Editor’s note: Dave Fish is senior vice president, expert services at research firm MaritzCX, Salt Lake City, Utah.

The current emphasis on customer experience (CX) is undeniable. Estimated spend for CX activities in 2014 was $3.77 billion; this is expected to grow to $8.39 billion by 2019.

Unfortunately, all of this investment is not making the impact one would hope in improving the customer experience. The American Customer Satisfaction Index shows only modest improvement for overall satisfaction across industries from its inception in 1994 at 74.8 to its current standing of 75.6 for the same period in 2014. Likewise, a recent MaritzCX study reveals that 78 percent of global CX programs are not meeting executive expectations.

Why? Measurement alone is not the answer; the key to successful CX systems is collecting data to draw out and act on meaningful insights.

Applying the CX value chain

Researchers can apply the CX value chain with a series of steps that starts with measurement and travels all the way through the process of changing the customer experience. The value chain is fueled by three different forms of insight: tactical, operational and strategic. Each step in the chain is predicated on the successful execution of the previous link. And, while tactical insights can be largely automated, operational and strategic insights require inherent curiosity.

The chain is fairly straightforward. A customer has an experience, that experience is measured, that information is communicated as insights to stakeholders, those stakeholders commit to action and then action is taken, which comes full circle to impact the customer experience in the future.

Link 1: Brand experience

The chain begins with a customer experience – buying an e-book via a mobile device, making an inquiry on a bank account online or having a vehicle serviced at an auto dealership – but customer e...