Experience Economics: Aligning Customer Experience Investment to Financial Value


By: Rob Sherrell, Dave Trettin, Dove LeBaron

North Highland Insights

Experience EconomicsSM helps leaders prioritize and chart a path forward by integrating customer needs and business value. At the same time, it helps build the operational muscle needed to quickly adapt and respond to evolving customer expectations.

The following report draws on the results of a North Highland-sponsored survey from February 2019 that encapsulates the perspectives of 300 cross-functional business leaders at U.S. and U.K.-based organizations with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion. Survey questions gauged measurement techniques, prioritization, and decision-making capabilities related to Customer Experience (CX).

Key Takeaways

The problem: Customer experience (CX) efforts can significantly affect performance, but many companies struggle to pinpoint the elements that drive sustainable business growth. As a result, organizations blindly chase improvements that fail to yield optimal business value.

The analysis: Quantifying the intersection of business objectives and customer needs allows companies to identify, map, and predict CX initiatives, improvements, and activities that drive the greatest return.

The solution: North Highland developed Experience Economics, the practice of attributing value to customer experience in a way that aligns the opportunity and focus areas of the business and results to better inform the design, prioritization, and operationalization of CX activities. Our recommended strategy is three-fold:

  • Evaluate CX through experience analysis and value mapping
  • Prioritize initiatives that drive the most value
  • Formalize value measurement and management methods

Are you making the right CX decisions?

This perspective is intended for those who aren’t certain in their CX investment decisions; in most cases these are cross-functional executives accountable for various parts of CX and the leaders charged with setting the course for strategic growth in their organizations.

The customer is always right, or so the adage goes. Customer satisfaction has long been a fundamental driver of business, and today’s industry titans have only raised the bar. Companies like Amazon, Zappos, and USAA are leading the charge on CX by harnessing the power of customer-centric business models. But highlighting these companies’ success in delivering great experiences that meet customer needs would tell just half the story. A sustainable customer-centric model is only found at the intersection of business objectives and customer needs, where strategic decisions can be made that will enhance both business and customer value.

It should come as no surprise: Our research shows that 70 percent of companies strongly believe that their CX efforts impact financial performance. It makes sense; when you invest in improvements that matter, you are likely to generate lift. And while a company may broadly state that an improved customer experience has resulted in a positive business outcome, the challenge comes when trying to pinpoint precisely which element of improved customer interactions or experiences are driving corresponding improvements in advocacy, satisfaction, and, ultimately, growth.

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