X4 Summit: Takeaways on Experience Management

Mar 13, 2018

Recently, customer experience has become a hot topic for many of the utilities we work with and coming from a customer service background, I've got a personal drive toward providing great customer experiences. So, I was very excited to attend the 2018 X4 Summit hosted by Qualtrics, a leading experience management company. This summit focused on Experience Management (XM). XM is the idea of tracking, evaluating, and improving all of the engagements with their company—focusing beyond the metrics and taking action toward improvement. The four pillars of XM include the following:

  1. Customer
  2. Brand
  3. Product
  4. Employee

The Keynote speakers did a great job contributing their insights to XM. Arianna Huffington discussed how work-life balance can affect XM and professional rock climber, Alex Honnold, talked about the extreme preparation he went through to climb El Capitan in Yosemite—a 3,000 foot rock wall—with no ropes. Tony Hawk, professional skateboarder, talked about his experience learning how he needed to be personally accountable for his brand, and recognizing his place in the industry. Lin Manuel-Miranda shared his creative process to deliver the country's most popular musical "Hamilton," and how collaborating with his peers enabled him to grow and learn.

One speaker talked about a simple, yet innovative solution to combat bullying in schools. They set up a simple text message survey that immediately notifies the Principal of bullying. This has really helped to damper bullying in the schools where it's been introduced because it gives the kids a voice in situations where it is often difficult to speak up or physically intervene.

We learned about the differences in types of data—X Data vs. O Data. Operational Data (O Data) is pretty easy to gather and analyze; most of us in the energy efficiency world look at this as a measure of program success. Think energy savings, incentives paid, how many apps processed, time to process apps. You get the picture. But, when it comes to "X" data—or Experience Data— while we may have mechanisms in place to capture this, do we actually understand it and know what to do with it?

Collecting and understanding what the data says is only half the battle. Figuring out how to address it, and making real changes will help us all grow and improve experiences. Don't just think about "experience" for one group of people, or one type of transaction. Every person and every transaction contributes to overall experience management. And the better we know and address experiences among the four pillars, the more successful we'll be. Some industries are successfully figuring out how to improve experiences by analyzing data. The energy efficiency industry could benefit from these examples to help improve the customer experience. Here are a few additional takeaways from the sessions I attended:

  • Consider all your customer touchpoints and go through exercises to determine if you're giving your audience messaging that is valuable to them at the time and frequency that maximize their experience with your brand. Are you over-communicating, under-communicating, providing communication with no value? Customer journey mapping helps highlight the touchpoints in the various customer experiences, but be sure your organization is dedicated to committing the resources required to do it right.
  • Providing the right level of insight to the right audience can really improve your ability to enact change. Align your reporting with your audience and what you need from them. For example,frontline staff needs to hear a different level of information than the C-Suite.
  • If you're committed to improving Net Promoter Scores, you may need to make big changes and work with agility to identify and institute changes. Bain & Co. recommends dedicating and empowering a specific cross-functional team to identify and implement changes.
  • A more satisfied workforce delivers a greater customer experience. So how do you get employees to always give their best? Surprisingly, financial incentives directly tied to employee performance may actually hinder good long-term scores. Instead, create incentive programs that work by connecting with other psychological reward centers, such as the want to do good, the want to be recognized, and the want to give back.

We take the customer experience seriously at Nexant. Everything we do comes back to satisfying customers and ultimately improving the world we live in. I’m looking forward to transforming these takeaways into actions and finding new ways to use our data to gain insights on how customers use our technology-enabled services.