By Stephanie Ventura

Customer experience is more important than ever in 2020. But what makes some organizations more effective than others at managing customer journeys, measuring outcomes and improving experiences?

Pointillist surveyed over 1,050 CX, analytics, customer care and marketing professionals from a variety of industries across the world to discover what separates leaders from laggards. In this post, we’ll explore key findings and insights from our 2020 State of Customer Journey Management and CX Measurement Report, including:

  • Primary journey management and CX measurement challenges
  • Effective strategies and approaches to measure and improve CX
  • Top investment priorities
  • Important KPIs and metrics
  • Key capabilities and characteristics that separate top performers from their peers
state of customer journey management report cta

Breakdown of CX Performance Levels

To understand the factors that separate top performing teams from their peers, we categorized respondents into three segments based upon overall satisfaction with their organization’s CX performance and outcomes of their investments.

Breakdown of CX performance levels based on satisfaction with CX performance and investments

Adoption of a Journey-based Approach is Critical for CX Success

High-performing organizations rely on a journey-based approach to effectively manage and measure CX and maximize business results. In fact, over 95% of organizations have adopted a journey-based approach to CX and eight-in-ten respondents say a journey-based strategy is critical to the overall success of their business.

A journey management approach to customer experience is linked to business success
Percentage of respondents that agree a journey-based approach has a strong impact on CX

As organizations align their teams around the customer, developing journey-based roles are growing in importance. Over 50% of companies also have a role or team dedicated to customer journey management or journey analytics.

As customer demands and goals are evolving rapidly, customer-centric leaders are prioritizing investments in customer analytics and insights to meet their expectations and succeed in a highly competitive environment.

1. Top Performing Organizations Succeed with a Data-Driven, Journey-based Approach to Measure and Improve CX

Successful CX programs require aligning everyone in your organization with your customers’ goals. Ultimately, delivering the experiences your customers demand comes down to monitoring and measuring your customer’s journeys, so you can identify the best opportunities for improvement.

Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Experience Investigators by 360Connext

High Performers are Aligned on a Journey-based Approach to CX

The majority of organizations have adopted a journey-based approach. High-performing teams are more likely to use this approach than underperforming teams, as 92% believe it is very or extremely important to their overall success.

Additionally, many companies are now structuring their organization around customer journeys. The majority of high performers (70%) have a role or team dedicated to journey management, compared to 31% of underperformers.

A journey-based approach is critical to success and high-performing organizations have a role or team dedicated to journey management

Customer-centric enterprises are realizing the value of approaching CX from a journey-based perspective. Industry-leading organizations are now dedicating roles—or even entire teams—to journey management and analytics.

Kerry Bodine

Kerry Bodine
Bodine & Co.
Co-author of Outside In

High Performers Use a Journey-based Approach More Consistently to Improve CX and Business Outcomes

To achieve your goal, you need to first enable your customers to achieve their own. Customer journeys should be defined by the goal the customer is trying to achieve, so you can shift the focus to how the customer’s life was helped (or hindered) by the experience you delivered.

Jeanne Bliss

Jeanne Bliss, CCXP
Founder and CEO
Customer Bliss

Leading organizations are leveraging a journey-based approach in a wide variety of ways to better acquire, serve and retain customers. However, high performers adopt a journey management approach to measure and improve CX and business results more broadly than underperformers.

On average, high-performing teams apply this approach to 6.4 different areas of CX, compared to underperformers who apply this approach 4.6 different ways. Over half of all top performers use a journey-based approach to:

  • Identify & prioritize opportunities to improve CX
  • Understand customer goals, needs & preferences
  • Improve product or service design & delivery
  • Personalize cross-channel engagement
  • Identify the root cause of CX issues
  • Deliver relevant communications at the right time through the preferred channel
CX teams use a journey management approach to improve CX and achieve business outcomes

High Performers are More Likely to Effectively Integrate Data, Analyze Behavior and Engage Customers Across Channels

Effectively integrating, analyzing and acting on journey data is the foundation of a successful customer journey management program. Leveraging a journey-based approach enables high performers to become more effective in three major areas of CX: data integration, journey analysis and customer journey orchestration.

