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Congrats on a great brand experience – but do you know if it really worked?

By Ron Shamah, Chief Executive Officer



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November 24, 2023 | 8 min read

Ron Shamah of agency Rightpoint makes a case for what he calls ‘return on total experience,’ a model for judging whether brand experience work really works.

A twirled-up tape measure on a yellow background

Ron Shamah on measuring the effectiveness of brand experiences / Diana Polekhina via Unsplash

For businesses that want to succeed in a volatile market, delivering great experiences is more imperative than ever. But as more companies grapple with shrinking budgets, consolidated leadership, and a hyper-targeted ROI approach, delivering those great experiences has proven difficult.

According to Forrester’s US 2023 Customer Experience Index, only 6% of executives saw significant customer experience (CX) improvement this year, even though 80% of executives made it a priority. Employee experience (EX) is also on a downward trajectory, with only 32% of employees saying they were engaged in 2022.

Clearly, companies care about and are invested in brand experiences – but most organizations aren’t seeing a strong return on those investments. Getting that desired return calls for a fresh, holistic approach to experience strategy, which requires organizations to address two issues.

One is the need to focus on the total experience approach: the full ecosystem of CX, EX, and product experience (PX) in digital and physical spaces, rather than managing experiences in silos.

And total experience sets the stage for the second issue: the need to understand the return on their holistic experience investments, instead of relying on siloed metrics for each investment. The return on total experience (ROTX) model is designed to deliver this understanding.

What is return on total experience (ROTX)?

Return on total experience (ROTX) is a measurement approach designed for the modern era filled with complex touchpoints and endless channel options. It creates a unified data ecosystem encompassing the total experience of a brand: customer, product, and employee experiences across the front, middle, and back offices.

Instead of focusing on one quantitative metric at a time, the ROTX framework encompasses quantitative and qualitative KPIs that measure the impact of all initiatives.

This level of visibility allows organizations to quickly identify the initiatives delivering true value, the ones that need improvement, and those that aren’t worth continuing. It ensures that all experience initiatives are data-driven, customer-centric, and delivering intended results.

Here are three strategies for implementing the framework, no matter the size or maturity of your organization.

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1. Balance budget Restraints with the big hurry

Today’s organizations face two competing pressures: the economic slowdown and the ‘the big hurry’ toward digital transformation. As macroeconomic headwinds hinder organizations from reaching strategic goals, enterprises also realize the dire need to create a more unified digital ecosystem. Likewise, as IT budgets tighten, companies understand that digital initiatives are essential for survival.

This digital dichotomy has hindered enterprises from serving their customers efficiently. But the ROTX framework can help balance these seemingly contradictory needs. When organizations take a more strategic approach to measuring unified experience data across customer, employee, and product journeys, they can better optimize the cost of those investments. They’ll spend money on only the most effective initiatives, which allows them to offer truly seamless digital experiences, even as budgets constrict.

2. Connect the dots of experience across the organization

If organizations want to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving hybrid ‘phygital’ reality, they must connect the dots between customer, employee, and product experience. They can do this by analyzing how people, technology, and businesses interact. Once an organization takes this holistic approach, it can more easily identify which initiatives have the most relevance and importance along the end-to-end customer journey.

3. Optimize spending and trace the impact of experience initiatives

With the ROTX approach, organizations must collect data at every point in the journey. This data should be measured against key markers that allow the organization to understand which initiatives are most successful, which require improvement, and which are no longer useful.

Over time, the organization’s measurement capabilities unify and expand. In turn, the ROTX framework becomes more accurate, valuable, and easy to use. In the most advanced ROTX models, organizations can move from hypothesizing to establishing clear causation between experience initiatives and business outcomes.

How to measure your return on experience investments

What does this look like in practice? Consider, for example, the framework of an insurance company that invests in an intuitive website that allows for easy customization. Creating a channel for customizable coverage can build customer loyalty and lead to higher sales. Now suppose that customer is in a car accident. In that case, employees can easily access their data from a single source, providing faster and more accurate service, leading to a reduction in employee work and complexity. And because employees have the right tools to do their jobs, there’s higher satisfaction and lower turnover. Tracking investments and data throughout the process shows the ROI of the total experience and how one investment leads to further growth and an improved overall experience for everyone involved.

Better experiences help build loyalty among customers and employees, which aids an organization’s revenue and competitive edge. Yet, still, many of today’s organizations fail to adequately measure the return on their experience investments. Complex data (and even more complex journeys) result in fragmented, siloed insights and inefficient spending.

Thankfully, this holistic approach offers a more effective way for businesses to identify, map, and measure experience initiatives to deliver more accurate insights so organizations can more effectively quantify return on investment. As the framework matures, organizations are empowered to make data-driven decisions that optimize spend and improve experience outcomes over time. Even in an increasingly volatile market, ROTX gives companies the insights to thrive and lead in the future.

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We drive growth by delivering experiences that transform how people, technology and businesses interact. We call this Total Experience.

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