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The Global State of XM

Release Date: July 14, 2020

Experience management, or “XM”, is more than just a “buzzword.” It’s a holistic approach to experience across the organization that includes customers, employees, products, and brand. The Qualtrics XM Institute recently published a report on how XM is being adopted worldwide. Host Steve Walker welcomes Moira Dorsey, principle XM Catalyst at the Qualtrics XM Institute to discuss the findings of the report.

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Steve:
Many companies around the globe are adopting the experience management model. So how's that working out?

Moira:
And when we look at each of the four areas, executives at these organizations that have better performance in each area also perform better across key business results like profitability and employee retention.

Steve:
Reviewing the global state of experience management on this episode of The CX Leader Podcast.

Announcer:
The CX Leader Podcast with Steve Walker is produced by Walker, an experience management firm that helps our clients accelerate their XM success. You can find out more at Walkerinfo.com.

Steve:
Hello, everyone. I'm Steve Walker, 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. Experience management – or XM – is more than just the latest buzzword. It's a holistic approach to experience across the organization that includes customers, employees, products and brand. With XM gaining popularity worldwide, it would be nice to have some sort of report that tells us how companies feel their experience strategies benefited from this approach, right? Well, there just happens to be such a report and it's been released by the Qualtrics XM Institute. And my guest today is going to highlight some of the many findings that you'll find. Moira Dorsey is a Principal XM Catalyst with the XM Institute at Qualtrics, and one of the authors of the recently released report, "The Global State of XM, 2020." Moira is also a longtime friend of Walker's and one of the real leading thinkers in our profession. So, Moira, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast this week.

Moira:
Oh, it's my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

Steve:
Well, it's a pleasure to have you. And I can't think of anybody better to come in and talk about this than you. Obviously, I've known you for a long time and your reputation really precedes yourself. But for the benefit of some of our listeners who may be a little newer to the field, why do you just tell us a little bit about your background.

Moira:
Well, I've been in the experience management space for a while now, starting with a focus on customer experience and customer experience management. Spent a number of years at Forrester Research focusing on that space, first as an analyst and as a research director and then running the entire customer experience practice, which was focused on helping customer experience professionals succeed. And a few months ago, I had the great fortune to join the Experienced Management Institute at Qualtrics, where I'm focused on experienced management, doing research on the space and all of the related activities that we're responsible for at the institute, which includes both writing research that helps its management professionals succeed in terms of what do they need to look out for the future? What's the state of experience management? What are best practices for succeeding? And in addition to the research. Also doing training and other related activities and participating in our newly launched community for experience management professionals. So that's me in a nutshell.

Steve:
Well, congratulations on the move to Qualtrics. And thank you for all the great things you've done for the industry and the profession over your career. And I'm sure you'll do even more of that going forward with the XMI.

Moira:
I thank you and thank you to you and Walker for many of the same things.

Steve:
Like I like to say: it's a great time to be a CX pro right now, isn't it?. It's…

Moira:
Sure is.

Steve:
…with folks like Qualtrics and XMI, and it just sort of like a renaissance of this profession that we feel so strongly about. And we're really here to talk about the report, "The Global State of XM, 2020." And we'll make sure we get that on the website when we released this podcast. But it's out and wanted to just tell us what all does it include and then we'll drill down into some of that.

Moira:
So the report is all about, of course, the global state of experience management and the study that's the basis of the report for understanding the current global state of experienced management. We surveyed nearly thirteen hundred executives from eight countries.

Steve:
And these are not just… these aren't CX pros; these are senior execs at these companies.

Moira:
Exactly. Some of them report directly to the most senior executive team at their organizations. And the eight countries that they come from are Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US. And we asked them to evaluate their experience, management capabilities and core experience areas, customer experience, employee experience, project experience, and brand experience. So those are at the highest level, that's what we ask them about.

Steve:
So why is it so important to consider all four areas?

Moira:
Yeah. So XM is really all about enabling organizations to meet the evolving needs of people who are touching the organization. And so why is it important to consider all four areas together? Well, first, because we'll talk about the data from the research in a bit. But what we see is that organizations that say they're stronger in these areas also deliver better business results. So when we look at the data, we ask these executives about their performance in each of the four areas and across the four areas and those, we broke them out until leaders and laggers. So the leaders are those who report delivering above average experience. And when we look at each of the four areas, executives at these organizations that have better performance in each area also perform better across key business results like profitability and employee retention. And in addition to being that tie between experience performance and business results, we also see that organizations that are stronger in two or more of those experience areas especially have a better business performance.

Steve:
Moira, most of our listeners are CX pros. And this whole concept of XM is something we've been introducing to him here over the last few months as we've been understanding more about the theories of XM. But once just talk quickly for those CX pro how EX, BX, and PX play into the customer experience.

