Q1 2021 might have begun in the middle of a pretty grim winter, but it ended with longer days, vaccine rollouts, and (at least in Boston) flowers in bloom. Plus, in the intervening months, XM Institute published a number of exciting new resources! Thirty-three new resources to be exact. Which brings our total number of unique resources on the site up to more than 560.

So in the spirit of celebrating some of the positive things to happen so far in 2021, we thought we would highlight our top 15 pieces of content from Q1. I’ve split the list into three groups, our most popular new resources, my favorite new resources, and our all-time top-performing resources.


The Rising Stars: Most Popular Content of Q1

Our pace of publishing really picked up in Q1, with numerous resources going live each week. Which means competition for the top five spots was tight, but our most popular pieces of content for the first quarter were:

  • Introducing the XM Professional (XMP) Certification (Blog Post). One of the most exciting things XM Institute did last quarter – or any quarter for that matter – was launch the XM Professional (XMP) Certification, the world’s first credential recognizing an individual’s professional experience and expertise in the discipline of Experience Management (XM). And we clearly are not the only ones who are excited about this new offering. This blog post – which includes an explanation of why we created the certification, how the process works, and what’s on the exam – was by far our most-viewed new resource of 2021. 
  • Fundamentals of Digital XM (Launchpad). Digital channels by their very nature provide organizations with a number of valuable XM opportunities not afforded by other channels. They make it easier to collect visitor feedback, they automatically generate a lot of O-data, and they offer a controlled environment for testing new experiences. Plus, they are now the primary interaction channel for most companies. Little wonder then that our Launchpad detailing how organizations can go about establishing a strong Digital XM program was one of our most-read pieces of content for Q1!
  • Economics of NPS, 2020 (Research Report). Net Promoter Score (NPS) is one of the most popular customer experience metrics out there, but how does it actually correlate to CX performance and key loyalty behaviors? Well, in this Data Snapshot, we explored how NPS relates to CX across 20 different industries. For each industry, we examined how much more likely promoters are to demonstrate three key loyalty behaviors – purchasing more from, trusting, and forgiving a company – compared to detractors or passives. (Spoiler alert: they’re a lot more likely!)
  • Advice for Propelling Your Net Promoter Score Program (Blog Post). NPS was clearly a popular topic this quarter. While the Data Snapshot focused on how the metric relates to profitable loyalty behaviors, this blog post is about how organizations can evolve their NPS program through four stages of maturity, with an increasing emphasis on using the metric to take meaningful action. And this post isn’t all conceptual. It also includes nine tangible recommendations for propelling your NPS program through the four stages, ultimately helping you reap some of those financial benefits we lay out in the Economics of NPS.
  • Five Phases for Creating Powerful Personas (Research Report). The goal of XM – to design and improve people’s experiences – is significantly complicated by the fact that different people have different conceptions of what constitutes a “good” experience. Personas help you understand, document, and share the key characteristics of individuals within your target design audience, enabling you to create experiences that are tailored to their specific needs and preferences. This report explains what personas are, why they are such a valuable XM tool, and how you can develop and deploy personas within your organization. We also published downloadable persona templates you can use throughout this process.


The Unsung Heroes: Isabelle’s Personal Favorite Content of Q1

While these resources may not have reached quite the towering heights of popularity as the top resources (though some are close!), they nevertheless provide some incredibly valuable – and often unique –  insights for organizations looking to build and mature their XM efforts. My personal favorites from the quarter include: 

