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Customer experience continued to be a hot topic in 2019, and 2020 should prove to be no different. Since consumers and corporate buyers have been given a public voice on social media, they’ve used that voice to demand better experiences from the companies with which they do business.

Many companies now have separate departments dedicated to customer experience (CX), while others are attempting to integrate CX into existing business units. Most leading companies have deduced that employee experience and customer experience are closely related, as happy employees tend to provide better experiences for customers.

Thirty CX experts and practitioners recently responded to a survey about what to expect in customer experience for 2020. In answering whether CX got better or worse in 2019, respondents averaged a 7.2 rating on a 10-point scale, with the majority selecting 7 or 8. This suggests that those who are in the trenches day-to-day are beginning to see forward progress with CX.

When asked to name a favorite brand for customer experience, respondents supplied a wide variety of companies; in fact, only four companies–Amazon, Apple, Costco and Nordstrom–received more than one vote. Other vote-getters included:

So what’s the one thing that companies must focus on in 2020 relating to customer experience? The experts weighed in:

The experts also supplied names of up-and-coming brands to keep an eye on for 2020. These included:

As planning and budgeting for 2020 are now top of mind, don’t forget that without customers, you don’t have a business. Make sure that customer experience efforts are fully funded and resourced to provide the best experience possible in a competitive marketplace.

Dan Gingiss is a keynote speaker and the author of Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media. Sign up for his bi-weekly newsletter of CX articles and tips here.