Despite customer experience being a top priority for the C-suite, few organizations have a coherent strategy that aligns customer experience against business strategy and then across departments. Our research found that the key is to use relationships as the foundation for a next-generation customer experience strategy, with touchpoints and journeys remaining practical necessities. The strategy must prioritize experiences that create relevance in the relationship that in the end drives business results.

This report describes how to develop a strategy that starts by understanding the maturity of your experience strategy formulation and execution capabilities. From there, it includes the four steps of an experience strategy process:

  • Understanding the next generation customer on a continuous basis.
  • Creating a vision and guiding principles that connect experience to relationships.
  • Prioritizing experience initiatives for relevance.
  • Aligning the organization for execution.

Key Findings

  • Despite making customer experience a priority, companies still don’t know how to invest in it.
  • When it comes to experience, customers want relevance and speed, not delight. The most important elements of an ideal customer experience are fast responses to questions/complaints and the ability to find information quickly.
  • Experience strategy is defined as a set of prioritized and coordinated moves that use experiences to build relationships that result in brand and business outcomes.
  • A robust strategy starts with an honest assessment of where the organization is on the experience maturity curve, along three dimensions of Strategy and Vision, Organizational Readiness, and Leadership Alignment.
  • Organizations should take four key steps to build a next-generation experience strategy.

Charlene Li

Senior Fellow

Aubrey Littleton


Omar Akhtar

Senior Analyst and Research Director