Happy new year! 2022 was a banner year for us here at XM Institute. While we did publish 83 new resources – no easy feat! – what made the past year so successful for us wasn’t the quantity of content we published, it was the quality of what we created. To provide even more useful advice for XM professionals, we developed several brand-new types of content in 2022:
- How-to Guides offer clear, step-by-step instructions on how to carry out a specific Experience Management activity.
- Deep Dives explore one organization’s standout XM practice in considerable detail so you can adopt elements of it within your own program.
- XM Discussions are video interviews with an XM leader about how they are using Experience Management to drive value for their organization.
These practical new resources joined the wide variety of other content we published this year in our XM Library, which now contains more than 700 individual assets. I know that’s a lot of content to explore. So to help you decide where to start, I’m here – as I am every year – to highlight our top content of 2022, which we’ve split into three categories: 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 showcasing some of our most interesting data tidbits of the year. (P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly XM Journal to keep up to date on all of XM Institute’s content and activities.)
The Rising Stars: Most Popular Content of 2022
Given the volume of content we published this year, competition for the top spots was fierce, but the seven most popular assets we published in 2022 were:
- How to Build a CX Program Roadmap (How-to Guide). In perhaps the ultimate validation of our decision to focus on practical content in 2022, the most-read resource of the year – and it wasn’t even that close – was our How-to Guide outlining how to build a customer experience program roadmap. A program roadmap is an essential tool that allows a customer experience team to translate its program vision and strategy into a set of discrete, executable activities… all while building stakeholder alignment and buy-in. In this How-to Guide, we break down the (often opaque) process of building a CX roadmap into six straightforward steps. Within each step, we recommend a set of activities, provide tips and tricks, and include supporting worksheets, templates, and resources to help you complete it successfully. By the end of this process, you should be left with a roadmap that visualizes the path you’re going to take over the next few years to reach your ultimate CX ambitions – plus some organizational allies to help you along this journey! And for those of you who are more focused on the employee side of XM, we have a guide on How to Build an EX Program Roadmap as well.
- Introducing XM Fundamentals (XMF) Certification, A Valuable Credential For Everyone (Blog). Another major highlight for XM Institute in 2022 was the launch of our new XM Fundamentals (XMF) Certification. This training-based certification is designed to teach and certify mastery in the foundational principles of Experience Management and covers how to build and mature an XM, CX, and EX program. Unlike our XM Professional Certification, this XMF Certification is open to everyone. That includes core XM team members looking to build their knowledge and skills. That includes XM advocates – like champions or ambassadors – who may benefit from a grounding in the fundamentals. That includes newly hired employees who need to understand and deliver on your organization’s XM vision. Really – it’s for everyone!
- Six Analytical Pathways That Link Employee and Customer Experience (Blog). One of the omnipresent themes in the world of XM in 2022 was CX + EX. While many of us working in Experience Management intuitively grasp the intrinsic link between customer and employee experiences – which XM Institute calls the “virtuous cycle” – operationalizing this insight often requires you to empirically relate specific employee experiences with specific customer results. Only then will you know which exact levers to pull to achieve your desired outcomes. In this popular post, we use real data from multiple organizations, including a B2B telco, restaurant chain, and automotive chain, to investigate six potential analytical pathways you can follow to combine your CX and EX data. We also share advice from the XM professionals who conducted these different analyses on how best to extract and deliver these CX and EX insights.
- The State of Customer Experience Management, 2022 (Research Report). Of the 17 (yes, 17!) data reports we published over the last year, none was as popular as The State of Customer Experience Management, 2022. A perennial favorite since it was first published by Temkin Group back in 2011, this report stands out for its wide range of interesting insights into the current CX landscape. For example, given the increasing importance of digital CX, one finding that snagged my attention this year is that while CX leaders and CX laggards are equally as likely to deliver positive in-store experiences, CX leaders are 3.1x more likely to deliver positive website experiences compared to their less mature peers. While this report covers all types of CX programs, if you’re looking for a B2B-specific breakdown of this data, check out our recent blog post, Accelerate B2B CX Programs with Robust Governance, Listening Portfolios, and Engaged Employees.
