The Social Index: CX is the Key to Brand Health

You don’t own your brand anymore.

After decades of marketing and brand managing teams focusing on making sure their company is saying the right things, we’re finally understanding that all marketing needs to start and end with customers.

To highlight this in practice we’ve used our recent update to our Social Index, a global health ranking of the biggest brands, to investigate how customer experience (CX) shapes brand health.

Our brand’s image is not what we say, but the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that our customers experience when interacting with us.

The way we affect our brand image is through understanding, investing in and influencing customer journeys, customer preferences, and the voice of the customer.

According to Sheryl Pattek, VP, CMO executive partner at Forrester Research, “customers define their brands…every touchpoint makes a difference in how the brand is described and whether customers believe in the company’s promise.”

Many are truly taking this to heart, with up to 93% of senior executives saying improving customer experience is one of their company’s top three priorities.

(People collectively stop caring about customer experience during the winter holidays.)

However, there are still huge discrepancies in how seriously businesses are taking customer experience. Most companies and agencies believe that brands are only sometimes meeting CX expectations, and only 37% of executives feel their companies have formal initiatives dedicated to CX.

The digital customer experience is becoming as important a differentiator for brands as product and price.

Marketing Week

 

CX influences your brand equity more than most other measurable activities.

To show how CX influenced overall brand health, we analyzed the 90 million mentions from our quarterly Social Index update and identified three instances where a clear investment in CX won.

Case studies: A look at Netflix, T-Mobile, and Southwest

Leading our Television Social Index, Netflix tops our Social Index by dominating their television network counterparts.

Coming nothing short of revolutionizing how we consume media, Netflix pioneered digital streaming of content.

The company invested years of innovation and millions of dollars into recommendation engines and a user experience that connects their customers with the content they will love in the easiest way possible.

As a result, they became the pinnacle of digital customer experience that even brands outside of media look to benchmark themselves against.

T-Mobile is another CX-driven technology company where customer happiness directly determines product and service strategy.

Beating out 25 other international companies in our Telecommunications Social Index, T-Mobile traditionally led mobile phone providers in unlimited data offerings, putting users first in their plans.

With the ability to stream Google Music, YouTube, Netflix, and several other services without using data, T-Mobile’s investment in CX is clear with their services and offerings.

Aside from their products and offerings, T-Mobile’s customer care department has been named #1 in customer service satisfaction by Nielsen Mobile Insights.

We have the best damn care team in the business – at this point, that’s not even up for debate…but like everyone else at this company, our care team takes ‘we won’t stop’ pretty literally. They’ve got their sights on being the #1 care team in any industry, anywhere – not just wireless. That was so 2016.

John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile

 

Finally, topping off our Airlines Social Index, budget airline Southwest was an unexcepted winner this quarter.

From their own website, Southwest considers themselves a “customer service company that happens to fly airplanes.”

Despite being a low-cost carrier, Southwest put’s their CX at the forefront of their business model.

The Social Index and the importance of CX

We’ve built our Social Index to measure different sides of brand health so we could compare businesses across 25 industries.

Using five key metrics for gauging brand health, we’re able to grade the biggest brands online.

From before your customers buy your products, to their feelings using your product, to when they think about your competitors, what our Social Index update reveals is that the health of your brand online doesn’t necessarily start online.

It begins and is constantly reinforced by every interaction your customers have with your company.

Every part of your business affects your customer experience, so all of your employees need to think like brand managers because that’s their job.

How does your customer experience compare to your competitors? Explore our Social Index now.