To call the first quarter of 2023 a “whirlwind” for XM Institute might be an understatement. Over the last three months, we launched a brand new premier professional development training program, XM Masters, where participants will work directly with XM Institute faculty to learn and apply strategic toolkits and professional practices to their XM efforts. Our small team also delivered a combined 27 sessions at Qualtrics’ X4 conference in Salt Lake City. And through all this, we somehow managed to find the time to publish 18 new pieces of content on the website. 

These new assets join the almost 750 additional resources housed in our XM Library. To help you navigate through all this content, I am here – as I am every quarter – to spotlight some of the most notable resources from the last quarter. The list is split into three groups: our most popular new resources, my favorite new resources, and our all-time top-performing resources. I’ve also included a bonus section at the bottom to showcase some of the data factoids we found most striking in Q1. If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all XM Institute’s insights, you can always sign up for daily or weekly email alerts letting you know when we publish new content.


The Rising Stars: Most Popular Content of Q1

Here are our five most popular pieces of content from Q1 2023: 

  • Global Study: State of the Contact Center Experience (Research). Our most popular piece of content from the first quarter of 2023 was a research report exploring the results of our global study on the current state of customer experience in the contact center. We asked consumers from 29 countries to assess several dimensions of their recent contact center interactions, including their overall satisfaction with the experience, their satisfaction with the wait time, and their satisfaction with the agent’s knowledge, empathy, and helpfulness. These respondents then rated their likelihood of demonstrating three key loyalty behaviors – recommending, trusting, and purchasing more from the company – based on that recent contact center experience. This report highlights a number of noteworthy findings, like that contact centers resolve less than half of consumers’ issues! 
  • Introducing XM Masters Professional Development Training (Blog). Despite being published with only a few days left in the quarter, our blog post announcing the launch of our brand new professional development training – XM Masters – rocketed to the top of our most popular content list. Which is no surprise, given how exciting this new offering is. Unlike our other training offerings, XM Masters is a unique combination of both in-person and virtual learning with XM Institute faculty and is designed for all XM professionals, including both customer experience and employee experience practitioners. Our initial classes will be based out of Sydney (Australia), Dublin (Ireland), and Seattle (US) and kick off in the middle of June. To find out more about enrollment, qualifications, curriculum, and policies, check out the XM Masters Student Handbook
  • XMI Customer Ratings – Overall, 2022 (by Industry) (Data Snippet). This popular data snippet shows the average customer experience rating for 23 different industries. As part of our annual U.S. consumer benchmark study, we asked respondents to evaluate organizations across the three components of customer experience (success, effort, and emotion). To calculate the XMI Customer Rating – Overall for each of the 388 organizations included in the study, we averaged its scores across those three components. We then averaged each of those individual company scores together to produce an industry average. We found that the fast food industry received the highest average XMI Customer Rating (67%), closely followed by streaming media (66%), grocery (66%), and retail (65%).  At the other end of the spectrum, federal agencies received the lowest scores, with an industry average of just 42%.
  • Realizing Value From Your XM Efforts (Video). To secure the organizational resources and attention necessary for long-term success, XM programs need to continuously calculate and communicate the strategic and financial value they create. In fact, realizing value from your XM efforts is so critical, one of the six XM Competencies organizations must build to master the discipline of experience management is “Realize,” which is about identifying and tracking the right metrics to ensure XM efforts achieve well-defined business objectives. Like all XM Competencies, Realize is made up of an underlying set of Skills – Value Planning, Value Delivery, and Metrics Management. This short, engaging video provides an overview of this Competency and recommendations for building your capabilities across these three Skills. 
  • 2.5 Billion Employees Aren’t Trying Their Hardest (Blog). While the Realize video above lays out a high-level framework you can adopt to demonstrate the value of your Experience Management efforts, this popular blog post gets very specific about the ROI of employee Experience Management. When we looked at the results of our recent global consumer study – which included more than 22,000 employees – we found that poor employee experiences result in low productivity and high turnover. Sixty-two percent of global employees said they would work harder if their employer treated them better, and 63% said their employer needs to do a better job of listening to their feedback. This last activity is critical for an organization’s bottom line, as 49% of employees who agree that their employer needs to do a better job of listening to them were likely to look for a new job over the next six months, compared with 24% for those who did not agree.

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

Here are five of my favorite pieces of content we published in Q1: 