High performers are 7 to 8 times more likely to be effective at integrating data into a single view of the customer, analyzing customer interactions across channels and engaging customers with personalized cross-channel experiences.

High-performing CX teams are more effective at 3 pillars of journey management: integrating data, analyzing cross-channel interactions and orchestrating personalized actions

High Performers are More Effective at Managing and Actioning Cross-channel Journey Data

On average, underperformers struggle with siloed data more consistently than high performers. In fact, underperformers are 3.6 times more likely than high performers to lack access to cross-channel journey data. Data is inaccessible or siloed by business function, which impedes their ability to build a unified customer view.

High performers are more likely to have access to journey data and use it to drive CX programs and initiatives. Nearly one-in-three high-performing CX organizations say their cross-channel customer data is accessible, integrated into a unified view of the customer and an integral driver of CX programs and initiatives, while only about 3% of underperformers can say the same. They are also 7 times likely than underperformers to be very or extremely satisfied with their ability to rapidly generate insights they can act on.

High performers are 9.5 times more likely to have accessible journey data and use it to drive CX initiatives
High-performing organizations are 9.5X more likely to be effective at managing and actioning cross-channel journey-data than under performers. #CJXM20 #journeymgmt Click To Tweet

High Performers are More Effective at Connecting Customer Behavior Data Across Channels

Almost half (49.7%) of underperformers cannot access data or say that it is siloed within channels. 

Top performers are much more likely to connect behavioral data across three or more channels. Effective data integration supports their ability to rapidly analyze journey data, generate insights and orchestrate actions to improve customer experiences. In fact, high performers are 9.7 times more likely than underperformers to be able to connect customer data in each channel with three or more other channels.

Percentage of respondents who track and connect customer behavior across channels

2. An Inability to Quantify ROI is Still the Top CX Challenge and is a Barrier to Additional Investment

Quantifying the ROI of customer experience is the toughest challenge for CX leaders, but it’s arguably the most important to help brands connect experience to financial results. Not just correlating scores to anticipated revenue but direct cost, revenue and profitability impact. The key is to integrate journey data and make it accessible to the entire organization so each team can assess cross-channel journey performance and determine their impact on business outcomes.

Diane Magers

Diane Magers, CCXP
Founder and CEO
Experience Catalysts

For the second consecutive year, quantifying the ROI of customer experience initiatives is the top CX challenge.

Organizations across industries struggle to connect customer behavior and journeys to business-critical KPIs, such as revenue, churn, cost to serve and more. Only 21% of respondents are very or extremely satisfied with their ability to quantify the impact of CX on business metrics.

Quantifying the ROI of customer experience is the top challenge for the second consecutive year

Those who struggle to quantify ROI are much less satisfied with their performance and the outcomes of CX investments. Only 25% of organizations are very or extremely satisfied with their overall CX performance and outcome of CX investments.

49% of enterprise CX leaders are not satisfied with their organization’s ability to quantify the impact of CX on hard business metrics. #CJXM20 #cxmeasurement Click To Tweet

An Inability to Quantify ROI of CX Initiatives Results in Limited Budget

Measuring and identifying where friction exists along journeys, and what leads to those happy paths where customers easily achieve their goals, is an obsession of customer-centric organizations. A robust journey measurement and analytics program is your path to improving customer experiences and business results, and to enhancing the ability to secure budget for your targeted initiatives.

Hank Brigman

Hank Brigman
Customer Experience Strategist

Less than one third of CX team leaders report that they obtained an increase in their CX budgets from 2019 to 2020, while nearly half said their budget stayed the same. Over one-in-five saw their budget actually decrease year over year.

The inability to measure the impact of CX on business outcomes impacts an organization’s ability to secure CX budget. Organizations that are challenged to quantify the ROI of CX initiatives report stagnant budgets or small decreases. Without those resources, CX leaders cannot invest in the technology necessary to better optimize journey management or measure customer experiences.

