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Experience Management 101, Part 2

Release Date: December 10, 2019 • Episode #96

In the second part of a two-part series on the basics of experience management, or “XM,” Steve welcomes back Aimee Lucas from the Qualtrics XM Institute to discuss the six competencies CX leaders need to have to maximize their experience management efforts: lead, realize, activate, enlighten, respond, and disrupt.

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Steve:
In our last episode, we covered the basics of XM, or experience management. So let's take some time to cover how to become competent in its application.

Aimee:
The competencies really are the way that organizations master XM in a day-to-day sense and the behaviors and actions that it takes.

Steve:
Exploring the XM competency model on our way to better understanding experience management, on this episode of The CX Leader Podcast.

Announcer:
The CX Leader Podcast with Steve Walker is a production of Walker and experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their CX success. Find out more at walkerinfo.com.

Steve:
Hello, everyone. I'm Steve Walker, the host of The CX Leader Podcast, and thank you for listening. On the CX Leader Podcast, we explore topics and themes to help leaders like you leverage all the benefits of your customer experience and help your customers and prospects want to do more business with you. In our last episode, Aimee Lucas from the XM Institute gave us a basic understanding of experience management as a discipline. Using "X-" and "O-data" to help improve a company's customer experience through technology, competency, and culture. On this episode, we want to take some time to explore the competencies and skills around experience management, and Aimee Lucas, senior principal analyst from the Qualtrics XM Institute, has joined us again to help us understand these competencies. Aimee, welcome back to The CX Leader Podcast.

Aimee:
Great to be here.

Steve:
All right. So in part one of our episode, we got kind of an overview of the framework and we talked about the kind of the three components of competency, technology, and culture. I think your take home value from that part of the episode was you don't leave any of them out, don't get overweighted on one or the other and really enjoy the journey and taking the long haul approaches. Is that a fairly good summary of where we left things in Part 1?

Aimee:
I think that is spot on.

Steve:
Good. Well, if you haven't listened to Part 1, go back and listen to it first – this is like Netflix here. You know, you can't jump in on episode 2. You've got to go watch episode one first. You know, one of the things you mentioned in part one, but we didn't really have time to dig into is the is the core competencies. I'll just read them because you mentioned them, but it's lead, realize, activate, enlighten, respond, and disrupt. Let's go through each of the six competencies that make up the overall framework. To start that process, I will describe the name of each competency and sort of what it implies and then let you describe in detail how you think it works in the overall framework. So the first competency is lead. And at the essence, lead means to be in first place – to sort of guide everybody in terms of where you're going. So with that as an intro, why don't you describe how lead works in the overall XM Framework.

Aimee:
So when we talk about lead that we define lead as the competency about architecting, aligning, and sustaining successful XM efforts. And for any organization that wants to adopt XM It needs this systematic focus to be maintained over multiple years. We've talked about this as a journey. And so this competency really is about how do we put in place the structures and the direction so that we can drive the changes we need to embrace XM forward. So when we think about what this looks like in action, this is the the skills that the organization taps into around defining its XM strategy, putting together its program roadmap and the governance that it builds around its XM program. So this is the program vision, the mission, the goals and how it aligns to the priorities of the business and the… the why does CX or XM matter to the company, to employees, to the customers? It's the work streams of initiatives that you define, the listening, maybe process improvements, different training or employee interventions and how we allocate the right resources to those work streams. How do we track the progress of those work streams and make adaptations as we go along? And then it's the makeup of the CX team, the steering committees, and putting in a plan of how we're going to clear obstacles and hold people and teams accountable for XM results. And that, you know, that's a lead in a nutshell.

Steve:
Okay, Aimee, that's great. The second competency is realize… And when we think of the definition of the word realize it's actually to see something come to fruition to to make something actually happen.

Aimee:
Realize: "R" for "ROI," the competency we we love or hate CX professionals, right? But the truth of the matter is for XM efforts to have a lasting positive impact, they have to align with the overall priorities of the organization. And and while it's nice to think we're adopting XM because it's a good thing to do, we really need our XM efforts to deliver value back to the organization. So this competency is really all about how do we track and ensure our XM efforts are achieving some well-defined business objectives. So this starts with what metrics are we tracking? What are we tracking at a relationship level? What met… what metrics at a transactional level? What are the key drivers of those metrics? What are the internal operational metrics that help us understand how experiences are going? And then how do we set goals? How do we monitor progress? How do we model the return on investment? And then ultimately, how do we convert that into the value we're delivering, whether that's reducing churn, driving account growth or additional purchases, positively impacting renewal rates? Whatever our target outcomes might be. So "R"… "realize"… "ROI."

Steve:
Yeah. And what… what gets measured does get managed.

Aimee:
Exactly. And this is about making sure we manage the right things with the right measurements.

Steve:
And we are asking our organization for resources and we have to prove that the return on investment is there, correct?

Aimee:
100 percent. I mean, otherwise, you know, there's there's a lot of important things organizations want to do. And we've got to make the case that… that what we are doing with XM is making a difference to the business.

