Survey: How Your Customer Experience Program Stacks Up

Last year, Gartner reached out to 189 executive leaders and asked how they measured the success of their customer experience program. 107 of those respondents chose not to answer the question. We conducted our own survey to dig deeper to understand what a successful CX program looks like. See our results.

By The TandemSeven Experts

What does the survey try to answer?

Our survey, “Benchmark My CX Program,” evaluates today’s customer experience landscape. It gave respondents a chance to weigh in on whether their efforts were sufficiently supported, structured, and aligned. It also provided survey takers with instant feedback about how their customer experience program fared against their industry peers. The following is an analysis of the poll data about today’s customer experience initiatives.

Who were the poll respondents?

  • 42% of poll respondents came from companies whose annual revenue ranged from $100 million to $10.1 billion.
  • A third of the respondents came from companies with annual revenue of $10.1 million to $100 million.
  • 27% came from companies with less than $10 million.

20160412115213

Survey Questions And Results

How much of a priority is improving customer experience at your organization?

15% of respondents say that customer experience isn’t even a priority at their organization. Meanwhile, a larger faction reported customer experience is one of several strategic priorities at their organization, but not the top.
priority of customer experience program

Why do customer experience efforts fail or flounder? Customer information can simply become lost in the divergent channels and priorities of an organization. Initiatives such as customer research can become disconnected from original goals.

One way to solve this is beginning customer experience efforts with the development of an experience strategy. This strategy can serve as a roadmap for accomplishing business goals while linking them to customer needs and data. Of course, it shouldn’t be a static plan, but a structured approach is invaluable in transformational programs.

How would you characterize the maturity of the CX Program at your organization?

Only 16% have reported that they have identified CX as a proven approach and a clear competitive differentiator. Meanwhile, over half of the other poll respondents say that their efforts are still in flight, and over a third say that they haven’t dedicated any formal budget or resources to it.
Maturity of CX program
One McKinsey article offers a sound explanation for why customer experience efforts stall:


Many companies begin their efforts to change the customer experience with a broad aspiration to transform it. But they often fail to quantify the economic outcomes of differences in customer experiences, so their efforts end up having clear costs and unclear near-term results… Without a quantified link to value and a sound business case, such efforts often can’t show early gains, build momentum among functional executives, and earn a seat at the strategy table.


Stakeholder buy-in is clearly essential to raising the profile of customer experience programs, but requires the right kind of communication.

When selling customer experience management to the C-suite, go beyond rehashing industry trends. Emphasize that a poor customer experience causes customer and investor abandonment. Show actionable data, such as the increase of earnings per share through improved customer experience, the percentage of customers retained and their revenue contribution, and the purchase expansion through the product they bought.

Of course, showing how improved CX leads to overall cost savings and increased revenue are the most effective ways to get attention.

How is CX management structured and enabled at your organization?

Our findings show that organizations prefer to insource their customer experience program and enabling tools. Even if an external consultant supplements an internal team, respondents indicated that they preferred that these teams use their own tools.
Customer experience program managementThis proves optimistic for the future because it shows that organizations wish to own their customer experience efforts and requisite tools. One way to fuse customer experience into a business’s infrastructure, or at least focus on it more, is to create a digital acceleration center.

A “CX center of excellence” does not have to consist of sizable, centralized teams; they can be lean and distributed as well.

What’s important is that the team is devoted to maximizing customer experience efforts, and has access to the information, best practices, research, and tools to do so. If possible, you can devote a physical space to this Digital Acceleration center, and enlist help with onboarding the right staff, tools, and processes.

Which department ultimately leads CX, and is responsible for CX initiatives?

Over a fourth of respondents say that they have a dedicated Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or CX department, while 28% say these responsibilities are shared across multiple departments. A CMO and his or her marketing department, and customer service or support teams are also identified as channels that operate CX.

Owners of Customer Experience programs

The question of whether you’re ready to hire a CX leader like Chief Customer Officer depends on your enterprise business culture. CRMmagazine.com points out that hiring and empowering a CCO can unite siloed departments and put the needs of the customer first. However, as the article notes,


Enterprises should build a customer-centric culture and reward all employees who show that they are customer advocates…If having a CCO moves the organization in that direction, the role will benefit the corporation and reward the individual. But just giving someone the title without making the necessary cultural and organizational changes is a formula for failure.


Therefore, it’s important to take the temperature of your business culture and determine whether designating a person, department, or sharing responsibilities accomplishes your goals.

What needs to happen in order to increase your project success rates?

The biggest hurdle respondents said they had to jump is sharing CX assets to align departments around a single view of the customer. Such assets include:

  • Quantitative and qualitative data insights
  • Journey maps
  • Personas
  • Scenario models

One solution is to find a way to connect them. For example, synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data helps create effective personas. Journey maps bring persona data to life, and should be connected in their representations.

Support tools can be immensely helpful for hosting these resources and make sure they stay dynamic and available. If you’re able to find a tool that lets you store CX assets and connect them to current research data–even better.

Today’s customer experience climate overall

A Google search today for “customer experience” yields over 130 million search results. However, there is a chasm between industry buzz and effectively bringing these efforts to fruition.

Shifting an organization to a customer-centric model requires change management. Processes such as customer research, journey mapping, and effective persona creation require careful coordination. However, these efforts can lead to groundbreaking results such as increased revenue and customer loyalty, and reduced churn.

