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Bonus: We Asked CX Leaders at X4 About Their Top XM Challenges

Release Date: May 16, 2024 • Episode #1001

In this bonus episode, Pat Gibbons describes his experiences at the Qualtrics X4 event in Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 1-3. With thousands of experience management professionals in attendance, Pat had an opportunity to discuss the top challenges facing XM professionals within their own organizations. Hosted at the Walker exhibit booth, professionals were asked to participate in an unique exercise that demonstrated the concerns experience management leaders are facing.

Read more about X4 and details results from the exercise on our blog.


Pat Gibbons
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Hello, everyone. Chris Higgins here with another bonus episode of The CX Leader Podcast. Usually we feature content from interviews in the bonus episodes, but every once in a while, we have an opportunity to gather some informal feedback from experience management professionals. Well, at the recent Qualtrics X4 summit in Salt Lake City, we had one of those opportunities and I’m here with Pat Gibbons to talk about it. Welcome, Pat. It’s unusual for me to be interviewing you, but it seems like you had some fun asking people about their XM challenges. So how about starting with a quick overview of X4?
Well, yeah, X4 in my mind, is kind of an extravaganza when it comes to running an event for experience management professionals. It is without a doubt the most comprehensive event that featured probably 6 or 7 thousand experience management professionals from all facets. So customer experience, patient experience, employee experience, it featured businesses, nonprofit, all different types of experience management professionals with all kinds of sessions and and even entertainment that made the conference an experience in and of itself. So we had a unique opportunity as a sponsor there to have an exhibit. And that’s where we collected some feedback. That was kind of fun and pretty interesting.
All right. Well, tell us a little bit about what you did to get this feedback.
All right. So what we did we we decided we wanted to do something engaging. And I’ll say up front, this is not a scientific study by any means, but I think it does have some interesting insights that would likely confirm some beliefs of a number of people. Uh, so at our exhibit, we set up a, an area where we asked questions about the challenges that XM professionals face. So we asked, what are the biggest challenges to making XM work in your organization? We provided five different choices. So first, resources: securing the resources necessary to support XM goals and initiatives. Next, engagement and alignment: ensuring employees are on board with XM objectives and understand their roles. Third, data integration: consolidating all the right data from all the right sources to truly understand customers and employees. Fourth, action and change: so driving the necessary actions and improvements to really make a difference. And finally, fifth was impact: ensuring our XM strategy and programs result in quantifiable value for the organization. So we asked those, but what was kind of fun was we gave them, instead of just asking them to fill out a sheet of paper, we had glass cylinders for each of those responses that corresponded, and we gave them three marbles. One was gold, one was silver, one was white, and we asked them to place them in the cylinder that corresponded to their answer. Gold was to be their top answer, their top challenge. Silver their second, white their third. That’s kind of how, uh, how the process worked.
Well, that sounds fun and engaging. Uh, how did it go, what people think, what were the results?
Well, it was interesting to see, you know, how it unfolded and how much thought people put into it. Some of some people would very quickly go to their choices. Others would really contemplate it and read every word. But here’s how it kind of came out. And this is total marbles, uh, you know, in in each cylinder. Number one was action and change. Number two, engagement and alignment within the organization. And then number three, four and five are virtual ties. So action and change was 169. Engagement and alignment 141. Total marbles resources was third at 122 marbles Data Integration at 121 and impact at 120. So interesting how it kind of panned out, but here’s what I found to be even more interesting. So the total marbles is one thing, but there were three key things that stood out when you dig into the numbers a little deeper and start to to look at, well, how did they decide which was their top second and third? So here’s what we found. First of all, action and change is truly a challenge for XM professionals. Not only was it number one in total marbles, but the highest percentage of marbles that were in that cylinder were gold. So 67 gold, but it also contained 58 silver and 44 white marbles.
So that was number one. The second one was that data integration is apparently a top challenge for a lot of XM professionals. So if you recall, that was one that was fourth on the list or kind of in that virtual tie zone. But if we had only given them one marble, it would have been second because 51 of their marbles were gold. Okay. So I thought that was interesting. There were some that were really sensitive to the fact that if I can’t get all the data together, then there’s not much else I can do.
And then the third was that impact is kind of a curious one. It just doesn’t seem like XM leaders are focused on impact, at least not yet. And the reason I say that is the distribution was dramatically different. So of those only 19 were gold marbles, top challenge and 41 silver and 60 were white. So most half of the people, exactly half of the people that used one of their marbles to vote on impact, used it as their third choice. So I don’t think that means that people are saying are impacts not important. I think they’re saying, I can’t get all this other stuff lined up to even begin to calculate the impact.
Yeah. So were you surprised at those results or did they kind of align with what we know anecdotally about what’s on the professionals minds?
Yeah, I think the the response of having action be clearly the number one did not surprise me. I think we hear that a lot from people is that they do a lot of work, but really prompting action in their organization is often very difficult. Um, but I think, you know, the focus on data integration was something that I see as, you know, something clearly emerging, you know, particularly now that so much discussion is around AI and so forth, I think experience management professionals know that data is going to be just such a key part of all this. The the impact role, I guess, is a little bit surprising. I keep wanting to believe that that’s moving faster, that more and more XM professionals are saying, I’ve got to show that this matters in the organization, and I have to calculate it to a number. But we’ll get there. And hopefully, uh, companies like Walker can help with that.
Yeah. Now I understand there was one last step at the end of this exercise. Tell us a little bit about that.
Well, yeah, this was kind of the bonus was after people voted and they generally said, well this is kind of fun. What a fun way to, you know, gather some feedback. We said, well, there is one more step. And we held out a box that had a bunch of black envelopes in it, and we invited them to take an envelope at random and inform them that in each of the envelopes there was cash. There was one bill – could have been a dollar, but it could have been up to $100. And we had them open the open the envelope and they would see whether they got a one, a five, a ten or whatever. And everybody’s usually kind of excited or surprised that there was actually cash in the envelope. But then we said, uh, you know, here are your options. It’s yours to keep, no questions asked, no judgment. However, if you like, you can give it back to us and we will donate it to Five for the Fight, which is Qualtrics’ philanthropy for cancer research. And the vast majority of people donated their money. Now, granted, there was one person that pulled a $100 bill. I don’t blame them for keeping it. Several pulled $50 bills. Um, most of them kept it, but not all. Some made a $50 donation, but the vast majority of people were very generous and we were able to raise, I believe it was $1,340. And Walker will round that up to $1,500 and make a nice donation to Five for the Fight.
That’s great. It’s great to see the generosity of our CX professionals at work. Thanks, Pat for sharing about your fun and the insights we gain from X4. And I understand we’re putting together a blog post about this as well. So if you want to read more about this and see some photos of the booth and how we collected this information, head over to walkerinfo.com/blog. And if you want to listen to more episodes of The CX Leader Podcast, of course, visit cxleaderpodcast.com. And remember, we’re also on YouTube. That’s right, we’re posting all our episodes on YouTube so you can visit walkerinfo.tv and listen there as well. Thanks for listening.
* This transcript was created using an A.I. tool and may contain some mistakes. Email podcast@walkerinfo.com with any questions or corrections.