The beginning of Q3 feels like a long time ago. Summer was just hitting its stride, ill-fated back-to-office plans were well underway, and most XM Institute team members were gearing up to enjoy some well-earned vacation time. We must have found the holidays particularly invigorating this year as we went on to publish a slew of great content in Q3, much of which focused on proving the business value of Experience Management (XM) efforts. 

These new assets joined our already extensive collection of resources – 600+ and counting. Which is a lot of content! So if you’re short on time but long on thirst for XM knowledge, which ones should you check out first? Well, as I do at the end of every quarter, I’m going to highlight our top 15 pieces of content from Q3. I’ve split the list into three groups: our most popular new resources, my favorite new resources, and our all-time top-performing resources. (P.S. Don’t want to wait til the end of the quarter to hear about all our great content? Sign up to receive daily or weekly emails notifying you whenever we publish new content.)


The Rising Stars: Most Popular Content of Q3

Here are our five most popular pieces of content from Q3 2021:

  • Global Study: ROI of Customer Experience (Research). CX professionals tend to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with ROI. We love it because when we are able to convincingly demonstrate the value of CX to our organization, it allows us to secure the resources and commitment we need to improve customer experiences. But, we also hate it because, let’s be honest, it’s really, really hard work. It’s difficult to capture and communicate the type of evidence that’s going to help us win those investments over other competing organizational priorities. Given this struggle, it’s no surprise that our global study examining the ROI of customer experience for consumers across 18 countries and 17 industries was our most-read resource of Q3. Turns out that better customer experiences lead to more positive customer attitudes, which lead to more profitable customer behaviors. Who’d have thought? 
  • Is NPS a Good Global CX Metric? (Blog Post). Ah, Net Promoter Score… the CX metric that’s as popular as it is polarizing. While I think it’s safe to say that NPS is definitively not the “ultimate question,” is it even a useful metric in today’s increasingly globalized business environment? This blog post explores cultural variations in how consumers from 18 different countries respond to this question and provides some guidance around how to think about using NPS on a global scale. 
  • It’s Time to Fix Five Common Broken Experiences (Blog Post). Most organizations are convinced that the XM challenges they are grappling with are wholly unique to their individual situation. Not so. After working with hundreds of organizations spanning dozens of different industries and countries, we’ve found that often the exact same set of experiences are broken across companies, regions, and even experience areas. This hefty blog post identifies a set of five near-universally broken experiences and offers tips and advice on how to go about improving each one. 
  • Bad Customer Experience Puts $4.7 Trillion in Global Consumer Sales at Risk (Blog Post). One of the struggles CX professionals often face is that the metrics that are important to us – like NPS, CSAT, CES – aren’t inherently meaningful to other people across the organization. Executives and business owners don’t care about customer satisfaction or effort… they care about how improving them will directly lead to tangible business results. This blog post helps translate the value of customer experience into the dollars-and-cents language that leaders actually care about. The upshot? Bad experiences are unbelievably costly to organizations around the globe, and this blog post lays out the math to prove it.
  • Customers’ Preferred Feedback Channels, 2021 (Data Snippet). Customer feedback is the fuel that drives much of an organization’s CX improvement efforts. So knowing how and where customers are submitting that feedback is essential for setting up the right listening posts in the right places. This popular data snippet not only shows which channels customers use to send organizations feedback but how those channels differ following either a very good or very poor experience. For instance, while 41% of consumers sent the company an email after a very poor experience, only 32% emailed after a very good experience.


The Unsung Heroes: Isabelle’s Personal Favorite Content of Q3

While those five resources are great, we also published a number of other assets that, while perhaps not as popular, still provide substantial value to organizations looking to build their XM capabilities. Here are some of my favorites from the quarter:

  • Global Study: What Happens After a Bad Experience (Research). “What Happens After a Bad Experience” has been one of my favorite annual reports since I first started at Temkin Group in 2013. I love that it clearly ties customer experience to financial results, and you’ll see that findings from this study form the foundation of a number of different resources on this list. This year, I love it even more than usual because it’s expanded from a US-only perspective to a global perspective, encompassing data from 18,000 consumers across 18 different countries. In these polarized times, there’s something almost comforting about the fact that regardless of which country people are from, they cut their spending following a poor experience!
  • Effectively Combining CX and EX (by Walker) (Research). We get a lot of questions about how organizations can bring together their customer and employee experience efforts. Which isn’t really surprising given XM Institute research shows that organizations that are above average in both CX and EX enjoy higher revenue growth, profitability, and employee retention. However, just because marrying these two types of experiences is financially valuable doesn’t mean it’s operationally easy. This report from our partner, Walker, provides guidance on how you can start combining customer and employee insights to accelerate business success. 
  • Five Areas for Modernizing Employee Experience Management… Right Now (Blog Post). One of the recurring themes XM Institute keeps returning to and building upon is this concept of what a “modern XM program” looks like. We’ve previously explored how it manifests across different types of experiences, such as brand experience, as well as how it shows up in different elements of an XM program, including cross-functional alignment and X-data systems. This quarter we fleshed out the idea of modern XM as it pertains to Employee Experience Management – a particularly timely entry into the canon given how COVID and societal changes are forcing organizations to reimagine the future of work. This blog post offers five recommendations for building a modern EX program that’s capable of helping your organization navigate these seismic shifts (and beyond). 
  • The State of the XM Profession (Research). Because the discipline of Experience Management is relatively nascent, there’s no single exemplar of who an XM professional is and what their role looks like. That’s why one of my favorite pieces of research from Q3 is our report on the current state of the XM profession at large. What type of background do we come from? Which activities do we focus on? What motivates us? And how do answers to these questions differ between XM professionals who work at more mature organizations and those who work at less mature organizations? Maybe it’s just me, but I find something inherently compelling about seeing how my experiences and perspectives compare to those of my peers across the industry.
  • Financial Consequences of Delivering Bad Customer Experience (by Industry), 2021 (Data Snippet). I think this may be my favorite data snippet we publish. As I’ve mentioned a few times now, there’s something powerful about seeing this type of direct connection between the quality of the experiences organizations deliver and how much money customers spend with them. I also find the mix of what percentage of customers “stopped spending” versus “decreased spending” fascinating to explore across industries. For instance, parcel delivery customers are much more likely to reduce their spending after a bad experience, whereas a high percentage of online retail customers are likely to simply stop doing business with the issuer altogether.


The Heavyweights: All-Time Most Popular Content 

Since we launched the website in July 2020, a few of our more fundamental resources have remained consistently popular. These perennial favorites are:  

  • XM Operating Framework (Launchpad). “Launchpads” are a unique type of resource that are geared towards helping people learn the basics of a fundamental XM topic. Our most popular Launchpad – and overall resource on the website – is a primer on the XM Operating Framework. This framework describes the scaffolding – which is made up of Technology, Culture, and six XM Competencies – that organizations need to build in order to establish and mature their XM programs. Like all Launchpads, this one includes a short opening video, an overview of the topic, tips for taking action, and a list of key resources you can check out to build your knowledge in this area. 
  • Six Laws of XM (Research). This report lays out the six fundamental principles that govern how people and organizations behave. In the same way that you need to understand the laws of physics before you can build a stable bridge, you need to recognize and account for these underlying laws of XM before you can build a sustainable Experience Management program. This report introduces each of these six Laws and provides guidance around how to start putting each one into action. 
  • What is Experience Management? (Video). Want to understand what Experience Management is but don’t want to have to read miles of text? Have we got the video for you! This short, fun video explains the fundamentals of XM and lays out a business case for why it’s important. Watch it yourself and/or share it with colleagues or leaders who still need a quick explanation as to what this XM thing is all about.
  • CX Maturity Assessment (Tool). Becoming customer-centric doesn’t happen overnight – it takes years of systematic focus on making changes across multiple teams, departments, and projects. Our CX Maturity Assessment will help you evaluate the current state of your program and develop plans for reaching your CX goals. No surprise, therefore, that it continues to be one of our most downloaded pieces of content ever. We also have employee experience (EX), XM, and Digital CX maturity assessments available. 
  • Driving Insights with X- and O-Data (Launchpad). If you’re at all connected to the world of Experience Management, you’ve probably heard the terms Experience Data (X-Data) and Operational Data (O-data) at some point. But what do they actually mean? In this popular Launchpad, we demystify these terms and explain how you can bring them together to produce richer, more predictive insights. This Launchpad includes an introductory video (one of my favorites on the site) along with an overview of the topics, tips for using X- and O-data to measure and improve experiences, and a list of related resources you can dig into to learn more.


The bottom line: We are looking forward to bringing you even more great content in Q4 and beyond!

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