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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Present CX Research Findings!

During the 1st quarter of 2018, Phoenix Marketing International & Direct Choice collaborated to conduct a consumer research study to better understand which major US brands were delivering the best and the worst Customer Experiences (CX) and what the leading reasons were for consumer sentiment towards each brand’s experience delivery.

A lot of interesting findings came out of this CX research including how the leading competitors in each of 32 industries were stacking up against each other in the delivery of CX.

As both Phoenix MI and Direct Choice began meeting with executives and senior managers of some of the top 300 US Brands to discuss the CX research findings, one of our hypotheses was proven to be significantly flawed.

It was our expectation that the executives who would be most interested in the results of this CX research would be the COO, the CMO and leadership of certain functional areas including “customer-facing” operations (store operations, e-commerce operations, customer loyalty, brand strategy, etc.).

What we found in our in-person meetings and conference calls was very surprising.  In over 50% of the cases, the CMO and senior marketing management didn’t attend or had little interest in the CX findings for their brand and their competitors.

A few examples:

A major home improvement retailer – The CX function is under the COO’s leadership and the functional leaders of store operations and merchandising were the ones most involved and interested in how their brand was performing compared to their major competitors.  Marketing had no representation in the review of the CX industry research results whatsoever – not even the folks responsible for customer loyalty, CRM, or brand management.

A major health insurance organization – The CX function was led by a Vice President of Member Experience who reported to the COO.  The CMO nor any Marketing management at any level were involved in reviewing the CX industry research nor strategizing on how to gain competitive advantages from improved CX delivery.

A major regional bank – The CX function was managed by a new CX team which had pulled in senior managers from branch management, HR, and IT. The team reported up to the CCO (Chief Customer Officer).  Once again, the CMO nor any Marketing management were involved in reviewing the CX industry research nor strategizing on how to gain competitive advantages from improved CX delivery.

Our Takeaways:

Although there were a few of the top 300 brands which did have CMO’s or senior marketing managers involved in CX strategy and in leveraging CX data as a springboard for marketing and CRM communications, we were surprised that over 75% of companies we’ve discussed this research with had little to no involvement from Marketing.

How can Marketing Executives directly strengthen their brands CX performance?

One strategy is that all CX responses should be responded to. Customers who have made the effort to tell you that your organization is great or lousy, deserve communications back that says, thank you, we listened, and we love you.

  • For positive CX responders, communicate and provide an additional surprise and delight to fully knock their socks off. After that, engage them further to become an official brand advocate.
  • For negative CX responders, fall on your sword, apologize, and ask them to try you again with some comeback sauce* sprinkled on top.

* We recently saw Mary Lucas, the Keynote Speaker at the Insurance Marketing annual conference in Atlanta.  She was an amazing speaker and her book “Lunchmeat and Life Lessons” is well worth a read.  In Chapter 2 she discusses the power of “Comeback Sauce” which every great CMO should leverage to strengthen their Customer Experience performance.

If you’d like to discuss how your marketing team can directly improve your brand’s CX performance, please contact Lane Mann at

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