  • How to Create a Closed-Loop Program (How-to Guide). Calling this How-to Guide “unsung” isn’t quite fair as it was published mere hours before the close of the quarter, and it has since become one of our most-visited resources on the site. This comes at no surprise given we created this resource to provide guidance on one of the topics we get asked about most frequently – namely, how do you build an effective closed-loop program from scratch? To answer this question, we broke the process down into five recommended steps, each of which includes a goal, an overview of what should be happening in that phase, a set of suggested activities, tips and tricks for putting it into practice, and additional resources to support you along this journey. 
  • Four Principles for Action-Centric Dashboard Design (Blog). CX dashboards are an essential tool for driving customer-centric decisions and behaviors across an organization. However, many companies today assemble their dashboards in what might generously be described as a “haphazard” manner, making it difficult for end users to understand and act on the information presented. In this post, we introduce a new approach called Action-Centric Dashboard Design (ACDD), which refers to “the process of creating dashboards that are purpose-built to facilitate end users’ decisions and workflows” and is made up of four principles: tailor to user goals, make it simple, organize for insights, and optimize visual design. This post is densely packed with specific guidance on putting each of these principles into practice, and it closes with some recommendations on how to prepare employees to effectively use your dashboards. 
  • Experience Management Trends, 2023 (Research). The world may be slowly tiptoeing into a new normal as the pandemic recedes, but the business landscape remains in a state of upheaval and uncertainty. To understand the current state of Experience Management in this tumultuous environment, we surveyed XM professionals about their plans for 2023 and beyond. There are too many interesting results in here to highlight them all, but a few of my favorites include the finding that a plurality of organizations (36%) have now advanced into the third stage of XM maturity, Mobilize, and that nearly three-fourths of respondents believe it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ for their organization to increase its empathy levels. I was also struck by the fact that while customer journey analytics was the most popular type of analytics we asked about – with half of respondents classifying it as an ‘essential’ or ‘high priority’ focus area – employee journey analytics was the least popular type, with only 24% describing it as a top priority focus area. 
  • Embracing Emotions Across Your Organization (Video). If you’ve followed XM Institute for any length of time, you’ll know that emotions – and their effect on people’s perceptions and behaviors – are one of our absolute favorite XM topics. That’s because, despite the fact that emotions are fundamental to human decision-making – and are consequently a key driver of loyalty – organizations tend to ignore them completely. To help remedy that, in this short video, we break down three ways you can embrace emotions across your company. First, by establishing a common language to build your emotional vocabulary. Second, by using tools like conversational analytics to detect and analyze emotions. And finally by explicitly designing for specific emotions at key points along people’s journeys. 
  • Global Study: HR Executives and XM (Research). This hefty research report dives deep (34 figures deep!) into the employee Experience Management activities of HR/People Operations teams at large organizations across 9 countries. It covers a broad range of topics, encompassing everything from how HR’s role has evolved post-COVID, to their 2023 areas of focus, to which EX metrics they track. For example, we found that ‘lack of clear strategy’ is considered the top obstacle to EX success and that ‘data privacy’ and ‘data quality’ are the top concerns for disparate employee data storage. We also found that many HR/People Operations teams see high perceived value in connecting EX and CX, with 81% saying that it would be ‘valuable’ or ‘extremely valuable’ for their organization to better understand the elements of employee experience that have the strongest impact on customer experience.

The Heavyweights: All-Time Most Popular Content

Since launching the website in the middle of 2020, a few of our resources – especially our more fundamental resources – have remained consistently popular quarter-to-quarter. Here are the five most-read assets we’ve ever published:

  • How to Build a CX Program Roadmap (How-to Guides). The newest entrant into our Heavyweights category, this How-to Guide has remained consistently popular since it was published last summer. To build this incredibly detailed resource, we first interviewed a variety of CX experts and then distilled their advice down into six straightforward steps. We then deconstructed each step into a set of executable activities, many of which include supporting worksheets, templates, and resources designed to help you carry out each activity within your organization. Each step also includes an overview, a main objective, and practical tips. Take what helps you. Adjust what doesn’t. And in the end, leave with a roadmap that visualizes the path you’re going to take over the next few years to reach your ultimate CX vision.
  • Expert Answers. This “Experience Management” thing, including customer and employee experience, is still a relatively new discipline. And while forging a new field is exciting, it also means that many of us are struggling with questions that don’t yet have universally recognized answers. To start providing answers, XM Institute faculty and experts across Qualtrics partnered to create this FAQs page, which tackles some of the most common questions we hear from XM professionals. 
  • XM Operating Framework (Launchpad). “Launchpads” are a unique type of resource geared toward helping people learn the basics of a fundamental XM topic. Our most popular Launchpad is a primer on the XM Operating Framework. This framework describes the scaffolding organizations need to construct to grow and mature their XM programs, which includes Technology, Competency, and Culture. Like all Launchpads, this one includes a short opening video (which is incredibly popular in its own right!), 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. 
  • 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. We also have employee experience (EX), XM, and Digital CX maturity assessments available. 
  • 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 or share it with colleagues or leaders who still need a quick explanation as to what this XM thing is all about. And if this teaser just whets your appetite and you would like to learn more, you can always check out our Introduction to Experience Management Launchpad. 

Interesting Data Tidbits from Q1

Last quarter, we published an especially high number of data-centric resources – 11 in all. Here are five data findings we found particularly interesting in Q1:

  1. Almost one-third of global workers intend to leave their company in the near future, with only 64% of employees indicating they expect to stay with their organization for at least three years. (Global Study: Employee Experience Trends, 2022 across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, 2022, and Asia-Pacific)
  2. We asked consumers from 29 countries about their quality of life across three dimensions – happiness, healthiness, and financial security – and found that, for the second year in a row, India has the highest average Well-Being Index score (82%), while South Korea and Japan remain at the bottom, with scores of 41% and 43%, respectively. (Global Well-Being Declines from 2021)
  3. When we asked XM professionals how much of a priority they expect certain XM elements to be over the next two years, we found that 59% classify customized dashboards and reports as an ‘essential’ or ‘high’ priority, while 46% said the same about automated workflows and 35% said the same about using experience data to drive personalization. (Experience Management Trends, 2023)
  4. Only 38% of XM professionals feel that their organization’s leadership team ‘strongly appreciates’ their value, while 25% feel either just ‘slightly appreciated’ or ‘not appreciated at all.’ (State of the XM Profession, 2023)
  5. On average, 63% of global employees agree with the statement, “My primary employer needs to do a better job of listening to my feedback,” which ranges from a high of more than 80% in China and India, down to a low of 39% in Japan. (2.5 Billion Employees Aren’t Trying Their Hardest)


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