Although many companies are still struggling to define and measure customer experience (CX), those that spread responsibility for CX across the organization, as well as concentrate on measuring long-term strategies, see a significant jump in sales and revenue, new research reveals.

According to CX Landscape: State of the Industry Report, conducted by Loyalty360, corporate leaders generally realize the importance of customer engagement and CX strategies. But many are unsure how to define customer experience, and because of this, are confused about how to manage it and measure success.

Successful companies "define CX in exhaustive, yet clear measures, use almost twice as many metrics to track CX effectiveness than the rest of the market, and employ short- and long-term metrics to gauge the effectiveness of CX — including complex metrics like ROI and profitability. And perhaps paramount: They include the customer as part of the brand’s reason for being,” Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty 360, noted in the report.

Defining CX

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Almost 1 in 5 survey participants said CX is still being defined in their organization, or that the definition isn’t clear. According to the study, the definition of CX varies widely, with some companies defining it as a single interaction or touchpoint (15 percent), while others view it as many interactions (58 percent) spanning the time a customer first visits a website to the time a purchase is made.

“Customer experience is not limited to one or a few stages of the customer journey, but encompasses all stages,” states the report. “It isn’t limited to the store front or a call to customer service, but happens anywhere the customer is exposed to your brand; digital channels, in-store, word-of-mouth, social media, customer service and more. It occurs anywhere and anytime.”

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Nearly 70 percent of companies most effective at customer experience — defined in the study as Loyalty360 CX Award winners — spread responsibility for customer experience across the organization, in comparison with just over 50 percent of other respondents.

“These companies tell us that that the customer is truly at the center of the corporate culture and company ethos,” notes the report. “Naturally, pleasing the customer, and building relationships with them that lead to loyalty, is engrained in the goals for every part of the organization.”

The Measurement Challenge

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When asked which question they’d like most answered from their biggest competitor, many respondents wanted to know how their competitors measure the success of their customer experience efforts, and which metrics are used.

“The confusion and complexity of customer experience is causing many to wonder what they should be measuring,” reveals the report.

“These organizations appear to be working toward a goal, but are unsure of how to accurately and honestly measure effectiveness.”

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The study further notes that those organizations with the most successful customer experience strategies use more metrics than the rest of the market (9.5 compared to 5.5 on average), and focus on long-term ROI metrics such as profitability, ROI and Net Promoter Score.

More than 40 percent of the most effective brands that reported spreading responsibility for customer experience across the organization, as well as focused on long-term metrics were shown to have experienced a significant increase in revenue due to their customer experience efforts.

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“Brands that are setting themselves apart from the competition are tackling the difficult tasks – and seeing payoff as a result,” states the report.

“For customer experience, winning brands have a taken a very complex concept and simplified it without diminishing the return. These companies are vested in the outcomes and therefore, see enhanced success.”

The CX Landscape report, sponsored by Responsetek and Ansira, includes responses from more than 250 brands across various industries surveyed online.