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Do cultural differences have an influence on customer experience?

  • Posted on June 25, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 2 minutes

Comparing CX apples to CX oranges
Analysing survey data is one of the most powerful aspects of a customer experience (CX) program. It aims at turning CX data into actions that drive positive business outcomes. When operating globally, it is challenging to analyse multiple survey responses from different countries. For example, we often need to compare CX findings between North America and Europe, or between different Europeans countries. Are cross-cultural CX metrics comparable? Does cultural bias not have an impact on CX results? 

Managing the cultural data challenge
According to Forrester, customer experience can be rated differently from one country to another. Some cultures tend to be more generous in their scoring than others. As an example, US consumers have the most positive cultural bias while French and Indian consumers are less likely to score brands highly. On that basis, cross-cultural comparisons of CX metrics can be risky and may lead to drawing the wrong conclusions. So, how can we factor in cultural awareness?

  1. Trending CX data for each market: Instead of comparing CX scores amongst different markets, it is advisable to trend scores over time for each market separately. You can then compare the year-over-year progress in each market. This analysis will give you a comparable indicator of CX improvements for each country.

  2. Using regional CX industry benchmarks: I came across different practices for comparing CX experience in a specific region. Some CX practitioners use global industry benchmarks or regional non-industry-specific benchmarks. For instance, avoid using a global or a US industry benchmark for a specific experience in the UK market. Scores for the same brand or experience will vary from one country to another and will also be different from one industry to another. Taking into account regional and industry aspects are crucial when it comes to accurately using CX benchmarks.

  3. Comparing operational scores: Operational metrics can also be a good way to determine each country’s CX progress – such as the number of surveys or the number of cases closed. For our Voice of the Customer (VOC) program at Avanade, we have a mechanism in place for tracking and reporting operational performance in each market; it provides us with insights on how every country is progressing and how quickly they are implementing changes to address customers’ issues.

Be culture-aware
Customer experience data can be easily misinterpreted in multicultural markets. Be sure you are using the right methods to compare cross-cultural CX metrics – trend CX data for each market over time, use regional CX industry benchmarks, and compare operational CX metrics. Cultural awareness in CX is crucial when it comes to comparing CX data across different countries. Make sure you are drawing valid conclusions.

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