questions About Forrester's Customer Experience Index, 2012

Since publishing our Customer Experience Index, 2012 last week, we've gotten a flood of questions about the research, methodology, and results. I'm putting the finishing touches on a full Forrester report that answers the ten most common questions but thought I'd give everyone a sneak preview with a blog post summarizing a few of the answers.

1. Who are the people rating the brands in Forrester's Customer Experience Index?

To produce the CXi each year, Forrester conducts an online survey of US individuals ages 18 to 88. This year, there were 7,638 such folks who answered the survey during October 2011.  We weighted the data by age, gender, income, broadband adoption, and region to demographically represent the adult US online population. The sample was drawn from members of MarketTools' online panel, and respondents were motivated by receiving points that can be redeemed for a reward.

2. Which touchpoints are consumers rating when they answer the CXi questions?

The short answer to this question is "any touchpoints they used to interact with the brand." We don't direct consumers to think about any specific touchpoints as they rate their interactions. Instead, we want them to consider all of their interactions with that brand over the past 90 days, regardless of how they happened.

To get a sense of which touchpoints respondents were probably thinking about, we do ask consumers to tell us how they interacted with each brand over the past 90 days. The list includes the most common touchpoints: website, phone (agent and automated), in person, mobile apps, mobile websites, and even paper communications (e.g., statements, letters, or bills). That helps us determine which experiences likely influenced people's responses when we're digging into the data for diagnostic purposes.

3. Does the Customer Experience Index cover B2B experiences or just B2C?

As of right now, the published Customer Experience Index report covers B2C experience only. Why? Because it’s easier to find respondents who’ve personally done business with firms in all 13 industries in a single panel.

We have used the CXi methodology in custom studies for B2B companies in a variety of industries, so we know the methodology works in that context. It would just require more sophisticated recruiting to do a multi-industry B2B benchmark similar to the one we publish for B2C now. For example, the B2B customers of a health insurance plan are likely the benefits managers in a company. The B2B customers of a telecom firm at that same company probably sit in the CIO’s organization. It’s not likely that benefits managers and technology professionals would be on the same survey panel, so Forrester would have to do a bit more work to gather the data for a cross-industry B2B Customer Experience Index. That being said, it is something we have considered and continue to consider each year, so a B2B CXi may come to be in the future.

There you have three of the most common questions we get about the CXi, with seven  more coming in my new report (it should publish in a few weeks). Got questions that I didn't cover here? Post them in a comment or in Forrester's Customer Experience community, and I'll answer as many as I can in the coming weeks.