2022 CX Industry Report


Over the past several years, it’s become increasingly clear that great customer experiences (CX)—the kind that can only be developed through a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and expectations—is an essential requirement for any successful organization. Even before the pandemic, over the past several years, all indications pointed to organizations needing to become more customer-centric to be successful. Everyone from individual contributors to executives understood the business value of customer empathy, achieved via an established human insight strategy. More teams are reporting that their organization is more focused on its customer, more individuals are bought into the value of creating great experiences, and more leaders appear to be leaning on superior customer experience as a means to keep their business relevant and competitive. 

As we’ve seen in previous years, teams appear to be ready and willing to make human insight a core part of their business strategy and daily operations. Leaders appear to be on board as well, but that’s not enough—teams are still struggling to make customer empathy a regular habit, citing a lack of organizational support, infrastructure, resources, training, and time. 

Part of the challenge of having so much support and buy-in from across teams, roles, and industries, is that just about everyone now understands that accessing customer perspectives to stay relevant and competitive isn’t a want; it’s a requirement. As customers’ needs continue to evolve and grow, so do those of the teams creating experiences for them. The challenge now is keeping up with that demand. The pent-up demand for rich, actionable human insight is erupting across every industry, every size of organization, in every corner of the world. 

UserTesting’s 2022 CX Industry Survey reveals how the exploding demand for human insight is impacting the industry, creating new challenges for teams and leaders alike. Gone are the days when ‘customer’ only referred to someone making a purchase from a business. Customers today vary widely. For UX designers, the customer may be the end-user of a product or experience, while for marketers, it’s whoever might view an advertisement or read some marketing material, and for HR teams, the customers are employees. In today’s experience economy, anyone who takes part in creating an experience, whether digital or physical, is creating that experience for their customer and this report is written with all of them in mind. 

As the world continues to adapt to a new way of living and working, keeping the people who use the products and experiences involved in their creation and improvement will be both a basic requirement and a differentiating factor for business success.

I welcome your comments and encourage you to share your experiences with me directly via Twitter at @janelle_estes.

Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer


Human insight is in high demand


While early adopters have been evangelizing for a more customer-centric approach to building products and experiences for decades, these past few years have been a driving force in bringing CX to the forefront. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a leader or practitioner who touches their customers’ journey in any way who doesn’t agree that the customer’s perspective adds invaluable insight. Time and again, human insight has proven to help create better experiences and promote customer loyalty—not to mention, reduce time-to-market, rework, and avoid costly damage to brand reputation. According to a Forrester Total Economic Impact™ report on the UserTesting Human Insight Platform, investing in human insight enabled teams to, “prove out the value of a customer-centric approach through profitable growth.” The study also concluded that organizations that invested in the platform saw a 655% return on investment, including increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

But what comes after all that buy-in? Once teams understand the value they gain from human insight, the next logical step is to start building continuous customer learnings into a team’s day-to-day activities. And learning from your customers can be alluring—once teams get a taste for what they can achieve with those insights, they naturally want more. As that demand grows, organizations are struggling on how best to organize resources, scale tools and processes, and empower teams across an organization to directly learn from customers. And therein lies the challenge for many organizations today. 

The CX bandwagon may have taken some time to become mainstream, but once it did, the response was strong and swift. Having a dedicated team for UX/CX research has increased by 39% since we first asked the question in 2020.


Yet even with dedicated researchers, teams are still running into roadblocks when it comes to human insight. When asked what prevents them from gathering customer feedback, teams reported that the top three barriers to getting regular feedback on the experiences they create were lack of resources, lack of access to feedback platforms, and lack of time.


And even among the UX/CX researchers, most report that they don’t have the capacity to take on more work—less than half, 44%, say that they can keep up with the requests they get for research projects, which aligns with what other teams report as well.


The demand for human insight has already reached its tipping point and has now exceeded what any one team can reasonably meet.

Hear teams talk about their challenges meeting the demand for human insight

Improving CX maturity hasn’t translated into execution (yet)


Despite not being able to meet the demands for human insight, many organizations still report that they’re improving their CX maturity. In fact, since we first asked the question in 2020, teams have consistently reported improvements year over year—50% improvement of teams reporting they’re Optimized or Visionary between 2020 and 2022.