  • Stop Writing Surveys and Start Designing a Fake Report (Blog Post). I love this blog post from two of Qualtrics’ smartest research experts – Carol Haney and Elizabeth Dean – because it takes a common-sense approach to survey design and turns it completely on its head. Rather than beginning the survey process by identifying which questions you want to ask, you should instead start by writing a fake report. This tactic will help you understand who the key audience is for the insights and what information they need to make better decisions… which in turn helps you determine which questions you need to include in your survey. Genius!
  • Goodbye Static Brands. Introducing Modern Brand Experience Management (Blog Post). In another guest post from one of Qualtrics’ experts, Frank Zinni dives into how organizations can (and should!) modernize their brand experience (BX) management efforts to become more nimble. Come for the penetrating analysis of how BX management will evolve. Stay for all the wonderful F1 analogies.
  • What Candidates Want From A New Job (Data Snippet). Organizations are starting to recognize the importance of job candidate experience, which sits at the intersection of brand, customer, and employee experiences. To help us understand which qualities candidates prefer in a new job, we used conjoint analysis to compare eight different workplace characteristics, everything from compensation to flexibility to brand values. As this data snippet shows, job candidates most value the social aspects of work, especially their immediate manager and team. 
  • Deliver More Value with X- and O-Data: A CX leader’s guide to integrating X- and O-data (By Walker) (Research Report). We frequently trumpet the value CX programs can produce by combining the experience data (X-data) they collect from customers with their operational data (O-data). However, the process of bringing these two types of data together can be complicated and cumbersome. I love this report from our partners at Walker because it provides a clear roadmap organizations can follow to overcome these common integration challenges and begin generating rich, strategic insights that lead to a sustainable CX and competitive advantage for the organization.  
  • About XM Institute (Video). I’ve lost count of the number of times people – everyone from customers to colleagues to my grandmother – have asked what exactly XM Institute does, and I’ve struggled to succinctly summarize our work. That’s one of the reasons this video is one of my personal favorite pieces of content from Q1. It offers a short and sweet overview of the work we do here at XM Institute in a fun, highly shareable format. 


The Heavyweights: All-Time Most Popular Content

Since we launched the website in July 2020, a few pieces of content have remained consistently popular quarter to quarter. These perennial favorites are:

  • Net Promoter Score Collapses During Pandemic (Blog Post). This popular blog post explores how the pandemic affected consumer attitudes towards organizations across 20 different industries. The data – which comes from our U.S. Consumer Studies from May 2019 and May 2020 – shows a universal decline in NPS, ranging from only a single-point drop for TV and Internet Service Providers to a nearly 30-point drop for rental car agencies, credit card issuers, and hotels. Keep an eye out for updated data from our 2021 Consumer Study!
  • Introduction to Experience Management (Launchpad). Experience Management (XM) may be becoming increasingly essential for long-term business success, but it’s still a relatively new discipline. It’s no surprise then that one of our most popular pieces of content is this Launchpad, which covers the basics of what XM is and why organizations should invest in it. In addition to describing the fundamentals of XM, this Launchpad also includes a short opening video, concrete tips for taking action, and a list of key resources you can check out to build your knowledge in this area.
  • The Six XM Competencies (Video). Our most popular – and my personal favorite – video is a short, engaging overview of the six XM Competencies that organizations must build to master the discipline of Experience Management. This video isn’t just great to watch alone over morning coffee or when you need a quick brain break in the middle of the day – it’s also perfect for sharing with colleagues, leaders, or anyone else who needs a quick, consumable primer of what this XM thing is all about.
  • ROI of Customer Experience, 2020 (Research Report).  One of the most frequent questions we get from XM professionals is, “How do I make the business case for Experience Management?” Well, in this report we dig into the ROI of customer experience based on feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers, who rated their experiences with 314 companies across 20 different industries. The research specifically looks at how CX correlates with five profitable loyalty behaviors, including likelihood to recommend, purchase more from, and trust a company. One of the key takeaways from this report is that emotion has the most significant impact on customers’ loyalty to an organization.
  • CX Maturity Assessment (Tool). Unfortunately, organizations don’t become customer-centric overnight. It takes years of systematic focus on making changes across multiple teams, departments, and projects. A good maturity assessment is an incredibly valuable tool to help you track and measure your progress along this journey, which is why it’s no great surprise that our CX Maturity Assessment is one of our most downloaded pieces of content ever. This assessment not only allows you to diagnose which maturity stage your organization currently falls in, it also offers specific recommendations across the Six Competencies on how to advance your CX program to the next level. And if you’re not focused on customer experience, never fear, we also have employee experience (EX), XM, and Digital CX maturity assessments as well. 


The bottom line: We are looking forward to bringing you even more great content in Q2 and beyond!

Isabelle Zdatny, XMP, CCXP, is an XM Catalyst with the Qualtrics XM Institute