Moira:
Sure. So as we just talked about, there's the there's looking at, say, CX plus EX through the business performance lens. And we know that there's a strong correlation between organizations that are strong in both EX and CX and their business results. So that's one way of looking at it. If you look at it through the experiencial lens and also the delivery of experiences, it makes sense that organizations in order to deliver a great customer experience, of course, you need to have employees that are having a good experience themselves because it helps enable them to deliver better experiences for customers. So that's the CX plus EX. And then if you think about BX, of course, in our brand experiences, we're setting expectations for customers for what they should expect for the actual experience itself. And so that's another pairwise look at experiences. And then, of course, product experiences are really just like brand experience, product experience is a really important part of the overall end to end customer experience. So that's just a short bit of how we think about those experiences, interrelating with each other, both from the experiencial side and also from the delivery side.

Steve:
Yeah, it's really great. And, you know, I kind of think of it in sort of a lifecycle way. In some ways, you know, is your first becoming familiar with an organization, it'd be, you know, tend to be a little more brand experience. But then that stays with you. Obviously, you know, the customer experience, you interact more with the people during the selling process and awareness and some of that. And then, you know, after you make your purchase and you take the product home and, you know, there's not somebody there to help you with it, then the product experience. But it all has to fit together and stick together for an organization to have a truly aligned experience management strategy. You talked about the business performance, which I think is great. And by the way, our listeners, you know, you're going to want to get this report so that you can share this data with your executives to keep helping you build your case for why XM is the right thing to be doing in the organization. But other than the clear linkage to business performance, what are some of the other key findings that you found in the report?

Moira:
Yeah. So the the business performance is a key one. So XM performance, as I mentioned, is really strongly connected with business results. We also talked about how CX and EX are a really powerful combination. We also found that at organizations that are experience management leaders, that the executives at those organizations are very much focused on customers first and profits second, whereas organizations that we would put into the lower performing experience management category, they say for their executives, the most important area of focus is on profits. So for that third point, I mentioned that because, you know, I did talk about the connection between why it's important to focus on all four areas and business results. But I think the other thing to think about at the end of the day or maybe at the beginning, is that in order to succeed in today's environment, organizations are really going to have to care about and focus on the experiences that it delivers to customers, employees, partners, patients, fans, whatever, whether they're customers or employees in order to succeed in today's environment. And I would say that that was important in December of last year, and it's even more important as we as we all know now, to really be able to respond to ever changing needs in order for organizations to succeed.

Steve:
My guest on the podcast this week is Moira Dorsey. She's a Principal XM Catalyst with the XM Institute at Qualtrics, and also the coauthor of the recently released report, "The Global State of XM, 2020." And we are having a fascinating dialog about the findings of that report and the implications for our XM pros. Moira, you mentioned that you did this study over eight different countries, mostly developed nations, but around the globe, did you see differences by country in the data?

Moira:
We did. And just to name those countries, the ones we looked at were Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, U.K. and the U.S. And some of the top level differences that we saw just across all those countries… not – and in this case and when I talk about the differences not by those leaders and laggards that we talked about earlier – just in general. And so when we looked at their responses in terms of their focus on experience management, U.S. executives most frequently viewed experience management as important. So 77 percent of U.S. respondents said they believe that improving experience management over the next three years would be either critical or very important for their organization. And then looking at the individual experiences and their responses there, Australian executives came out as the most focused on EX. So 79 percent plan to increase their focus on EX, and then the U.S. had… was at the top for CX as well as PX, and then Singapore was at the top in terms of their focus on brand experience. So those are some of the top level findings looking at the different experience areas. And then we asked executives to self-rate their organizations across the three different areas of our experience management operating framework, which includes technology, culture and competencies. And when we asked them about that, 75 percent of Canadians rated their organizations experience management capabilities and technology as very strong. 75 percent of US executives said their organization's capabilities in culture were very strong. And then 78 percent of Singaporean respondents said that their organizations capabilities were very strong in competencies and skills. So those were the three top countries across in terms of how they rated their capabilities in the three areas of the XM operating framework.

Steve:
And I know that the report's available and we're going to let people find out how they can get a hold of the whole report. But I'm just scratching the surface of some of the implications there for XM pros. Let's go there now for XM Pros. What are some of the obstacles or what are some of the things that you would recommend that XM pros take from this report?

Moira:
Yeah, so just a couple of top level findings. Looking again, across all organizations that that responded, the most frequently selected obstacle was technology limitations. And then separately splitting out the the obstacles, looking through the lens of organizations that said that they were stronger and experienced management capabilities, the leaders said they struggled most… also said they struggled most with technology, whereas those that were below average and experience management capabilities, not surprisingly, said their top challenge was not having a clear strategy.

Steve:
Now, kind of overlaying all of this is the current situation in the world related to the COVID pandemic. And I know you were in the field sort of as this whole thing was unfolding. Do you have a take on the impact on the results? Or maybe more generally on how COVID is affecting the practice in the advancement of XM?

