My 12 (XM)AS Wishes For You

Since tomorrow is Christmas, I decided to share 12 wishes for you and your experience management (XM) efforts. Here goes…

During the upcoming year, I hope that you:

  1. Celebrate successes. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the next milestone to achieve, but make sure to regularly take account of the great things that you and your team have already accomplished. You’ve earned it!
  2. Stay positive. XM professionals, by definition, are change agents trying to drive improvements at a pace that is often faster than organizations can absorb. Don’t let the inevitable obstacles, and seemingly slow progress get you down. Remain energized and focused on the vision of a better future.
  3. Make insights actionable. Many organizations have established programs to collect feedback about customers, products, brands, and employees. It’s time to focus less on collecting data, and more on finding ways for insights from that information to more drive more impactful decisions across your organization.
  4. Remain human-centric. Our world is full of documents, data, and deadlines, so it’s easy to lose sight of what XM is all about—people. Stay focused on how your activities are affecting customers, employees and partners at a human level, keeping in mind the six traits of human beings.
  5. Lead with purpose. Rather than pushing people to adhere to your agenda, find ways that encourage them to share your commitment. How? By demonstrating the Five Ps’ of Purposeful Leaderspassionate persuasive. positive, propelling, and persistent.
  6. Express appreciation. Positive psychology research shows that people perform their best when they feel appreciated, and the act of showing appreciation makes people happier. Find ways to proactively look for and acknowledge the positive aspects of the world around us.
  7. Keep brand promises. The experiences that your organization delivers should reflect and reinforce its brand values. So make sure you clarify what makes your organization special, and identify the key promises that you’re committed to keeping with customers, partners, and employees.
  8. Get enough sleep. Let’s face it, you can’t be very effective when you’re tired. And the lack of sleep actually has a detrimental affect on your health.  So make sure you regularly get eight or more hours of sleep per day.
  9. Accelerate improvement cycles. Rather than waiting to hear from a lot of customers or employees about a problem, find ways to monitor their behaviors and feedback to find patterns that represent potential issues—and remove those obstacles before most people even notice them.
  10. Embrace diversity. The world is full of different types of people with unique backgrounds and points of view. Rather than allowing our differences to fuel tension and discord, find ways to appreciate the diversity and to treat each other as wonderfully unique individuals.
  11. Get more predictive. Once you combine experience data (X-Data) with operational data (O-Data), which you need to start doing, you’ll be in a position to apply more predictive analytics to uncover insights and recommend actions. It’s time to build up your organization’s expertise in these types of analytics.
  12. Extend compassion. All around us are people who can benefit from our care and comfort. We often don’t notice them, or we just ignore their needs. We can all do a better job of tuning into the condition of the people around us and care about their well-being.

Actually, my real hope is that you and your family enjoy a happy, healthy, and meaningful holiday season.

The bottom line: Happy holidays!

CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #6: Compensation Drives Good CX Behaviors

What’s Wrong: Many organizations try to drive behavior change by tying employees’ compensation to customer experience metrics. While some level of compensation tied to CX can be helpful, it is often overdone. When you overly compensate on a single metric, it can often lead to unintended and detrimental consequences. Symptoms of these counterproductive behaviors include pestering customers for scores; focusing on activities that may improve scores, but aren’t good for the business; and actively debating the accuracy of the metrics. Rather than engaging in these activities, we want employees focusing on ways to improve customer experience.

What’s Right: Don’t use compensation to drive behavior change; instead, use it to reward good behaviors. With that in mind, you need to find other mechanisms to drive change, such as appealing to employee’s four intrinsic needs; their sense of meaning, control, progress, and competence. As I’ve previously written, keep in mind these three underlying principles about compensation:

  1. If there is significant compensation tied to any metric (including customer feedback), then people will look for ways to manipulate the measurement.
  2. If people don’t understand a metric, then tying compensation to it will have little impact on their behavior and any downside in compensation may create negative behaviors.
  3. If people don’t understand how they personally can affect a metric, then tying compensation to it will have little impact on their behavior and any downside in compensation may create negative behaviors.