But improving maturity doesn’t always translate into fully executing on a CX strategy—at least not right away. Teams still aren’t conducting regular research on key experiences. Less than 50% of all marketers, designers, and product teams reported that they’re regularly getting feedback on key experiences they create. For example, only 40% of marketers said they regularly test emails, 37% of designers say they test mobile experiences, and only 47% of product teams report that they’re regularly relying on customer feedback to diagnose customer behavior analytics.

Among all teams, excluding researchers, not a single group has a majority of people regularly testing the experiences critical to their roles, and that seems to show—53% of respondents reported that their organization’s CX needs improvement. Yet, at the same time, more than half of all respondents indicate they’re coordinated around the customer experience and have a deep understanding of their customers’ journeys.


So what does this all mean? Are organizations really not as CX-mature as they think, or is there a lag between perceived maturity and execution on CX strategies? In addition to the challenges associated with the execution of CX, teams may also be struggling with how to take their aspirational goals for creating more customer-centered experiences and translate those into actionable processes and workflows that can be scaled across teams and the organization. 

It may also be unclear who’s ultimately responsible for CX within an organization. When asked who “owns” the customer experience within their organization, there was no clear direction most teams were taking. The most common response was that “everyone owns it,” but even that only added up to 23% of the responses.


These, along with the challenges mentioned earlier, are cultural, structural, and logistical challenges at the organizational level. Teams can’t meet the demand for human insight if their organizations aren’t structured to operationalize the strategy, and that’s where executives come into play. Organizations are relying on executive leadership to help address that last mile of the CX maturity journey.

Hear teams talk about executing on CX strategies and goals

CX is both a challenge and the solution for many execs


In previous years, executives appeared to have a fairly evenly-distributed set of priorities. Even last year, when the pandemic was at the top of everyone’s minds, execs reported other priorities being just as important, if not more. Yet this year, we see a drastic shift. 

Addressing market changes related to the pandemic was overwhelmingly a top priority, jumping to 65%, a 35% increase over last year. All other challenges were far more scattered, with the runners-up focused on growth (growing faster and attracting and retaining talent).


And how do executives plan to address these challenges? One strong indication is that executives are looking to customer experience to stay competitive and grow. A whopping 78% of executives noted that CX is a top investment area for them, and 76% agreed that customer feedback should be used to inform every decision.


Similar to the teams within these organizations, it’s clear executives recognize the value of human insight, but there’s a gap between expectations (or aspirations) and reality. Compare the fact that 80% of executives say they have a strategy in place to improve customer experience, yet only 19% of respondents would describe their organization as ‘Visionary’ when it comes to CX maturity.


A few more report that they fall into the ‘Optimized’ category, but even put together, those two groups make up less than half of respondents. The remaining 52% note that while they’re aware of the importance of great CX, their organization hasn’t implemented a strategy that the entire organization can follow.

So while executives may feel they have the strategy and investments in place to compete on the basis of customer experience, their teams are reporting otherwise. 

In an October 2021 report by Fortune and UserTesting on the ROI of Customer Empathy, 40% of CEOs indicated that they are personally responsible for ensuring that customer understanding underlies the entire process, everything from designing products, to taking them to market, to building great experiences.

Where do we go from here? Empowering empathy across your organization


While a certain level of uncertainty may well become the new normal for many organizations, one thing appears to remain constant: the need for accessing customer empathy through human insight. While budgets may have been uncertain as we approached the start of 2021, teams continue to grow and leaders cite CX as a top investment priority.

Organizations and teams are quickly adapting to a new way of working and thinking. For example, working remotely was once the outlier, yet now, over half of respondents (53%) say they expect to work mostly, if not fully, remotely one year from now. This evolution has opened the door to more innovative and flexible approaches to understanding customer needs. Many organizations used this massive shift in how the world operates to double down on improving their experiences, with 62% of organizations in the process of a digital transformation noting that the pandemic accelerated their efforts.

The coming months—and years—will prove to be a chance for organizations of all shapes and sizes to level the playing field through great customer experiences, powered by a culture of empathy and strategic human insight. 

The world will continue to change. The world’s need for human empathy and understanding won’t. The organizations that passionately commit to understanding their customers—whether that’s HR understanding employees, a B2B retailer understanding their vendors, or product and design teams understanding their end-users—will find themselves at the head of the pack, bolstered by loyal customers.                                                                                                                                                        

Empowering empathy across your organization

If your organization has committed to a customer-centered culture, you’ve already tackled one of the toughest challenges. The next step is to start preparing to scale human insight across your organization. How a team scales its human insight practice will depend somewhat on the organization’s size, industry, and budget. There are, however, a few key steps that are universal and a great way to establish a solid base for a growing CX practice.