But top performing teams who have more mature CX measurement programs are more likely to quantify the impact of CX on business outcomes, which enables them to obtain budget increases. High performers are 2.2 times more likely than underperformers to obtain an increase in CX budget.

Teams who cannot quantify CX ROI are less likely to obtain budget increase

Top-Performing Teams Have More Mature CX Measurement Programs and Are More Effective at Quantifying the Impact of CX

High performers have significantly more mature CX measurement programs. Almost half (47%) of all high performers say their CX measurement program is very or extremely mature.

With more advanced measurement programs, high performers are 7 times more likely to be able to generate journey-based insights, 11.2 times more likely to take actions to improve CX and 6.8 times more likely to quantify results more effectively than underperformers.

Top performing CX teams are more satisfied with their ability to generate customer insights, take action and quantify CX ROI

3. Lack of a Centralized Source of Cross-Channel Journey Data is the Primary Obstacle for Effective CX Measurement and Personalization

Customer data integration is incredibly important for all industries, including financial services where average product holding (APH) is a key metric that captures the number of products purchased by a typical customer. Connecting cross-channel behavior and business unit data is crucial to improve APH, achieve cross-sell goals and meet customer needs.

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan
Customer Experience Consultant
CX JS Consulting

Data silos are the primary barrier for effectively measuring and improving customer experiences. Fragmented journey data impedes an organization’s ability to quantify ROI, which is the #1 overall CX challenge.

Siloed data also impacts an organization’s ability to analyze cross-channel journeys to generate actionable insights and measure experiences, two of the top five overall CX challenges. 

Breaking down organizational data silos is the #2 overall customer experience challenge for the past two years. In addition, lacking a single view of the customer and customer journey is the #1 CX measurement challenge for the second consecutive year.

Top cx measurement challenge is lacking a single customer view
48% of enterprise CX leaders agree that lacking a single view of the customer and customer journey is the #1 challenge for effectively measuring customer experience. #CJXM20 #cxmeasurement #journeymgmt Click To Tweet

Most Organizations Struggle to Integrate Cross-Channel Data, Build Unified Customer Profiles and Use Data to Drive CX Initiatives

Lacking a single customer view is the #1 challenge for CX measurement. The majority of respondents struggle to integrate journey data across channels into unified profiles, and even fewer leverage it as an integral driver of CX initiatives.

Without a unified and up-to-date view of each customer, organizations are challenged to support their customer journey management program which hinders their ability to  optimize journeys and deliver personalized experiences.

Nearly one-third of CX teams lack any access to cross-channel customer data, while more than two-thirds do not have data integrated into a unified view of their customer.

Majority of CX teams cannot access cross-channel journey data or build a single customer view

Organizations are Challenged to Connect Journey Data Across Multiple Sources

Of those who have accessible data and track customer behaviors across eight of the most common channels, 44% can only track interactions in isolation and are not able to connect them with customer behaviors in other channels.

On average, only 10-15% of organizations can connect journey data from any of the top eight channels across three or more channels. In addition, less than 20% have a centralized and accessible source of customer data that provides unified customer profiles across all sources and channels, which are automatically created and progressively updated.

Creating those unified profiles requires two critical capabilities: 1) integrating journey data across all channels and 2) resolving customer identities. This presents challenges for analytics and business intelligence professionals, 60% of whom say that aggregating and preparing cross-channel data for analysis is the #1 top challenge when analyzing customer data sets to generate actionable insights. Meanwhile, rapidly generating actionable customer insights is the #3 top overall CX challenge, and #2 challenge for measuring customer experience. 

High performers are still challenged to connect cross-channel journey data, but struggle significantly less than underperformers.

Percentage of respondents that track and connect customer data across mobile, email, billing, VoC, contact center, IVR and more
High performers are 9.7X more likely to be able to connect behavioral data from each channel with customer behaviors across 3 or more other channels than under performers. #CJXM20 #customerdata Click To Tweet

Data Silos Cause Organizations to Struggle to Orchestrate Personalized Experiences, Which Has the Greatest Negative Impact on CX

Of the top five frustrations that organizations believe have the greatest negative impact on CX, three are related to personalization.