- The Three Core Functions of a CX Center of Excellence (Blog). Another one of the interesting insights from the State of CX Management, 2022 report was that a plurality of CX programs have now advanced into the second stage of CX maturity, Initiate. One of the hallmarks of a program in the Initiate stage is a concerted focus on governance – on establishing the underlying organizational structures necessary for driving cross-functional CX alignment. It makes sense, then, that one of our most popular pieces of content for the year explored how to build out one of these essential underlying structures: a CX Center of Excellence (CoE). This post defines what a CX CoE is, outlines common CoE responsibilities, and then dives deep into the three specialized functions we see in many of the more effective CoEs: Analytics and Insights, Experience Design, and Change Management.
- What is Journey Mapping? (Video). Despite their immense popularity – or perhaps because of it – we tend to get a steady flow of questions about journey maps. What are they and how should XM programs go about using these tools to drive experience improvements? Well, this video answers those questions in a pithy (and visually compelling) way. Which makes it a handy resource for not just growing your own knowledge, but also for educating any stakeholders who may need a quick primer on the topic. For instance, you can use this video to set the scene for participants prior to a journey mapping workshop, either sending it to them ahead of time as part of their pre-work or playing it as part of your introduction at the beginning of the session.
- XM Deep Dive: Deloitte Digital Uses a Dream Team to Elevate Talent Experience (Research Report). As mentioned in the introduction, one of the highlights of 2022 was the creation of a new type of research report – XM Deep Dives. As you may have guessed from the name, these resources take a detailed look at a particularly noteworthy XM practice or project that a single XM team is standing up within their organization. This specific Deep Dive explores how Deloitte Digital uses a ‘Dream Team’ to take direct action on the open-ended comments employees leave in their pulse survey. These actions include everything from mailing a new parent a book on baby sleeping patterns to connecting employees with personalized career development opportunities to fundamentally changing how leaders present themselves internally. My favorite thing about this feel-good Deep Dive is that it encapsulates how XM can help an organization meaningfully improve the lives of the people who interact with it.
The Unsung Heroes: Isabelle’s Personal Favorite Content of 2022
Narrowing down my “favorite” pieces of content from 2022 was a long and agonizing process. But, after much consideration, here are the seven resources we published over the last year that I think are particularly useful and powerful:
- XM Deep Dive: ServiceNow Uses Action Workflows to Build an “Insights to Action” Culture (Research Report). One of the topics people ask us about most frequently is how to build an effective closed-loop system, one that enables an organization to respond to feedback promptly and productively. For this Deep Dive, we spoke to senior members of the CX team at ServiceNow about how they operationalized an “Insights to Action” culture inside the company by developing a system of “action workflows,” which are an expansive network of listening programs, automated ticketing processes, and supporting activities. Together, these action workflows enable ServiceNow to absorb and respond to a constant stream of customer and partner insights at scale, improving their experiences and driving substantial business value for the company. This Deep Dive provides a step-by-step breakdown of how exactly ServiceNow built out these action workflows (in only three years!). For even more information, you can also watch our live conversation with the Vice President of CX at ServiceNow, Matt Lombardi.
- XM Leaders’ Stock Outperformed Through Uncertainty (Data Snippet). In addition to all the resources laying out the what and the how of Experience Management, we also publish a variety of content dedicated to the why. Why should an organization invest in growing its XM capabilities? We answer this question in any number of different ways and formats, but this one is my favorite of 2022. For this Data Snippet, we tracked the recent stock performance of the 20 publicly traded companies with the highest CX ratings (XM Leaders) and the 20 publicly traded companies with the lowest CX ratings (XM Laggards) according to our XM Institute Ratings Study. We examined each group’s stock price during COVID (2019 – 2021), and after normalizing prices against industry averages, we found that XM Leaders outperformed XM Laggards over this time. Really outperformed. In 2019, the gap between Leaders and Laggards was 24 percentage points, but by 2021, that gap had expanded to a staggering 66 percentage points. Here at XM Institute, we often talk about how stronger XM capabilities lead to organizational agility, allowing businesses to navigate through uncertain environments with more precision and confidence, and this Data Snippet backs up that claim with hard data.
- Worksheet: Stakeholder Mapping (Tool). A single XM professional – or even an entire XM team – cannot change an organization’s customer or employee experience alone, no matter how skillful and tireless they are. You need allies. You need to rally internal stakeholders around your XM vision and then equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to bring that vision to life within their roles. Which is much easier said than done. Stakeholder mapping will help you build the support and buy-in you need to drive your XM program forward by first guiding you through the process of categorizing your key stakeholders across four segments (Bystander, Challenger, Supporter, and Champion) and then helping you create a tailored engagement plan aimed at mobilizing each of those groups around your XM efforts.
