CEM 2021:
IKEA number one in international CEM Benchmark

Based on our study on the CEM 2021 International Benchmark, IKEA is this year’s leader in managing customer experiences. The Finnish telecom and digital service provider Elisa places second. Science and technology company SCIEX lands third.

  • 91 Respondents
  • 81 Organisations
  • 30+ Industries
  • 54 Index

Top companies 2021

See 2020 results


A good half of the organisations participating in this international benchmark reach the second highest level of customer experience maturity.

This year, a few organisations scored also high enough overall points to reach the highest level of maturity (Visionary). The second highest maturity level (Executive) was reached by one fourth of the (25%) respondents (2020: 28%).

As many as 54% of the respondents achieved the second lowest (Apprentice) level (2020: 61%), and now only 15% percent stayed at the lowest level (Survivor) (2020: 11%) . On the average, organisations reached an overall score of 54 for Shirute Customer Experience Management Index™ (on a scale from 0 to 100).

According to the study, organisations are confident that they provide good customer experiences. 

Altogether, 70% (2020: 71%) of the respondents believe that they offer better customer experiences than their rivals. The goals of the respondents are set high. More than eight out of ten (85%) (2020: 91%) organisations want to stand out from their competitors in their industry by developing their customer experience management. About one fifth (21%) aim to become better than any other organisation across industries (2020: 22%).

The efforts for customer experience management are concretely visible in business figures.

Now only 67% of the respondents indicate that customer experience management related activities have had a positive effect also on the results of the organisation during the past year (2020: 78%).

Respondents have recognised the strategic importance of customer experience management in their businesses.

Customer understanding is in the overall strategy for 90% of the organisations (2020: 99%). As many as 69% of the respondents have defined customer experience management as one of their main strategic goals.

Less than half of the organisations have or are considering a dedicated budget for customer experience management – investments are still increasing from last year.

Over half of the organisations (60%) already have or are considering a dedicated budget for customer experience management (2020: 67%). More than one tenth (12%) of the respondents are planning to have a dedicated budget. The corresponding figure in Finland is at the same level (2020: 13% vs 8%). About 48% of the respondents already have a dedicated budget (2020: 54%).

Nearly seven out of ten (67%) say that they intend to invest more in CX development projects during the upcoming 12 months (2020: 71%). This figure has dropped in Finland to the same level (2020: 75%). As many as 25% believe they are going to invest a lot more both internationally and in Finland (2020: 30% vs 32%).

The amount of development projects has decreased during the second year of the pandemic.

This year, only 69% of the respondents report that their company has a lot of development projects related to customer experience development (2020: 82%). This figure has dropped to 73% on the Finnish level (2020: 87%).

Development projects are coordinated in 45% of the organisations represented in the results (2020: 57%). However, almost one-third of the respondents’ organisations (29%) have not assigned a person responsible for customer experience development (2020: 25%).

Organisations have a smaller number of named resources working in CX development roles.

Most commonly, 1-2 employees work full-time in CX development. This is the case in over one fifth or responding organisations. A fifth (19%) of respondents have an average team size of 3-5 employees, similar to last year. In almost a third of the companies, there are 6 employees or more working in CX development roles.

Now less than seven out of ten (65%) of the respondents’ organisations have a team or unit in charge of customer experience development (2020: 77%).

CEM International 2021 (TOP 10 scorers):


2. Elisa


4. Fortum

4. Sokos Hotels

6. LocalTapiola

6. Mandatum Life

8. Raiffeisen Bank

8. Stockmann

10. Valio

About this study


The CEM 2021 Benchmark is the most comprehensive international study evaluating the CEM capabilities and competences of organisations around the world. CXPA Finland and Shirute have been studying the current state of CEM in Finland since 2013. This study was originally based on research conducted in the U.S. by Temkin Group.

The participating organisations were evaluated against the Shirute Customer Experience Management Index™ to understand the level of CEM maturity internationally.

This index measures, e.g. how systematic and goal-oriented the activities are, how well the respondents are organising themselves, how much they co-ordinate their various CX development projects, how customer experiences are measured, and how much they invest or plan to invest in customer experience management.

It is important to notice that the index evaluates only how systematic the intentions of the participants are, as reported by themselves. It does not take a stand as to the content of the customer experiences, nor their quality from the point of view of customers, i.e. the results of the CEM activities. This aspect can be measured with other indexes that are based on exercises such as focus group interviews, customer journey mapping etc. Or try one of our CEM Audits to receive our expert opinion on your skills in various CEM competency areas.


The data was gathered through an online form and phone interviews in May-December.

The target group consisted of top 500 companies, public administration and the most famous brands. Altogether, 92 CX professionals from 82 organisations from different industries participated. A good third (35%) of these organisations average a turnover of more than 100 million euros and 55% over 20 million. A little bit less than a half (44%) have over 1 000 employees.

The study consists of about 20 questions answered by customer experience management practitioners. Based on their answers, they are scored against the Shirute Customer Experience Management Index™. The index evaluates five areas related to customer experience management:

  1. Scope
  2. Organisation and governance
  3. Culture
  4. Processes
  5. Tools

The overall index score is based on the average points the organisation scores for sub-indexes in each of these categories.

Buy report

Please read the press release related to this study. If you would like more detailed information, you can buy our full report.

You can read more about CEM Benchmark on our website. We can also provide you with a deeper analysis of your results. If you need an expert view on your current state, we can audit your CEM practices in different capability areas and help you kick-started to the next level.

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Sirte pihlaja
Sirte Pihlaja
+358 50 5700 190
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If you want us to analyse the scores of your organisation more specifically, please leave us with your contact information and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you have not participated in this study earlier, and would like to, please let us know and we will take care of including you.

    CXPA Finland is the local networking team of the global Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) in Finland. We want to help organisations provide great customer experiences to build their success.We organise events with different CX/EX themes on a regular basis.
    Shirute is the first Customer Experience Agency in Finland. Customer Experience Path® is a registered trademark of Shirute. We are one of the founding members of the global Customer Experience Professionals Association.
    Surveypal delivers enterprise-class feedback management and survey software as an integrated or stand-alone online service. Designed for companies of any size, Surveypal allows businesses to collect, analyze and share critical feedback information and turn it into actionable insights.
    MyCustomer.com is the leading online resource for customer service and customer experience professionals, with over 50,000 members. We have been sharing news, practical advice, best practices, case studies and resources for nearly two decades, covering every facet of customer experience management.