But despite the importance of cross-channel personalization, many organizations struggle to do so effectively and at scale. The #1 and #2 top challenges for delivering personalization are data or organizational silos, which results in disjointed messaging and limited personalization using customer data from a small number of channels or sources.

Since many organizations lack a single customer view, they personalize interactions based on limited data within siloed touchpoints, rather than a customer’s overall experience. This results in inconsistent and disjointed messaging and ultimately, ineffective personalization.

This finding helps explain why only less than a third of organizations say they are effective at engaging customers with the right experiences at the right times through their preferred channels.

Top frustration for customers is a lack of personalized experiences and top challenge for delivering personalization is data silos

4. Voice of the Customer (VoC) Data Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

Surveys capture lagging indicators of a customer’s experience, which are important gauges of success, but they’re not actionable. Root cause analyses can zero-in on where teams should focus, so that progress at the team level will naturally yield corresponding progress in big picture metrics like wallet share, market share, revenue growth and earnings growth.

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker, CCXP, PCM
Chief Customer Officer
ClearAction Continuum

NPS, CSAT and CES are the Most Frequently Captured Customer Experience Metrics

The majority of organizations (95%) collect customer feedback data. For customer experience professionals, three of the top five high-priority KPIs are NPS® (62.7%), CSAT (54.2%) and CES (30.9%).

Across industries, company sizes and job functions, NPS is the number one overall high-priority metric, followed closely by CSAT.

And while these metrics are widely used, organizations are challenged to connect feedback to outcomes and use the data to take action and improve experiences.

Top customer experience metrics are NPS, CSAT and CES

CX Leaders Recognize Shortcomings of Customer Feedback and VoC Data

Truly customer-centric organizations understand the importance of capturing, listening to, and acting on customer feedback to inform the continuous improvement of the customer journey. Recognizing that the customer journey must be managed, not just mapped, mature organizations use VoC, VoE (employee) and VoP (process) data as one part of a series of interconnected activities to continually deliver tangible and measurable CX improvement.

Ian Golding

Ian Golding, CCXP
Founder and CEO
Customer Experience Consultancy Ltd.

Despite their widespread use and importance, CX professionals cite several challenges related to customer feedback metrics that suggest that relying on VoC data alone is not sufficient for effectively measuring customer experience.

The #1 challenge with VoC data is connecting customer feedback to outcomes such as churn, lifetime value and revenue. While most CX pros rely on VoC data to measure interactions, they are challenged to take actions that measurably improve customer experiences. The second top challenge is that it is much easier to collect customer feedback data than it is to actually operationalize and act on it. Additionally, CX leaders say that VoC data is a good representation of an interaction within an isolated channel or touchpoint, but it does not reflect a customer’s overall experience.

CX pros also say that only a small number of customers participate and that participation rates have declined or become stagnant over time. This hinders an organization’s ability to gauge satisfaction and predict outcomes for the majority of customers that do not participate.

Top VoC challenge is that it's difficult to link customer feedback to business outcomes like revenue, churn and lifetime value
60% of enterprise CX leaders agree that the #1 challenge with VoC or other customer feedback data is that it is difficult to link it to tangible business outcomes or results. #CJXM20 #voc #customerfeedback Click To Tweet

Organizations Struggle to Use Customer Feedback and VoC Data to Quantify and Improve CX

Leading organizations are connecting feedback data to KPIs more effectively by focusing less on specific interactions and more on the journeys that led customers to give feedback. More mature organizations use VoC data in conjunction with other analytics solutions that allow them to link behavior to metrics and quantify the impact of CX initiatives.

Annette Franz

Annette Franz
CCXP and CXPA Board Chair
CX Journey Inc

CX professionals say that a failure of the organization to recognize and proactively intervene when a customer is unhappy and neglecting to take action on customer feedback are both among the top five customer frustrations that have the greatest negative impact on customer experience.