Steve:
Yeah. And this is very consistent with your concept in part one about discipline.

Aimee:
100 percet.

Steve:
Yeah, this is kind of where the where the discipline buck stops, right?

Aimee:
Yeah. And I think it's, you know, for CX professionals who are new, this ROI building, you know, thinking about business impact may start just at the project level. Right? You know, if we fix this pain point, we can reduce the number of calls about this issue, which can save us money. Boom. Right? A nice isolated little ROI model. As programs grow and mature, then we have the opportunity and the data to begin to paint bigger pictures about the business impact we're having overall. So it's… it's not necessarily only one way to do this, but it's a progressive build to… to articulating the value of the program.

Steve:
Then the third competency is activate. If you look up, activate in the dictionary, it says make something active or operative.

Aimee:
"Activate." If I were to confess, this is where my sort of heart lies activate is the people competency, the employee competency. Because when we really think about it, XM success requires a lot of people across our organizations to alter how they do their day to day jobs, to do different approaches to decision making and the like. So because people generally will gravitate towards the status quo, this activate competency is really in place to help overcome that organizational inertia. So this is, how do we make sure that employees have the appropriate skills, the appropriate support and the motivation to achieve the desired exit and results that we're striving for as an organization? So in this competency, the skills we're focused on are our communications, internal and external. Are we training and coaching employees and adapting the tools and resources and processes and routines they have to follow? And then how are we integrating XM into other HR processes like performance management, hiring, recruiting, promotions? And then most importantly, because people do what's measured, incented and, celebrated, is how are we celebrating individuals and teams, how are we rewarding and recognizing the desired behaviors that support our XM strategies.

Steve:
And now we know that's Amy's favorite competency.

Aimee:
It is not just because it starts with "A."

Announcer:
Do you have an idea for a topic that you'd like us to cover, a suggestion on how we can improve the program, or just want to let us know how much you enjoy listening? Email The CX Leader Podcast at podcast@walkerinfo.com. We'd love to hear your feedback on how we're doing. That's podcast@walkerinfo.com.

Steve:
Enlighten is a great word. It is the fourth competency and you know, if you think about enlighten, it's almost a spiritual feeling, it's like giving people knowledge or providing them with insight or a breakthrough.

Aimee:
Enlightened is going to feel really familiar to CX professionals because it's often where we start our journey. At the center of XM is the constant flow of data that we're transforming into useful insights for our company. So Enlighten is about how are we identifying who and where and how to collect that experience data about what customers are thinking and feeling and then combining that with the right operational data to get to those meaningful insights. So this is the monitoring of experiences, the analysis of the data that we get, and then ultimately distributing those insights across the organization at the right time in the right format to the right people so that it can drive action. So this is everything from the technical survey design and sampling methodologies to being strategic about who are our key segments. What are the moments that matter that we need to be gathering data around? Then how are we using analytics on an increasingly advanced level to generate insights that are helping our business take the right actions? And then how are we using role-based distribution, alerts, dashboards and all the great things that technology can help us do to get those insights into the hands of the right people?

Steve:
The fifth competency in your model is respond, and respond in a scientific sense means that people respond or something responds to the stimulus that you've put in front of it.

Aimee:
And respond is like the… the other half of the coin with enlighten. Respond is really about if you want the organization to act on what it learns. Then we've got to make sure that we do more than just distribute those insights. So respond encompasses the skills of everything from immediately responding, closing the loop with an unhappy customer. It also is how do we take what we learn collectively, flow that into our continuous improvement processes to address places where internal things need to be fixed. And then ultimately, how are we flowing insights into the strategic decision making processes of the organization. And then a skill in here that sometimes underappreciated or that maybe we come into too late is what we call process integration. And that's about integrating insights into those other company processes like new product development, for example, or innovation, where insights can be really, really critical to those teams making the right choices along their own workflows.

Steve:
Yeah, I really like this one and it kind of sums up a lot of I think what I've seen in my CX career in a very elegant way. You know, we always talked about closing the loop. We always talked about, you know, making sure that, you know, if something came through in a customer feedback that it could be addressed, especially if it was critical. But you're also taking it further into like now how do we take this feedback? Because in some ways, you know, these are exceptions that are popping out. You know, it's… it's like when somebody calls the support center, it's you know, it's because they can't get the product to work. So building some of that back into the organization kind of… it creates a learning organization here, so…

Aimee:
One hundred percent, right? So it's at the heart of this respond is how do we prioritize and drive improvements based on these insights? And that can happen at so many different levels. And even the response itself that closing the loop that follow up is another experience we're delivering. And so it makes another impression on the customer. But for the employee involved, it is a learning experience. And so how are we getting what they learned from that follow up and flowing it back into the organization, too? Because there's always more to learn in terms of is there more detail that we've got about the situation or how did what we suggest or offer resonate? You know that the heart of the definition of XM in general is measure and improve the core experiences of the business. And this respond competency is a big part of activating that improve part of the definition.