- Transforming Contact Centers With Conversational Analytics (Multimedia). Conversational analytics is paradigm-shifting technology that organizations are starting to deploy within their contact centers. Which sounds exciting, no doubt, but also pretty complicated and intimidating, right? Well, never fear. XM Institute created this short, engaging video to explain what conversational analytics is and how companies are using it to identify the topics and sentiments of every interaction in their contact center, transforming how they operate and learn from these conversations. This video isn’t just great for helping you wrap your mind around this new technology, it’s valuable for introducing others to the concept of conversational analytics as well. And if you’d like to dig even deeper into this topic, we also have a detailed explainer on how conversational analytics is leading to the rise of the “Adaptive Contact Center.”
- XM Discussions: Leading through Uncertainty (Multimedia). In addition to How-to Guides and Deep Dives, this year XM Institute also created a new multimedia resource called “XM Discussions,” where we interview a leading XM practitioner to understand how they are using Experience Management to create value for their organization. In this first XM Discussions video, we talk to Luis Angel-Lalanne – the Vice President of Customer Voice at American Express – about how the company used Experience Management to quickly understand and respond to customer feedback during the early stages of the pandemic. Luis describes a number of key XM strategies his team deployed, such as using unstructured customer commentary to surface opportunities for potential new offerings that could better address customers’ changing needs. Luis also shares his advice for other XM professionals on the best ways to use XM to help navigate through a tumultuous environment.
- U.S. Consumer Journeys Needing Improvement Across 22 Industries (Research Report). Organizations are increasingly – if belatedly – coming to the realization that journeys should be the central organizing principle of their customer experience programs. A journey-centric perspective not only better reflects how customers actually perceive their experiences with an organization, but it also allows you to connect insights across silos, optimize and improve moments of truth, and prioritize investments and initiatives across the business. But of all the potential journeys customers take with your organization, which one(s) should you prioritize? While the answer will be different for every organization, this study will hopefully provide you with useful data about where to start. Here we investigate the current state of common customer journeys across 22 different industries. Which ones are the most broken in each industry? And which ones have the biggest effect on customers’ likelihood to recommend your organization? (Spoiler: it’s usually the customer service journey!)
- Create More Actionable Insights With Employee Journey Analytics (Blog). A journey-centric perspective is not only important in customer experience, it is a vital lens for employee experience management as well. One of my favorite blog posts of the year details how organizations should evolve from looking at EX data in isolation to embracing employee journey analytics, which will open up new and powerful ways to explore data and provide actionable intelligence. To guide you through this transition, this post lays out the five steps an organization should follow to tap into employee journey analytics, along with a set of suggested activities within each step. The post closes with five recommendations for ensuring this shift from isolated EX data to employee journey analytics is ultimately successful within your organization.
The Heavyweights: All-Time Most Popular Content
Since we launched our website in the middle of 2020, a few resources have remained consistently popular quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year:
- Expert Answers. Experience Management 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. It is no surprise, therefore, that our Expert Answers resource, an FAQs page where XM Institute faculty and experts from around Qualtrics tackle some of the most common questions we hear from XM professionals, quickly rose up the ranks of content to become one of our most popular assets ever. Find answers to questions on topics ranging from how to measure the ROI of CX to how many questions you should include on an employee pulse survey to how to convince your executives to become more involved in your XM efforts.
- XM Operating Framework (Launchpad). “Launchpads” are a unique type of resource geared towards helping people learn the basics of a fundamental XM topic. Our most popular Launchpad is a primer on the XM Operating Framework, the blueprint organizations should follow to master the discipline of Experience Management. 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. This formula is so popular, in fact, that three other Launchpads also make our top 10 all-time list: Driving Insights with X- and O-Data, Maturing Your XM Program, and Fundamentals of Customer Experience.
- What is Experience Management? (Multimedia). Interested in learning what Experience Management is but not interested in reading lots of text? You’re not alone. This short, fun video – which introduces the fundamentals of XM and lays out a business case for why it’s important – remains one of the most visited assets on the site. Watch it yourself or share it with any colleagues or leaders who still need a quick explanation of what Experience Management 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.
