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Expectations vs. experience:
The good, the bad, the opportunity

Customer Experience Study

Thanks to the digitization of everything, customer expectations are becoming increasingly liquid. But are brands keeping pace and delivering best-in-class relevant experiences?

In this commissioned study from Forrester Consulting we found that too many brands look to their close competitors to benchmark their experience efforts, thinking it’s good enough to be the leader in a mediocre pack. But customers expect more, and their expectations are forged by their experiences of leading brands across industries.

Brand executives talk the talk of digital transformation, but often fall short on execution. A cluster of high performers have found success by prioritizing customer experience (CX) as a mindset.

Learn how to close your gap between customer experience and expectations through a set of distinct behaviors coupled with untapped opportunities.


“Against the competition, we are right in line. Relative to our customers’ expectations, we are absolutely behind.”

— Head of Digital Transformation for an Insurance Company




DOWNLOAD THE STUDY [PDF] for detailed findings and analysis from the 702 online surveys and 11 in-depth interviews with customer experience decision-makers.


Customers are Underwhelmed

Big Payoffs on CX Investments

According to Forrester, 1 percent increases in CX scores can translate into $10M’s to $100M’s in annual revenue.

Our CX high performers are likewise outperforming their peers, driving significantly higher rates of digital success over their peers, including:

+21% Improved brand relevance

+17% Increased customer loyalty

+13% Improved ROI

+11% Increased revenues

CX Is a Mindset

Our study found that CX high performers view experience transformation more as an organizational mindset than a series of projects. This difference in thinking supports FOUR distinct behaviors that help make them so successful. They:

Align senior sponsorship—100 percent agree that senior leaders are onboard versus only 41 percent of peers.
Adapt to a dynamic state of constant flux—Embrace digital at rates double digits higher than their peers.
Turn data into insight and action—Are more data-driven around customer experience (+44 percent) and see data and analytics as critical to driving CX improvement (+25 percent).
Identify and secure partnerships—81 percent agree all partners identified and secured (+30 percent over peers).

“The biggest challenge for transformation in general is mindset; you need people to understand and believe that any idea is worthwhile at a strategic level.”

— Sr. Vice President of Digital at a US Manufacturer

Untapped CX Opportunities Exist

To help advance experience transformation, we’ve identified three core areas of opportunity that are applicable to brands at all performance levels:

People and Skills—At best only about half of brands have either a full complement of CX skills or strong internal collaboration:

Customer Engagement—Just over half of brands involve customers directly, yet over 80 percent believe it is important:


Optimize Metrics—90 percent see value in churn metrics, but less than 40 percent capture them:


Also, about 40 percent don’t use a wide variety of customer insight tools and tactics:


Meeting customer expectations is by no means a small achievement. However, it’s not enough anymore. Customer expectations are changing faster than ever and this requires companies to stay even closer to customers than before.

The distinct behaviors of the high performers are helping them stay ahead of the competition. But the next wave of customer experience disruption is at hand, a development which Accenture calls Living Services. The evolution of Living Services is driven by liquid customer expectations and the digitization of everything and will completely transform customer experience.

Ideating and developing intuitive, self-learning, responsive services demand a very close collaboration between the CEO, CMO and CIO. A first important step is embracing the study recommendations and the fact that expectations are becoming liquid. Marketing leaders have a heightened responsibility to promote and foster this insight both inside and outside their organizations.

DOWNLOAD THE STUDY [PDF] for detailed findings and analysis from the 702 online surveys and 11 in-depth interviews with customer experience decision-makers.


To learn more about the research and how Accenture Interactive can help create living services that enable experience transformation for your organization please contact:


Anatoly Roytman

Managing Director
Europe, Africa & Latin America, Accenture Interactive,
and Global Digital Commerce Lead

Watch the webinar replay