The Science Behind Apex™ Scoring System: Our Methodology

Effective customer experience measurement needs to go beyond arbitrary metrics like NPS. Research shows that behavior can be predicted and understood through a series of psychological systems that work in concert to drive a particular action.

Designed over the past 5 years alongside behavioral scientists, psychologists, and major brand leaders, Apex™ is a CX measurement tool created with that principle in mind. It strives to do one thing (quantify audience relationships) for one purpose (to guide better outcomes for brands and the audiences they seek to engage with). 

The Apex™ Science

Apex™ assesses your audience relationships across 16 distinct attitudes (8 emotional, 8 rational) that your audience holds about your brand. Why 16? That came from our testing. We determined that there are 16 relationship-driving ways that any person can relate to any brand in any category. The strength and direction of those attitudes is what defines the relationship they have, and want to have, with you. 

The 16 attitudes Apex™ measures your brand on are:

Joyful - To be viewed as joyful, a brand must evoke an internal sense of peace, gratitude and delight in its customers. This joyful experience is linked to customer retention, repeated purchase behavior and positive attitudes toward the brand's products or services.

Uncomplicated - To be viewed as uncomplicated, a brand must be efficient, easy to deal with and provide a level of effortlessness that customers have become accustomed to. Research shows that giving and receiving seamless customer service is pleasurable and associated with positive feelings.

Empathetic - To be viewed as empathetic, your brand must understand, share in and respond to your customers' feelings. When employees behave empathetically, brands experience increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, resulting in more significant positive word-of-mouth and repurchase intentions.

Principled - To be viewed as principled, your brand must take action, empower employees to respond and be guided by a genuine interest in improving your customers' well-being. According to one study, when brands act with a conscience, they experience recognition benefits and an increase in brand image.

Predictable - To be viewed as predictable, your customers should feel at ease knowing what to expect when interacting with your brand. This predictability offers protection against intolerance of uncertainty, a common characteristic that drives people to avoid the unknown.

Involved - To be considered involved, your brand must be socially conscious and give back to its community. While giving back can be costly, it may be well worth it. For example, one study found that engaging in social work can powerfully and positively impact the evaluations of a brand's products and services.

Authentic - Your brand must appear genuine and real to be viewed as authentic. A study found that perceptions of brand authenticity can increase the perceived quality of the brand's products, even if the products are negatively regarded.

Honest - To be viewed as honest, your organization’s leaders must be willing to have tough conversations, be vulnerable and ensure that employees always feel looped in, even if the future is uncertain. Studies show that when employees don’t feel adequately informed, they interpret it as social rejection.

Distinct - Humans have a natural desire to feel special and distinct from “the masses”. Therefore, your brand can succeed by offering products and services that enhance the customers' sense of self and social image. One study found that the uniqueness of a product contributes to how useful customers perceive the product to be.

Affordable - To be viewed as affordable, your brand’s products or services must be tailored to fit your customers' unique needs and have value beyond their intended purpose.

Dependable - To be viewed as dependable, your brand must prove to customers that you can be counted on, to be honest, value their well-being and support the causes that are important to them. One study found that dependability was significantly linked to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Responsive - To be viewed as responsive, your brand must equip your employees to provide customer service that is warm, easily accessible and efficient. Research shows 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer service.

Respectful - To be viewed as respectful, your brand must treat your customers as though they have value far beyond how much money they spend on your products or services. Research shows that the more customers feel respected by a brand, the more they trust that brand, leading to higher profits.

Forward-thinking - To be viewed as forward-thinking, a brand must create products or services that are both original and meaningful. These innovations can cause customers to experience a release of dopamine, making it feel like there’s a possible reward just around the corner. To support this, research shows that brand innovation can directly impact the customers' perceptions of how much a product or service is worth.

Relatable - Throughout history, humans have become hard-wired to seek out their tribe. When brands craft a relatable product or service, customers feel more connected to them. One study found that consumers who found out that they shared the same birthday or birthplace with a service representative reported more favorable attitudes and higher purchase intentions.

Meaningful - To be viewed as meaningful, your brand must motivate your customers to care about something lasting, something more significant. In one study, researchers found that seemingly irrelevant product features served as the biggest inspiration for brand differentiation.

We’ve worked hard to make sure getting your Apex™ Score and insights is very straightforward. From your dashboard, you can access your Apex™ survey questions - we’ve geared them towards your specific brand and audience. The questions are simply added to any new or existing audience survey, or if you prefer, we can do it for you. 

The Apex™ survey questions are short, taking most respondents less than 90 seconds to complete. You’ll want to get at least 50 survey responses. As long as the right audience is responding to your survey, there is no rule on the method or frequency of your survey, though most of our clients do it at least quarterly. 

The Apex™ Algorithm

With survey responses collected, the survey data is uploaded as a raw excel file back into the platform. Our platform then uses a machine learning-enabled regression-based algorithm to determine the importance of the 16 attitudes in driving both brand advocacy and intent to use. Your Apex™ Score is a function of how well your brand is performing (from direct survey feedback) on the attitudes most important to your audience (according to our algorithm).

With your Apex™ Score and insights, we will make it clear where your brand’s strengths are, and where there’s work to be done. You’ll also be given a clear set of recommendations, examples, and science-backed explanations for each attitude guiding you on steps you can take to deepen audience engagement. And because it’s all tied to audience behaviors, you know the steps you take from Apex™ will have a direct impact on your brand’s success. And where a typical research report might take weeks to come back, your Apex™ report is ready in less than a day.

Tracking Apex™ over time will allow you to stay ahead of audience trends and expectations, by getting ongoing clear feedback on where you can stay the course, where you should double-down efforts, and where you need to pivot. Beyond overall brand tracking and monitoring, it can also be used in specific applications such as measuring the impact of brand campaigns, validating ad creative, optimizing content, or tracking competitors.