3 Customer Experience Takeaways From Qualtrics Converge Europe

The biggest customer experience trends as discussed by industry leaders from the likes of Gartner and Adidas at the first European edition of Qualtrics Converge.

This week saw tech company Qualtrics’ first annual summit hitting Europe. Hundreds of their customers and prospective customers within customer experience and academia attended the Qualtrics Converge at King’s Place in London.

Attendees had the chance to hear real life case studies, trends and challenges within the customer experience space from the likes of Adidas, Google, Three Ireland, Gartner, Bord Gáis Energy, and many more.

At CX Network we will be delving into some of the presentations in more depth in the coming weeks and we will share our interviews with some of the speakers, but for now here are our key takeaways for customer experience leaders.

Operational Data vs Experience Data

In his keynote speech, Qualtrics co-founder and CEO Ryan Smith (pictured) focused on the importance of data as he said that “real time information is so important as it enable to step in middle of experience and create heroic moments”. Related to this he shared the three trends that he and the team are predicting for the industry in the immediate future:

1) There is a new kind of data. This still surprises business even though in today’s world we’re more data-driven than ever before. More data isn’t the answer, but the right kind of data is. He mentioned the two types: operational data (OData) and experience data (XData).

While most firms have rich OData, their XData is poor. Operational data isn’t a competitive advantage any longer, because everyone has it so that’s where experience data comes. It’s the future of data.

2) We live in a new world. We live in a word where organisations are disproportionally rewarded when they give a great experience, and vice versa when it’s a poor (just look at the media storm following the United Airlines customer experience nightmare last week).

While 80 per cent of companies believe they deliver, just 8 per cent of their customers agree, creating a big experience gap. Businesses that don’t close this gap will fail in the future. The key is one feedback loop across all parts of the company, because it is the experiences created at each touch point that businesses will be competing on in the future.

3) Bringing everything together. Customers, employees, product and brand are the four core experiences of a business. Ryan said that the best companies in the world focus on brands, obsesses over customers and employees and absolutely nail their product. Any flaw with one can take out the others. To help focus on that, he introduced experience management, or XM for short. He described it like CRM in marketing; a system of records but specifically for experience data.

Don’t Innovate, Steal!

In a hilarious presentation by Ed Thomson, VP Distinguished Analyst (‘distinguished’, he said, meaning ‘old’ here) at Gartner, he went through the entire lifecycle of customer experience and the responsibilities of Chief Customer Officers within organisations today; from the make-up of teams and the seven types of customer experience, through to the key challenges and trends seen across all businesses.

However, the key message coming from his presentation was around innovation. Why innovate, when you can steal from organisations who have gone through a similar journey before you and have already worked out the kinks in their processes? He actively encouraged the audience members to steal their ideas, saying that when he goes to events to speak about innovation (he calls himself an ‘innovation ambassador’) the best bit is when people come talk to him afterwards to talk about their own innovative projects because he can then steal them too.

We like the way you think, Ed.

Customer Experience and Employee Experience

While employee engagement has long been a buzzword within the customer experience space, several of the presentations touched upon employee experience as an imperative part of the wider CX and how without it you can’t deliver your customers with a great experience either.

Stefan Hierl, Director of People Analytics at Adidas, said that customer experience drives employee experience, which in turn drives customer experience again. Sounds simple, right? And yet this is still not a part of many CX strategies today.

If you’re not there yet within your organisation, Stefan said the core components of a great employee experience to focus on are:

1) People pulse (making people topics measurable, creating actionable nights, focus on strategy and action, and empowering the organisation)

2) People insights (ad hoc surveys)

3) Employee journey experience (systematically listening to your people, capturing feedback about the experience, during moments that matter)

“Employee experience is key enabler to consumer-centricity and great consumer experiences,” Stefan concluded.