Moira:
Yeah, so it's interesting. This was out in the field in the February timeframe. And so I know it really feels like a lifetime ago.

Steve:
That was when my last haircut was, by the way.

Moira:
Yeah, [laughing] me too. And and so I'll leave that there in terms of thinking about what it meant for these executives responding to the survey and what the implications might have been in terms of their responses. However, to give some sort of anecdotal feedback based on some research, some research interviews, some more qualitative interviews we've been doing, what we're hearing is that like pretty much everybody in within different departments and organizations, experience management professionals are under pressure to demonstrate the value that they deliver. So that's not a big surprise. But, you know, I would say that what we're seeing in the research is something that I think we've all seen in the past. But it's been more amplified in this environment, which is that the sort of dividing line between organizations that are very much focused on measurement. They have much more of a voice of the customer and measurement oriented type of program versus those that are on the more mature end of the spectrum to the point where they have the capabilities in place to really understand and adapt to the changing needs of customers and employees and partners. Those are there's really a very clear dividing line between those two groups, which I would say has been more amplified in this environment. And, of course, the ones that have been able to pivot quickly and really adapt to changing needs and focus on the most important issues have been in the best position to really demonstrate the value of their programs.

Steve:
Yeah, we just out of necessity, we've been doing quite a bit of programs on on this topic specifically. And then, you know, it's more general interest, we talk about the implications of that. But I would say that our conclusion is that listening to your key stakeholders is even more important during this time, particularly I know on the employee side, just you know, it really has changed the equation about how people work, how they buy, how they service. This is a time for XM practitioners to really step up in their organization. And I think through doing that, they can demonstrate that value.

Moira:
I agree with you 100 percent. That is so well said. I can't say it any better than that. It really is a time for them to seize the day because they do have those capabilities to problem solve and make things work better. And even if needs are changing on a daily or weekly basis.

Steve:
Yeah. I mean, I don't think we can overemphasize that enough. You know, I think that the marketplace is telling us that. You know, no more 30 minute relationship surveys and don't come ask me for another survey unless I've actually seen some impact. So I like that a lot. All right. It is that time of the show when we ask our experts to provide our listeners with their best take home value, that one thing or or a couple of ideas that they can start implementing on their program today to make it better.

Moira:
So my best tip relates to what we were just talking about, which is making sure that you are focusing your program and leading your program to develop the capabilities to take action and adapt to the needs of all of the people that you're serving. And to make that point, I'm going to borrow a quote from, or adapt a quote from James Claire, who wrote "Atomic Habits," and he has a great weekly newsletter that he puts out. And this week, one of the things he was talking about was just make sure that whatever it is you're working on, you know, you've asked yourself, what is your real goal? And make sure you're clear on that. In other words, don't let. And then he went on to say, don't let a proxy become your target. Don't optimize for the wrong outcome. And I think if we just inserted some words in there to say, make sure that you take a step back and really think about whether or not your experience management program is aimed at becoming one that is capable of taking… gathering insights and taking action on them in order to adapt to the needs of the people that you're serving. And don't let the proxy of measurement become your target. Don't optimize for that. Optimize for action.

Steve:
Very well said. And that's exactly, I think, the kind of mindset that an XM pro should take to the office every day. Moira Dorsey, thank you for being a guest on The CX Leader Podcast. If people would like to continue the conversation, can you just let us know briefly how they might find you? Be it LinkedIn or on the XMI website?

Moira:
Absolutely. Well, they can find me on LinkedIn, but where I would really love for them to go, where they will find a copy of this report that we've just been talking about is to our brand new just launched website, which is at xminstitute.com. And if they go there, they'll be able to download that research and a lot of other research and tools. And they can also sign up for our monthly XM Journal. So thank you so much for a great conversation. It's been great to be here with you.

Steve:
Oh, the pleasure's been all mine and so glad that you joined us and really excited about this report. And I, too, would advocate that all XM pros leverage the XM Institute. I know our people do all the time, and it's just a great resource that you provide for the whole industry and the whole profession. So thank you. My guest on the podcast this week has been Moira Dorsey. She's a principal XM Catalist with the XM Institute at Qualtrics. And we've been discussing the report that she coauthored titled "The Global State of XM, 2020", which you can download at the XM Institute website. And we'll have a link as we roll out this podcast, people be able to access that, too, on the website: we'll make it very easy for listeners to find their report. If you want to talk about anything you heard on this podcast or about how Walker can help your business's customer experience, feel free to e-mail me at steve.walker@walkerinformation.com. And be sure to check out our website, cxleaderpodcast.com, to subscribe to the show and find all our previous episodes, the podcast series, and contact information. And you can even let us know how you're doing or suggestions for future podcasts. The CX Leader Podcast is a production of Walker. We're an experience management firm that helps companies accelerate their XM success. You can read more about us at walkerinfo.com. Thank you for listening. And we will see you again next time.

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