Last year, Gartner reached out to 189 executive leaders and asked how they measured the success of their customer experience program. 107 of those respondents chose not to answer the question. We conducted our own survey to dig deeper to understand what a successful CX program looks like. See our results.

By The TandemSeven Experts

What does the survey try to answer?

Our survey, “Benchmark My CX Program,” evaluates today’s customer experience landscape. It gave respondents a chance to weigh in on whether their efforts were sufficiently supported, structured, and aligned. It also provided survey takers with instant feedback about how their customer experience program fared against their industry peers. The following is an analysis of the poll data about today’s customer experience initiatives.

Who were the poll respondents?

  • 42% of poll respondents came from companies whose annual revenue ranged from $100 million to $10.1 billion.
  • A third of the respondents came from companies with annual revenue of $10.1 million to $100 million.
  • 27% came from companies with less than $10 million.

20160412115213

Survey Questions And Results

How much of a priority is improving customer experience at your organization?

15% of respondents say that customer experience isn’t even a priority at their organization. Meanwhile, a larger faction reported customer experience is one of several strategic priorities at their organization, but not the top.
priority of customer experience program

Why do customer experience efforts fail or flounder? Customer information can simply become lost in the divergent channels and priorities of an organization. Initiatives such as customer research can become disconnected from original goals.

One way to solve this is beginning customer experience efforts with the development of an experience strategy. This strategy can serve as a roadmap for accomplishing business goals while linking them to customer needs and data. Of course, it shouldn’t be a static plan, but a structured approach is invaluable in transformational programs.

How would you characterize the maturity of the CX Program at your organization?

Only 16% have reported that they have identified CX as a proven approach and a clear competitive differentiator. Meanwhile, over half of the other poll respondents say that their efforts are still in flight, and over a third say that they haven’t dedicated any formal budget or resources to it.
Maturity of CX program
One McKinsey article offers a sound explanation for why customer experience efforts stall:


Many companies begin their efforts to change the customer experience with a broad aspiration to transform it. But they often fail to quantify the economic outcomes of differences in customer experiences, so their efforts end up having clear costs and unclear near-term results… Without a quantified link to value and a sound business case, such efforts often can’t show early gains, build momentum among functional executives, and earn a seat at the strategy table.


Stakeholder buy-in is clearly essential to raising the profile of customer experience programs, but requires the right kind of communication.

When selling customer experience management to the C-suite, go beyond rehashing industry trends. Emphasize that a poor customer experience causes customer and investor abandonment. Show actionable data, such as the increase of earnings per share through improved customer experience, the percentage of customers retained and their revenue contribution, and the purchase expansion through the product they bought.

Of course, showing how improved CX leads to overall cost savings and increased revenue are the most effective ways to get attention.

How is CX management structured and enabled at your organization?

Our findings show that organizations prefer to insource their customer experience program and enabling tools. Even if an external consultant supplements an internal team, respondents indicated that they preferred that these teams use their own tools.
Customer experience program managementThis proves optimistic for the future because it shows that organizations wish to own their customer experience efforts and requisite tools. One way to fuse customer experience into a business’s infrastructure, or at least focus on it more, is to create a digital acceleration center.

A “CX center of excellence” does not have to consist of sizable, centralized teams; they can be lean and distributed as well.

What’s important is that the team is devoted to maximizing customer experience efforts, and has access to the information, best practices, research, and tools to do so. If possible, you can devote a physical space to this Digital Acceleration center, and enlist help with onboarding the right staff, tools, and processes.

Which department ultimately leads CX, and is responsible for CX initiatives?

Over a fourth of respondents say that they have a dedicated Chief Customer Officer (CCO) or CX department, while 28% say these responsibilities are shared across multiple departments. A CMO and his or her marketing department, and customer service or support teams are also identified as channels that operate CX.

Owners of Customer Experience programs

The question of whether you’re ready to hire a CX leader like Chief Customer Officer depends on your enterprise business culture. CRMmagazine.com points out that hiring and empowering a CCO can unite siloed departments and put the needs of the customer first. However, as the article notes,


Enterprises should build a customer-centric culture and reward all employees who show that they are customer advocates…If having a CCO moves the organization in that direction, the role will benefit the corporation and reward the individual. But just giving someone the title without making the necessary cultural and organizational changes is a formula for failure.


Therefore, it’s important to take the temperature of your business culture and determine whether designating a person, department, or sharing responsibilities accomplishes your goals.

What needs to happen in order to increase your project success rates?

The biggest hurdle respondents said they had to jump is sharing CX assets to align departments around a single view of the customer. Such assets include:

  • Quantitative and qualitative data insights
  • Journey maps
  • Personas
  • Scenario models

One solution is to find a way to connect them. For example, synthesizing quantitative and qualitative data helps create effective personas. Journey maps bring persona data to life, and should be connected in their representations.

Support tools can be immensely helpful for hosting these resources and make sure they stay dynamic and available. If you’re able to find a tool that lets you store CX assets and connect them to current research data–even better.

Today’s customer experience climate overall

A Google search today for “customer experience” yields over 130 million search results. However, there is a chasm between industry buzz and effectively bringing these efforts to fruition.

Shifting an organization to a customer-centric model requires change management. Processes such as customer research, journey mapping, and effective persona creation require careful coordination. However, these efforts can lead to groundbreaking results such as increased revenue and customer loyalty, and reduced churn.

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2017-06-02T09:18:00+00:00