Forrester CXNYC: “Breaking the Sound Barrier” with CX Transformation

Forrester CXNYC: “Breaking the Sound Barrier” with CX Transformation

The Forrester CXNYC Conference took place earlier this week, and I must say, it was one of the best I’ve attended in my career. It was a solid immersion in thought-leadership from Forrester on the state and direction of Customer Experience (CX). It was also a valuable chance to interact with my peers on where we see our clients heading, the challenges they are facing, and how we help them get there.

George Colony, the CEO of Forrester, kicked off the entire conference and set the tone with his keynote in which he delivered a bracing theme that “CX has flatlined.” Measurement with the “Forrester CX Index” has plateaued in recent years, confirming that we’re no longer seeing a steady upward trend in customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) improvements. But what is the cause? His hypothesis: growing consumer expectations have created a new “sound barrier” for CX improvements.

Harley Manning, VP, Research Director at Forrester, then took this analogy a step further explaining that the term “sound barrier” did not exist before World War II. Fighter aircraft were unable to push past 650 mph with the current aircraft design. Incremental improvements were attempted, but larger engines could not boost performance without causing negative impacts on speed due to weight.

To reach the next level of performance, aircraft designers needed to radically rethink the aircraft from the ground up. These ideas included bold design elements like jet engines (that took in air more efficiently without added weight), rounded noses, and smaller wings (to avoid drag). Finally, in 1947, Chuck Yeager hit 767 mph to break the seemingly unbreakable barrier, and the jet age was born.

Are CX professionals fundamentally rethinking CX from the ground up? Or are we focused on incrementalism that will never get us there?

In my role at West Monroe, I have the benefit of interacting with hundreds of companies each year. I see my share of executive teams focusing on incremental change vs. transformation. Our “DEEPEN” CX Methodology is one way that we encourage our clients to zoom out and radically rethink CX transformation efforts to “redesign the aircraft from the ground up.”

One final concept introduced by Forrester was “Experience 1.” X1 was described as the “prime experience” needed to have successful user experience (UX). Your “X1″ can be as simple as airport cleanliness driving higher retail spend (it goes up 5%), or speed of transactions in retail (Amazon anyone?), or low wait times at check-in at hotels.

What is the “X1″ for your company? Exploring this topic can be a very powerful exercise.

We’ll be thinking a lot about these concepts with our clients in the coming months and encourage you to do the same. I look forward to breaking the sound barrier in new and interesting ways together!

You can learn more about how we are helping clients with CX transformation here. I’d love to continue the conversation, reach out to me at with any questions.

Phone: 312-602-4000
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Hide Buttons