Due to siloed data, most organizations are challenged to connect VoC data to business results like lifetime value, churn and more. Almost 43% of CX leaders are not satisfied with their ability to quantify the impact of customer experience on KPIs and metrics.

Disparate data also makes it difficult to identify the journeys that lead to specific customer feedback. CX teams are challenged to determine the root cause of the VoC data, which prevents them from generating actionable insights and orchestrating actions to improve experiences.

Respondents' satisfaction levels with their ability to generate customer insights, take action on customer feedback, quantify the impact of CX on business metrics

5. High Performers Take a More Sophisticated Approach When Leveraging Technology to Improve CX and Business Results

The adoption of AI and machine learning has exploded over the years, but their application for understanding and improving customer experience is just beginning to produce value. Early adopters are enhancing customer engagement, uncovering CX issues, and building informative predictive and prescriptive models of customer behavior and business outcomes.

Kirk Borne

Kirk Borne
Executive Advisor, Data Science Fellow
Booz Allen Hamilton

High Performers are More Mature in Their Investment in and Use of Technologies Like AI and Customer Journey Analytics

Across performance levels, the top investment priorities are dedicated to addressing the challenges of data integration and insight generation, and supporting a journey management approach to improve CX measurement. High-performing teams leverage more sophisticated technology, such as customer journey analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), to advance their ability to manage, measure and improve CX.

While customer analytics, insights and digital transformation are top investment priorities across the board, less mature teams are investing in more traditional practices like journey mapping and data management, while top performers prioritize more advanced solutions such as customer journey analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The survey findings also suggest a growing maturity in the market overall, with as many organizations investing in customer journey analytics in 2020 (27%) as journey mapping (25%) and Voice of the Customer (25%).

Top CX investment priorities include customer journey analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning

High Performers are More Likely to Adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Customer insights are a competitive advantage, but enterprises must invest in dynamic journey maps to deliver the experiences customers expect. The winners will be those who invest in solutions that enable organizations to analyze customer journeys across channels and time and connect them to outcomes like churn, lifetime value and revenue.

Dan Gingiss

Dan Gingiss
Chief Experience Officer
The Experience Maker, LLC

High performers are 1.4 times more likely to be leveraging AI, as 88% of top performers have either already adopted AI or plan to within the next two years, versus only 62% of underperformers.

Of those that have not yet adopted AI, one-third of high performers say that AI or machine learning is one of their top three CX-related investment priorities in the next 12 months, versus only 15% of underperformers.

88% of high performing CX teams have adopted or plan to adopt artificial intelligence
88% of high-performing CX teams have already adopted AI or plan to within the next 2 years, vs. only 62% of underperformers. #CJXM20 #ai #journeymgmt Click To Tweet

High Performers Use AI for More Advanced Applications

When it comes to leveraging AI, high performers are also more mature in their applications. While more advanced use cases such as detecting potential CX issues faster, predicting journey or business outcomes and delivering personalized cross-channel experiences are among the top applications of AI for high performers, underperformers are leveraging AI for more basic applications such as chatbots and generating next-best actions.

Using AI for more advanced, journey-based methods helps high performers succeed and enhances their ability to measure customer journeys and orchestrate exceptional experiences.

Organizations use AI to detect CX issues faster, orchestrate personalized journeys, predict journey or business outcomes and more

Journey Management and CX Measurement in 2020 and Beyond

In 2020, there is no debating the importance of customer experience across a wide range of industries. Now, the conversation has shifted; business leaders must find a way to overcome their journey management and CX measurement challenges and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

To do so, customer-centric enterprises are aligning people, processes and technology around customer journeys. The most effective CX teams leverage journey-based strategies and software that advance their ability to monitor and measure experiences and take actions that maximize the success of every journey. Prioritizing a journey-based approach and investing in resources to mature your measurement program sets the foundation for future success for both your customers and your business.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

on-demand webinar image: state of CJXM