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Creating inspired experiences
With the ramp-up in customer experience (CX) program investments continuing to accelerate across industries, CX leaders face an existential question: How do we demonstrate the business impact and prove the program is worth the effort?
Though CX leaders know the importance of demonstrating financial impact, 50% aren’t confident in their ability to do so. And the pressure is mounting—more than half of leaders say they have under a year to meet the demands of their executive team and connect CX investments to top-line financial benefits.
The stakes are high, and the urgency is real. To help, we’ve detailed how to define, demonstrate, and sustain ROI for your CX program by combining end-to-end measurement, action-oriented reporting, and industry-validated research methods. This comprehensive guide will help inform your ROI efforts and put you on the right track to demonstrating the tangible impact of your CX program.
Too often, CX programs get sidelined as performance-trackers or diagnostics tools—collecting data that doesn’t appear on a meeting agenda until something starts flashing red. Scores fluctuate, reports get skimmed—but by and large, it’s business as usual. Before you know it, you find yourself on the wrong side of the growing gap between brands that are simply aware of the data and those that are using it to surface insights that drive action and produce meaningful business results.
To translate mountains of data into actionable insights that lead to tangible business outcomes, every CX initiative you launch must be:
Proving ROI is more than an exercise in accounting—it’s about aligning CX targets with growth strategies and tactical plans of action. From R&D efforts to behind-the-scenes operations, every aspect of your business influences the customer experience (and vice versa).
In your quest to prove ROI make sure your CX insights are defined in accordance with at least one of these business outcomes:
When you’re able to demonstrate the causational relationships between CX initiatives and critical business outcomes across channels, proving ROI isn’t a challenge—it’s an opportunity to align cross-functional strategies and build a customer-centric culture.
Once you’ve defined ROI objectives and aligned strategies accordingly, the onus is on you to instill confidence in the c-suite that the CX program is built to achieve them. From comprehensive measurement to action-oriented reporting + a research-backed insights framework, be ready to answer 3 essential ROI questions:
Part of the reason ROI calculations get so convoluted so quickly is a simple case of missing variables. Brands measuring single touchpoints or operating in departmental silos lose sight of the big picture. So, while one team celebrates an uptick in conversion rates + on-site satisfaction, others scramble to address an influx of returns accompanied by overwhelmed contact centers and plummeting ratings + reviews.
To get a holistic view of the entire brand experience, organizations must map out the entire journey—from the customer’s point of view—and capture feedback at every juncture.
That means building an end-to-end measurement strategy that incorporates:
Here’s what an end-to-end customer journey may look like for your brand:
To get a comprehensive read on the entire brand experience, Party City expanded its CX program to include feedback from every point of customer interaction—including in-store visits, digital touchpoints, ratings + reviews, and brand tracker studies and behavioral data. Within months, the retailer increased responses for instore (2.1x YOY) + off-premise (4x YOY) purchases.
With more feedback comes more targeted action, which led to an 8-ppt increase in Overall Satisfaction in a single quarter. As the organization continues to focus on a transformational, customer-centric strategy, it’s no surprise their Q2 2021 results exceeded expectations:
Let’s say your measurement strategy is on point and collecting high-quality data across every channel. While that’s a notable achievement, it’s not nearly enough. An ROI-centric CX program ensures you’re not just collecting the right data, but also getting it into the hands of the people tasked with acting on it.
And when it comes to something as all-encompassing and complex as the customer experience, those users need an intuitive analytics platform that:
Additionally, to transform CX results from vanity metrics into organizational priorities, you need an end-to-end reporting platform that delivers:
Keeping up with fast-paced, high-volume ratings + reviews channels can be a daunting task—but brands failing to manage their online reputation effectively are putting revenue at risk. That’s especially true for high-end retailers, where one bad review can dissuade would-be buyers from even considering a visit.
To streamline its approach and lessen the strain on its labor force, Signet Jewelers integrated ratings + review data alongside solicited CX feedback channels, implemented real-time alerting + competitive benchmarking, and improved search rankings by using in-platform response templates to engage customers who left a review.
A true ROI-generating program isn’t about tracking today’s strategy—it’s about shaping tomorrow’s and ensuring you’re primed to evolve alongside customer expectations + behaviors. The most sure-fire way to future-proof your program and secure long-term investment is to show how it illuminates the right path forward by analyzing how CX results align with market trends, incorporating emerging technologies like AI-based analytics, and connecting every insight to a projected financial outcome.
Unfortunately, time is limited, and even with ramped up investments, most CX teams remain lean. That’s why it’s important not to settle for just any CX vendor.
Seek out a true CX partner that saves you time, money, and labor by offloading daily administrative tasks and delivering:
Not getting enough actionable insight from their mystery shop program, Krispy Kreme Japan transitioned to a comprehensive customer experience management solution. The approach quickly paid dividends by showing customers were more satisfied and spent more when front-line employees executed specific service standards.
The brand quickly:
In correlation with the increase of service standard scores, loyalty measures and comp sales have also improved:
Because successful CX initiatives focus on specific business challenges, ROI can (and should) look different for every organization—but the one commonality should be a direct tie from actions to results. Here are 4 short examples that illustrate an outcomes-driven approach to experience management:
Pivoting to curbside pickup as the primary touchpoint amid the pandemic, Tractor Supply Co. revamped communication processes, updated their mobile app to allow customers to check in, + reallocated labor.
3 quarters of triple-digit e-commerce growth + 130% Comp sales YOY
After venturing into the breakfast daypart, Wendy’s used product-level analyses and text analytics to identify improvement opportunities for new menu items.
+ 8% total sales
When a third-party contact center became too expensive and inefficient, CKE automated and optimized its service recovery operations to save time + money and increase responsiveness.
When customers cited out-of-stock items when purchasing less than intended, Heinen’s set up real-time Product Availability alerts + invested in predictive analytics software to uncover purchasing patterns.
$250k impact to the bottom line over 3 years
ROI shouldn’t be a guessing game. When you track the right metrics, you should be able to predict the bottom-line impact of every action you take. To stop making guesses and start making gains, use our interactive ROI calculator to input your current performance KPIs + determine the potential impact of specific CX improvements for your organization.
SMG’s unique software with a service (SwaS) approach helps organizations generate new revenue, grow existing revenue, reduce churn + detractors, and drive operational efficiencies. By delivering insights across the enterprise and measuring experiences at every touchpoint, our unique partnership model includes platform technology and professional services that help clients change the way they do business.
In fact, SMG commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study of the smg360® CX solution, identifying the real-world ROI our customers can see through their programs. The study revealed how—within just 3 years—clients can see:
One of the defining characteristics of organizations that make the leap from being data-driven to insights-driven is how they approach ROI. It’s not just an after-the-fact calculation to justify expenditures—it’s an ongoing process embedded into each step of every customer-centric initiative. From aligning CX metrics to business challenges and organizational KPIs to putting systems in place to track progress, achieve improvement goals, and demonstrate bottom-line impact, it requires an iterative, cross-functional strategy.
Once that shift takes hold, the sky is the limit for your CX strategy.
To learn how SMG’s unique software with a service (SwaS) model can help you build + sustain an ROI-generating CX program, reach out.