Steve:
And the last competency is disrupt. Now disrupt in some ways has negative connotations, but in the business sense and from an innovation standpoint, what we're really trying to do is to change the structure of the way things are.

Aimee:
Disrupt. Interesting word, right? But disrupt is about differentiation and other alliteration. This is the competency where we recognize that finding and fixing problems, which is normally the initial focus of our XM efforts, is really important. But if we want to propel the company around XM, around CX, we've got to do more. So for disrupt, this is the competency that focuses on identifying, creating experiences that differentiate the organization. We want to develop the skills internally that we're designing, experiences that resonate with our target customers, with our key segments. So this is the work that we do around persona development and customer journey mapping and connecting the dots across the individual interactions a customer might have with us. It's about how we stay focused on the developments out there in technology and human behavior, in competitors in other industries that might impact what customers are looking for from us. And it's how we bring some of the discipline of design thinking in human-centric design into our work. And then one of the really exciting enhancements in this model compared to some of the prior work that we did, is the skill of experience integration, which is the really mindfull work the company does, it's how it coordinates the planning and support of a new experience rollout so that customers are successful in that new experience and that employees are successful delivering that new experience. I think it's something that we haven't necessarily overtly called out as critical, but it's a skill that is so important and I think often neglected inside companies.

Steve:
Yeah, this… this last one, disrupt. You know, we talked about this being the experience economy and you mentioned early on, Aimee, in your comments under disrupt is that differentiation is a word you could also use here. But this really is in disrupting around your experiences, that's how you are going to differentiate in the marketplace, right?

Aimee:
Absolutely. And what's really interesting is maybe this competency more than the others forces the organization to think beyond transactional interactions along the journey and really do start to think about the experience collectively. Obviously, we hope companies think about the experience collectively throughout the competencies, but this one really is the one where we put the emphasis on that, because at the end of the day, our customers come to us trying to accomplish a goal and they believe our company will help them in some way, shape or form along the way through one or many interactions along that journey. And then a whole bunch of other things they've got to do at the same time. And so if we're going to differentiate, we've got to take a step back and really understand who are our customers, what does drive them and what is that full journey look like? And then how can we bring that understanding in to really create experiences that help them be more successful in the things that matter to them. And there is incredible power through this competency and the collection of these six competencies and 20 skills to to enable us to do that.

Steve:
All right. This has been part two of XM, 101. We've been enlightened by Aimee Lucas, the senior principal analyst from the Qualtrics XM Institute. Okay, Aimee, it's time for take home value part 2. Now that you've reviewed the six competencies and some of the skills and some of the interest to go into all that, what is your tip for or CX pros of how they can apply these competencies and skills and improve their programs of today?

Aimee:
Absolutely. And I think the tip for this one is don't be overwhelmed. No organization, no XM program is born with all of these competencies in place. Part of the journey is mastering these and it happens over time. You will grow and develop, embody these competencies. You'll get better and better at the actions that you take and in the ways that you demonstrate the skills related to these competencies as you personally gain experience as your CX team's expertise builds. And as the organization's employees are activated and enabled overall, as the culture gets stronger and as your technology is fully capitalized on. So don't panic, embrace the journey and recognize that these come over time and don't feel like you're already behind the eight ball if they're not already perfectly in place today.

Steve:
That's great advice, great take home value. And again, could you share, I know you did in part one, but just share with listeners how they can get a copy of the overall framework because I think it is a great reference source. Every XM pro should have one of these on the corner of their desk.

Aimee:
Absolutely, it's qualtrics.com/xm-institute, you'll come to our research landing page and look for the report at the top of the page called Operationalising XM. And it will have all these competencies and more to help you really start to embrace what experience management means and what it can do for your business.

Steve:
Aimee Lucas is the senior principal analyst from the Qualtrics XM Institute. She's been my guest. Aimee, if people want to try to network or connect with you, can they find you on LinkedIn, for example?

Aimee:
They will find me on LinkedIn, A.I.M.E.E. Lucas. L.U.C.A.S. And you can reach out to me at aimeel@qualtrics.com as well.

Steve:
Thanks. Aimee, thank you so much for doing a two-parter on The CX Leader Podcast. I think you really helped our listeners get up to speed on XM 101.

Aimee:
It's been fun and we appreciate the opportunity to share with you and your listeners as well.

Steve:
If you want to talk about anything you heard on this episode or about how Walker can help your business's customer experience, please feel free to email me at steve.walker@walkerinformation.com or give us a call here in the U.S. at +1-317-843-8890. I'd love to be able to talk with you. And be sure to visit our website: cxleaderpodcast.com to subscribe to iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Play, and YouTube. You can also find all of our previous episodes, podcast series, and contact information so you can let us know how we're doing. The CX Leader Podcast is a production of Walker. We're an experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their CX success. You can read more about us at walkerinfo.com. Thank you for listening and we'll see you again next time.

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