ActionIQ 2022 CX IQ Index Reveals Large Gaps in Companies’ Self-Reported CX Performance & Actual Consumer Experiences

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Data Protection and Privacy Top List of Consumers’ Priorities, While Personalization Must Go Beyond the Surface

ActionIQ, the leading Enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP), released the inaugural CX IQ Index, an expansive survey measuring the state of customer experience (CX) from the perspective of both businesses and consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. The results reveal a significant gap between CX perception and performance, showing that while 61% of businesses rate customers as “very satisfied” with CX, only 23% of consumers feel the same.

The research also revealed that when it comes to CX, data protection and privacy are most important to consumers. Fifty-five percent of consumers say data protection is “very important” to customer experience – more than any other CX characteristic. Forty-eight percent said the same for brands respecting their privacy.

“Despite having an increasing amount of data pointing to the importance of customer experience to brand loyalty and overall business results, the CX IQ Index research results show that businesses across the spectrum still have a long way to go in offering outstanding CX,” said Tamara Gruzbarg, Vice President of Strategic Services, ActionIQ. “The message to organizations is clear: Invest more resources into the CX characteristics that are most important to consumers – protecting customer data and privacy, and responding quickly to their needs – and do it urgently, because if the gap between what customers deem  important and what brands deliver continues to grow, your business will suffer.”

The findings also highlighted what matters most to consumers in terms of personalization. Consumers are much more concerned with brands understanding their needs (23% rated it “very important” to CX)  than brands knowing who they are (only 11% rated it “very important”).

Adds Gruzbarg, “Knowing who your customers are is essential to providing them with superior CX, and is only becoming more complicated in the face of third-party cookie deprecation. But the value of this is in your ability to transform customer insights into experiences that are tailored to your customers no matter when, where or how they interact with your brand.”

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Industry Highlights

  • Media/Publishing: The industry with the largest disparity in how companies rate themselves and actual user experiences is media/publishing, with a gap of 20 percentage points or more across many categories. While this sector scores the highest in satisfaction across the board compared to other industries, that result is due to a single vertical lifting up the field: streaming services (music, audio, video). The customer reviews are significantly more negative for media and publishing brands focused on news. Only 23%of consumers said they are “very satisfied” with customer experience for online news and information sites, and just 16% echo that sentiment for print media.

    The disparity between media/publishing brands and consumers was most pronounced across “protects my data” (49% versus 22%), “respects my privacy” (51% versus 18%), “is knowledgeable about their products/services” (60% versus 26%) and “has fast resolution of problems” (49% versus 18%), all of which are among the characteristics most important to CX, according to consumers.

  • Retail: Retail brands are less likely to rate their CX performance as “very strong” when compared to other industries, but retailers still overestimate their performance across most categories. That said, consumers award retail brands higher marks for characteristics related to convenience and reliability. It also appears that businesses consumers may view as more essential — such as those selling food and clothing — perform better in terms of CX than those selling less essential items, such as makeup, accessories and luxury goods.

  • Financial Services: Financial services companies outperform other industries across the majority of characteristics consumers say are most important to CX. The dominance of financial services brands may be due to their direct access to end customers and the amount of authenticated customer traffic they have across their digital channels. The banking vertical in particular performed well in terms of CX satisfaction.

  • B2B Technology: When compared to the total response of businesses across all industries, B2B technology brands were similar to media/publishing organizations, both more or less likely to rate their performance as “very strong” than the average across different CX characteristics.

In addition to U.S. findings, ActionIQ also conducted a survey in the United Kingdom to identify potential differences between the two markets. While U.K. consumers’ responses generally aligned with those in the United States, results showed that American brands are more likely than their U.K. counterparts to highly rate their CX performance.

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