Most organizations are very early on their journey towards fully adopting Experience Management (XM). Despite this lack of XM maturity, almost every organization has some elements of XM already underway. They often survey some customers and employees and report on a set of metrics. While that’s a good start, it’s not nearly the finish line.
So how can you tell if your XM efforts are moving in the right direction? The key to understanding how you’re doing is to develop a clear picture of where you’re heading. As we’ve written many times, the goal of XM is to build a set of capabilities that enables an organization to:
- Continuously Learn. XM helps organizations more effectively sense and interpret what’s going on all around them, collecting and analyzing signals from the actions and feedback of employees, partners, vendors, customers, and even competitors.
- Propagate Insights. XM helps organizations put actionable intelligence in the hands of people across their ecosystem who can use it, creating seamless access to the right information in the right form at the right time.
- Rapidly Adapt. XM helps organizations act on the insights they’ve uncovered at an increasingly faster pace, finding ways to create new experiences and renovate existing ones.
Key Components of Modern XM
With those three XM capabilities in mind, examine the chart below and ask yourself: Are my efforts stuck in an outdated mode or are they heading towards modern XM?
While it’s unlikely that your organization has a fully modern XM approach (very few do), you should still be updating your efforts with the goal of establishing the following:
- Dynamic Instrumentation. Organizations often deploy a consistent set of surveys to the same grouping of people. This static approach breaks down as an organization’s priorities and operating environment change over time. Modern XM efforts take into account the organization’s shifting priorities to adjust solicited and unsolicited listening posts and sampling criteria to meet a changing set of needs. For instance, a company may oversample feedback from people of color during their onboarding process to connect with a strategy they have on better serving that target segment. In addition to adjusting survey questions and sampling approaches, organizations adopting modern XM look for critical experience data they need to drive action from areas beyond surveys, such as contact center interactions and social media.
- Actionable Intelligence. Organizations often focus considerable energy on producing standard measurements through reports and dashboards. While metrics can be valuable, they only become valuable when they lead to improvements. Instead of this repetitive reporting on past activities, Modern XM efforts focus on the future by providing highly tailored actionable insights that are delivered through various push and pull mechanisms. As the combination of experience data and operational data grows, they use more advanced and automated analytics to uncover important and emerging patterns in both structured and unstructured data. For instance, people leaders receive recommendations about what they should prioritize to improve their team’s engagement levels, and product managers receive alerts whenever there are any meaningful insights pointing to a feature that needs to be improved.
- Adaptive Processes. Most organizations use their XM-based insights to develop the business case for making changes. But these periodic improvements only capture a very small fraction of the potential value. As the flow of actionable insights increases, organizations will differentiate themselves based on their ability to quickly absorb and respond to them. This isn’t about adding more items to a prioritized wish list. It’s about embedding insights within the normal flow of day-to-day operations. How does this work at scale? By automatically triggering workflows based on insights. For instance, adjusting contact center scripts based on a combination of experience data (customer satisfaction level) and operational data (recent purchases), configuring sales training schedules based on insights from a combination of employee feedback and performance levels, sending an immediate refund after a complaint from an important customer, or adjusting supply chain orders based on new insights from an emerging market segment.
- Organizational Discipline. Organizations often start their XM journeys with a set of siloed projects, without making any real connections across areas such as customer experience and employee experience. They use a number of different systems, doing very similar types of activities. While these one-off efforts can be valuable on their own, they don’t deliver the pervasive change that comes from leveraging and enhancing a set of XM capabilities across the entire organization. Modern XM efforts establish a widespread and engrained capability built on a common set of XM competencies and a core XM platform. The foundation for this discipline is the XM Operating Framework.
The great news is that even immature XM efforts can provide value, so don’t scrap what you’re doing. But to capture the transformational potential of XM, you’ll need to modernize.
The bottom line: It’s time to modernize your outdated XM efforts.
Bruce Temkin is the Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute.