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US consumers are tough customers. They give companies here lower customer experience (CX) ratings than consumers in China give companies there. But take heart: French companies disappoint more than companies in any other country — and  only a handful of firms in the UK rank as "good" or better.

Earlier this week, we told you Zendesk, a cloud-based customer service platform provider, rated New Zealand, Canada and Norway as the top countries for customer service. Now three new reports from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research shed more light on the state of global CX.

Companies Can Do Better

Forrester, which is extending its annual Customer Experience Index reports to multiple countries abroad, just issued results for France, the UK and China [fee charged].  

As in the US, respondents were asked to identify companies they patronize, both online and offline. Consumers have to shop both channels to be included. The CX Index scores are tabulated from their responses to three questions rating the ease, enjoyment and effectiveness of doing business with each company.

In the UK report, consumers appear to have responded with a big "meh." As Forrester notes, The average CX Index score for all retailers was 74 — a number that indicates, overall,  experience at UK retailers is "OK."

In France, "Ok" was actually a positive rating. Consumers generally rated their experiences as OK at best and as low as "very poor."

In China, upper-income consumers give higher scores than mid- and lower-income consumers. For example,  China Southern Airlines earned an average score of 80 from higher-income consumers but an average of only 66 from middle-income consumers.

The Chinese report also showed strong differences between technology optimists, who give higher scores, compared to technology pessimists, who offer much lower scores. (For the UK and France, the differences between optimists and pessimists are less pronounced.)

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Exploring the Differences

Chinese consumers like their customer experiences. But why?

These reports are both tantalizing and frustrating. On the one hand, they broaden the focus of Forrester's attention to CX in other countries, mostly adhere to the same methodology and measure some of the same groups, such as general attitudes among technology optimists and pessimists.

But how do cultural differences affect these results? What are intrinsic features of customer experience, applicable across the board, and what are based on local and national attitudes and expectations? What is the interplay between offline and online experiences that could impact, say, whether customers feel well treated?

These kinds of questions are difficult to answer, but they could point to CX's next evolution – separating universal factors for dealing with customers from the particulars of the place where the interactions occur.

Title image of a mall in Guangzhou, China by GuoZhongHua / Shutterstock. Graph from Forrester Research.