- 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… not to mention a Launchpad entirely dedicated to Maturing Your XM Program and a blog post sharing tips on how to use our maturity assessment. We are really committed to helping you mature your program!
- XM Professional (XMP) Certification Handbook (Tool). One of the most reliably popular resources on the site is the handbook we created to accompany our XM Professional (XMP) Certification – the premier credential recognizing an individual’s professional experience and expertise in the discipline of Experience Management. This tool includes everything you need to know to prepare to earn your certification, including the exam blueprint, the application process, and sample questions you can use to test your knowledge. Wondering whether you should become certified? Check out this blog post spotlighting some amazing XMPs from around the world who explain why they decided to earn this credential.
- Best Practices For Designing Survey Questions (Research Report). This research report has been a proverbial tortoise in the race to the top of our content charts, methodically climbing the ranks over the course of several years. Given its subject matter – advice for writing surveys that are both informative for the business and engaging for respondents – its staying power shouldn’t be all that surprising. This report lays out 16 best practices for crafting survey questions, which we derived from a series of interviews with survey methodology experts across Qualtrics. These practices span three categories (question wording, response options, and question selections) and include lots of examples to help you apply them to your specific XM program.
- The Five Essential Elements of CX Program Governance (Blog). Another sleeper hit is this blog post breaking down the five elements of a strong CX governance model: a CX Core Team, Executive Sponsor, Steering Committee, Working Group, and CX Ambassadors. A theme we frequently return to – even within this very post – is that customer experience transformation requires consistent, enterprise-wide dedication to making improvements over multiple years and across multiple teams. To coordinate and catalyze all these different efforts, organizations need to create CX teams and governance structures that provide the appropriate decision-making, alignment, accountability, and conflict resolution. This post not only explains what these five elements are and why they’re important, but it also shares three tips you can follow to maximize the impact of each one. When done well, a governance model like this will help you ignite initial CX momentum and overcome the inevitable inertia that comes with any large-scale change effort.
Interesting Data Tidbits from 2022
This year, we published a number of research studies and data snippets, each full of interesting XM data points. Here are seven of the XM factoids I found most notable this year:
- Globally, $3.1 trillion of sales are at risk from bad experiences every year, including $1 trillion where consumers completely stop spending with a company after a single very poor experience. (Bad Customer Experience Puts $3.1 Trillion in Global Consumer Sales at Risk)
- Between 2021 to 2022, average NPS ratings declined across all industries (except consumer payments) by an average of 4 points, with investment firms (-8.4) and utilities (-7.9) seeing the sharpest drops. (2022 U.S. Net Promoter Score Drops from 2021 Recovery)
- On average, across 24 countries, 61% of employees say that their primary employer needs to do a better job of listening to their feedback, with the highest percentages in India (85%), Indonesia (79%), and Vietnam (79%). (Employees Around the World Want to Be Listened to and Treated Better)
- Compared to their peers with mediocre or subpar XM, executives who classify their XM capabilities as ‘significantly above average’ are 2.4x more likely to report higher revenue growth, 2.4x more likely to report higher employee retention, and 2.1x more likely to report higher profitability. (XM Leaders Enjoy Stronger Business Performance, 2022)
- Moving a customer from ‘extremely dissatisfied’ to ‘extremely satisfied’ results in a 37% increase in their digital spend potential; meanwhile, decreasing their effort levels from ‘extremely difficult’ to ‘extremely easy’ results in a 23% increase. (Measuring the Impact of Digital Experiences)
- Caucasian men give the highest employee experience ratings (76%), followed by caucasian females (70%), non-caucasian males (69%), and non-caucasian females (68%). (Examining Gender And Race Gaps Across Employee Experience And New Job Preferences)
- Of the three elements of an experience – success, effort, and emotion – emotion has the biggest impact on consumer loyalty behaviors, with consumers who give high emotion ratings saying they are 10x more likely to recommend a company and 4.7x more likely to purchase more from a company compared to those who give low ratings. (How Success, Effort, and Emotion Affect Loyalty)
Hopefully, this list introduced you to valuable resources and ideas that you can use to shape and improve your XM program in the coming year. To stay up to date with all our latest content, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter, the XM Journal.
The bottom line: We are looking forward to bringing you even more great content in 2023 and beyond!
Isabelle Zdatny, XMP, CCXP, is an XM Catalyst with the Qualtrics XM Institute