The Future of Customer Experience Measurement


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Forrester recently published a paper on the future of customer experience measurement and they didn’t mince words with comments like:

• “CX leaders told us that their response rates are declining, especially among younger customers”
• “Today’s empowered customers reject old-school CX surveys”
• “Even companies that have an advanced CX measurement program need to innovate further to remain relevant and effective.”

They have some great examples embedded in the paper, but I’m starting to hear some variation of, “OK. I’m on board with what Forrester is saying, but specifically, what do I need to do to get more feedback and more thoughtful feedback?”

Here’s how I’m seeing Forrester’s concepts applied successfully:

First, potential survey respondents want to know if the company really wants their feedback and if that feedback will be used. To address these concerns, I’ve seen two types of survey imagery really drive the number of responses (I’ve seen as high as 59% from a mortgage lender) and quality of responses (one online retailer is getting over 50% of their surveys with detailed comments).

The first type of imagery is of people who look like them. I’m not necessarily talking about race or gender here, but more lifestyle oriented. Toys ‘R’ Us is selling to families with kids so their imagery should reflect that. If you know I’m a business traveler, my airline survey should show people in business-casual attire interacting with the ticket counter (as an example).

The second set of imagery that’s driving better responses is of the people the respondent has interacted with. For instance, when you get a survey from your doctor’s office, you’re more likely to respond if there is a picture of your doctor asking you for feedback. You’re given the impression that she cares about your feedback so you’re more inclined to give it. This technique works especially well with faceless company representatives like in a customer care call center. When you see pictures of people who work hard at the call center, you’re more inclined to provide them helpful feedback than if you perceive your responses are headed for a black hole.

Another of Forrester’s points that stood out for me was the opportunity for respondents to include photos and video with their survey responses. This is a perfect example of how a picture is worth a thousand words. If you were in IT Operations, would you rather receive a survey response that says, “Your website is confusing,” or a screen shot that says, “Where am I supposed to click to order?” Companies spend millions tracking the eye balls of consumers to find website-usage patterns, but in many cases they could get the feedback as part of their regular survey. Likewise, sharing a picture of a line snaked around a coffee shop can be much more powerful than just giving a score of “1” associated with the question, “Was your wait time reasonable?” Consumers constantly upload pictures to social media so they’re used to it. This attribute of your survey won’t require training and can be embedded directly into your mobile-optimized survey or app.

Beyond the respondent piece of this, photos and videos are perfect for sharing within your organization as well. If you’ve ever presented to your senior leadership team on customer experience, chances are they tend to glom onto verbatim comments. Pictures make communicating your trends even easier.

Finally, Forrester talks about using analytics to drive action. While I don’t disagree with using analytics, I think there are better ways to drive action. I spoke with one client the other day who had 5,000 employees and 10 people on their analytical team. They wanted to ensure the analytics team got what they needed, but (at first) they were doing it at the expense of the other 4,990 employees. Most front-line employees aren’t data consumers. They’re an audience to be won.

For that reason, I’ve seen sharing the customer story (notice I didn’t say data) in readable, bit-sized chunks to be very successful. A 40-page PowerPoint deck is going to be meaningful to some, but not most. Even most dashboards are not terrifically helpful because they require a log in and most employees aren’t interested in taking the time to learn to navigate them – regardless of how intuitive they are. Instead, a weekly newsletter automatically curated from your feedback system can share current trends, customer comments and a general sense of customer perceptions. In my experience, this sort of communication drives customer awareness and empathy across your organization with the least amount of effort. Face it, your executive team is not logging into a dashboard. Do you want to spend your time creating PowerPoint slides they may read or using your brain to figure out how to improve your customer’s experience?

Forrester did some awesome research into the future of customer experience measurement. Now it’s the customer experience professional’s job to take the concepts and make them a reality for our businesses. There’s absolutely an opportunity for us to stay connected with our customers so they’ll provide us with candid, thoughtful feedback. We just need to ensure we’re making it an engaging, personalized interaction.

Leave a comment or contact me at [email protected] if you want to continue the conversation. I’m very interested in your feedback and perspective!

Photo credits:
All other images courtesy of Customerville at

Brian Doyle
Doyle Team Consulting
Brian has been designing and improving customer experiences for over a decade, Prior to discovering CX, Brian was VP of Marketing at Genworth and a 6 Sigma Master Black Belt at GE Capital. His career began in the US Air Force as a C-17 pilot. Brian has a bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from the US Air Force Academy and a master's degree in Systems Engineering from St. Mary's University.


  1. HI Brian, we see that customers do want to give feedback and have their voice – but more and more they want to give their unfiltered voice rather than tick boxes to give scores that help prove/disprove an internal hypothesis or tells the organisation how well they are doing. So the things you talk about help with responses but also a shift to conversational and qualitative surveys (with AI, tech and analytics doing the heavy lifting to draw insight) is the way to go – better and more actionable insight for companies and the customer feeling that they can give their feedback which is truer to them.

  2. Amanda – great perspective! There are definitely multiples levels here: We want responses, but we also want thoughtful, candid responses. Without the latter, it’s much harder to take action on the feedback.

    I’m noticing that the imagery (like in the call center example) also drives an increase in verbatim comments and answers to open-ended opportunities. Are you seeing that as well or is there just a better way to solicit open-ended feedback?

  3. Hi Brian, great perspective. I am eager to explore one of the points you mentioned above and explore more – customer experience professional’s job to take the concepts and make them a reality for our businesses.

    As Head of HR in an IT Company which is in Services business, I would request you to please share few tips on how
    HR can create and sustain Customer Centricity in an organisation.

  4. Deepak,

    I’ve seen HR leaders do a wonderful job of increasing customer centricity by enabling the business’ employees. When employees feel their opinions matter and they’re given leeway to do the right thing for customers, their experience improves significantly and the customer’s does as well.

    A good example is Vail (ski) Resorts. They have a policy that if employees are increasing “customer joy” than it’s ok to take action on the spot. They don’t second guess their employees for their decisions; instead, they celebrate them thinking creatively to enhance customer centricity. This approach has an even greater positive effect on members of the Millennial generation and Generation Z – two groups that often have shorter employment tenure than others (except when empowered like this).

    Feel free to contact me at [email protected] if you’d like to talk in greater detail. Thanks!



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