Whether you’re an executive, manager, or individual contributor, you can use these tips to further communicate the vision for your team’s empathy-driven CX strategy. 

Solutions page - Marketing

Enable teams with the right solutions

Leaders must ensure that their teams are armed with the necessary solutions and resources to be successful—they must be easy to use and yield the outputs promised.

Solutions page - Research

Tie objectives to higher-level goals

A successful strategy ensures that teams tie their objectives to higher-level initiatives, ensuring that no team becomes myopic and that all activities tie back to key business objectives.

illustration of a heart inside of a circle

Model customer empathy

Teams should always be considering, "Is this the right experience for our customers?" This helps ensure teams are designing new products and solutions with empathy for their customers.

Once your team is primed and ready, you can take additional steps to further an empathy-driven culture, starting with these three steps:

Step 1: Empower teams across the organization

Over 69% of researchers noted that they want to empower employees across the organization to regularly gather insight from the customers they’re creating experiences for. While the desire may be there, one of the biggest challenges organizations face when scaling human insight is empowering all teams to listen to and connect with customers and regularly get their feedback. 

Organizations can empower teams through:

  • Show and tell: frequently share results from customer insights
  • 1:1 training: pair teams with experienced researchers
  • Conduct small, frequent studies: testing often with customers in small batches
  • Create scalable programs and templates: make steps repeatable and easy to learn
  • Share results: share results from studies across the organization

And remember, driving change across the organization and team cultures requires persistence and an iterative learning mindset. Find internal champions, create small wins, highlight the impact and progress, and tie wins back to business goals and metrics.

Step 2: Evangelize customer feedback

One of the most powerful motivators for a customer-obsessed organization is hearing directly from customers. Whether you’re sharing with a colleague, your team, or the entire organization, it’s important to highlight what you’ve discovered by interacting with customers.

Here are a few ways that we at UserTesting share human insight to keep the momentum going and inspire the entire organization to continue connecting with customers through feedback and insight.

  • Host viewing parties: This is a fun activity that not only allows teams to share customer videos and results but gets everyone in the same room and sparks important discussion and shared understanding of the challenges at hand.
  • Create highlight reels: According to a Forbes Insights report, 59% of executives prefer video to textual reports. Grabbing executive—and other teams’—attention and getting buy-in for customer feedback can be much easier when they can quickly and easily understand how customers are experiencing their brand.
  • Share key insights via Slack/instant messenger: Many organizations rely on instant messenger tools like Slack to stay connected across locations, departments, and roles. What better platform to use to quickly and easily share the latest ‘a-ha’ moments after conducting customer feedback? If you’re using the UserTesting platform, you can send out videos, clips, or highlight reels via Slack directly from the platform.
  • Make customer videos part of team meetings: Try kicking off every team meeting with a clip or highlight reel from a recent study and discussing how those insights will impact the team’s strategy.

Step 3: Develop a healthy, empathy-driven ecosystem

Once an organization has successfully empowered teams to directly engage with their customers, ask for feedback, and learn from their perspectives, it’s on its way to becoming a mature, empathy-driven CX ecosystem.

An organization with a healthy, empathy-driven ecosystem has implemented a shared, scalable practice across the entire customer experience with all business goals centered around the customer. Each team, department, and individual is a vital element to the overall health—and success—of the customer-centered ecosystem.

In the natural world, a healthy ecosystem is comprised of many varied organisms interacting with each other and their environment, each dependent upon the other for survival and success. The same principle applies when it comes to an organization’s CX ecosystem. Each of these elements on their own won’t be enough to sustain and drive great CX—they’re all tightly interrelated and need to work together to work successfully.

Methodology and survey results


In this ninth annual Customer Experience Industry Survey, we asked over 5,100 professionals from around the world* across a wide variety of industries how their organizations are approaching customer experience and conducting CX research.

The survey was divided into sections based on the respondent’s job role, plus a set of general questions asked of everyone.

  • Asked of everyone
  • Asked of marketers
  • Asked of designers
  • Asked of product teams
  • Asked of researchers
  • Asked of executives

*Countries represented in the survey: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, United Kingdom, United States




Asked of everyone





Asked of marketers





Asked of designers






Asked of product teams





Asked of researchers






Asked of executives