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SMG combines end-to-end customer experience and employee experience management software with hands-on professional services to deliver actionable insights and help brands navigate uncertainty with precision.

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COVID-19 XM Playbook

Download SMG's industry-specific XM Playbooks and use the interactive strategy maps to keep pace with rapidly evolving customer + employee expectations—tracking your progress across a 3-phased approach designed to help your organization emerge from the pandemic as a stronger brand.

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customer experience
Customer Experience

Your customers and patients are talking, and we speak their language. We know the right questions to ask and the best way to deliver actionable insights that help you impact the conversation and drive customer satisfaction.

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employee engagement
Employee Experience

Your customer experience is tied to your employee experience. We have the tools that uncover the heart of your organization, decreasing turnover and increasing sales performance.

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Brand Research

What customers think and how they act can be different. That's why we track pre-purchase, purchase, and even non-purchase behavior against your brand and your competition.



We make your business our business. We connect what matters to your customers with what matters to you, understanding the unique behavior motivators and operational demands of your industry.

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Digital CX

87% of shoppers begin product searches online, which means digital touchpoints are your first chance to make a great impression. SMG eTrack helps you gain deeper insights on both purchaser and non-purchaser behaviors with capabilities like an always-on feedback tab, session replay, and targeted survey triggers. And with integrated reporting, you can see digital feedback alongside your other touchpoints—so you understand exactly how to improve and optimize the customer journey to increase conversion rates and drive loyalty.

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Why SMG is the Industry Leader for Managed and Professional Services

There are many reasons to be proud of our performance in Forrester Wave™: Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q1 2020. But we’re especially excited to be recognized by our clients for “the strong value they receive from [our] combination of technology and services.” Want to know more about the “actionable high-quality insights” clients are raving about?

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Local to global: How Shell tested market-level changes to make worldwide improvements

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Delivering safe service that wins trust + loyalty

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Ditch your CX data silos

From Our Blog

How the coronavirus is impacting this holiday season + ways retailers should adjust their customer experience strategy

Whether your brand is already in holiday prep mode or slightly late to the game, SMG’s most recent research—gathered through our proprietary market intelligence tool BrandGeek®—will be a useful source as you navigate your way through this unprecedented holiday shopping season.

Here are the top 3 takeaways we uncovered from talking to nearly 10,000 consumers about their holiday shopping plans:

1. Financial concerns will have some impact—but not as much as you may think

Though the pandemic has created economic issues—with more than half of panelists noting financial concerns—almost 60% plan to spend the same amount on gifts this year. And while 21% say they will spend less, this number could be offset by the 20% who are planning to spend more.


To help quantify what that means in terms of actual spend, we asked respondents the amount they plan to allocate to their shopping budget and found 47% plan to spend $499 or less, whereas 24% plan to spend more than $1,000.

It’s also important to note our research found a positive correlation between a state’s unemployment rate and financial concern. While that isn’t a big surprise, it does mean geographical differences could have a big impact on consumer spend and brands should consider this factor as they plan for the season.


2. Brands that demonstrate value will win big with customers

Though financial concerns aren’t impacting how much consumers plan to spend, they are having a big impact on where customers plan to shop and what they plan to buy. Looking for more bang for their buck, 32% of respondents said “Value for the money” was the most important factor when deciding where to shop for holiday gifts—which was more than twice as important as the next factor on the list.

03-most-important-factors-when shopping-for-holiday-gifts-during-pandemic

With consumers’ current penchant for value, it’s also no big surprise the most popular gifts this year could be considered more practical than frivolous. Clothing and gift cards were the two most popular gifts, whereas self-care and experiences were in the lower half.


3. Most shopping will be done online—and soon

While it’s no big secret e-commerce has been trending up over the last decade, we have yet to see the majority of consumers opt to exclusively shop online—until now. Our data shows 3 in 4 panelists plan to do most of their holiday shopping online this year, and the majority will not shop in-store at all.


This is a big change when we look at 2019 Black Friday weekend when only 3% of respondents planned to shop exclusively online. Of course, this is without the pandemic factor. Today, with more than half of consumers concerned about catching COVID-19 when shopping in-store, brands must prioritize the digital experience as this could be the only way they interact with the customer.

And those digital efforts can’t wait. With more consumers shopping online, there’s much less anticipation for traditional holiday season experiences—like the mad rush of Black Friday shopping. This has blurred the lines of a distinct shopping season, with 42% of consumers saying they plan to shop earlier this year. In fact, close to two-thirds of customers plan to have most of their shopping done before Black Friday.


Prepare for a new kind of holiday shopping season

We’ve entered unchartered territory—one where heightened financial and health concerns have greatly altered consumer preferences and behavior. But what we’ve learned over the last seven months of studying consumer trends amid COVID-19 is this: Brands with an effective experience management (XM) strategy—that leverages real-time consumer feedback and enables them to act with agility—will be the ones to win (or retain) customer loyalty.

This means retailers must adjust their XM strategy to accommodate evolving consumer expectations this holiday season. To guide your efforts, we’ve created an interactive XM playbook—with a phased strategy map and personal status tracker—designed to help you navigate these uncertain times with precision, act quickly on insights, and emerge stronger. Download your complimentary copy.

Paul Tiedt | Senior VP, Research

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