What You Should Do:

  • Treat CX as a team sport. Your customers’ experience is almost never the result of a single person, even if that person is the only one interacting with the customer. So focus on team-level metrics and compensation that encourages key groups of employees to work together towards a shared objective.
  • Use an organization-wide CX metric. Developing a core CX metric for the entire organization that is tied to some compensation (not too large), is a great way to show commitment to improving CX, and it will encourage a regular dialogue about your overall CX performance.
  • Bias rewards towards the upside. Consider starting with a compensation plan that is biased towards upside. In other words, you may want to introduce the plan where there is little negative impact on compensation if the group doesn’t hit a goal, but there is positive impact of they exceed it. This can help eliminate some of the negative perceptions early in a program.
  • Celebrate good CX behaviors. Compensation is not the only reward system in an organization. If you want employees to behave in a certain way, then provide them with positive role models. Find ways to highlight employees who are demonstrating the behaviors that you would like others to emulate. This can include monthly or quarterly awards, shout outs at company meetings, or highlights across your internal communications.
  • Make it unacceptable to game the scores. When an employee asks a customer to “give me a 10 on a survey or I’ll get fired,” can you really count on the accuracy of that customer’s rating? This may be an extreme example of “gaming feedback,” but many versions of this behavior occur all the time. To keep gaming feedback in check, it’s important to be explicit with employees about what the company considers to be unacceptable behaviors.  I’ve identified five rules that you should strictly enforce with employees, which includes not talking with customers about survey questions, scores, or consequences.

The bottom line: Use compensation to reinforce, not force, good CX behaviors.

2019 XM Trends From Qualtrics Thought Leaders

This is the time of year for holiday cheer, family celebrations, and, of course, listings of annual trends!

To help me identify trends for 2019, I reached out to some of the many thought leaders across Qualtrics and asked them to share one or two of the top experience management (XM) trends they are expecting to see in the coming year.

It was a great exercise. We have some amazing people across Qualtrics who regularly help organizations master all aspects of XM: Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience (EX), Brand Experience (BX), and Product Experience (PX). And the trends they shared highlight the enormous amount of learning and maturing that’s currently happening in the field of XM. For the sake of simplicity, we organized their trends into four broad categories:

  1. Humanizing through Technology
  2. Tailoring Insights for Action
  3. Expanding Predictive Analytics
  4. Authentically Living Brand Values

1) Humanizing through Technology

Companies are starting to recognize that their customers (and their employees!) are real human beings, with their own emotions, wants, needs, beliefs, and motivations. Companies are using technology and data to not only deepen this understanding, but also deliver more emotionally resonant experiences. Here are some trends from our experts:

  • Adaptive, Conversational Listening. “Survey” has a pejorative overlay in the common vernacular in the U.S. today. Customers are over-surveyed with surveys that benefit only the company and not the customer. We’ve come up with a way to change the survey to a conversation, whilst preserving methodological rigor around validity and repeatability. Our method seems simple but is built on a sophisticated process within Qualtrics. First, we identify the conversational aspects of the feedback request before we engage a customer. A conversation is a give and take, a social contract between two people (personas, in abstract) who are exchanging a number of responses that include emotions, meanings, motivations, and memories evoked by current, previous experiences and the cues of the conversation. We identify the main constructs that we are dealing with as part of this feedback strategy: the company, the Feedback Conversation and the Persona who represents the customer, and we adapt the feedback requests based on the customer response.  (Carol Haney, Head of Research & Data Science)
  • Make It Matter To Me. The advancement and application of artificial intelligence is already enabling more meaningful customer experiences. Whether it’s via chatbot, or a truly personalized experience, artificial intelligence has the potential to truly humanize endless reams of data. (Juliana Smith Holterhaus, Ph.D., Senior XM Scientist)
  • Quantify & Discuss Customer Emotions. Thanks to rapidly evolving technologies, in 2019, I expect to see more companies measuring and discussing customer emotions. Emotions play an essential role in how we make decisions and form judgments, and consequently, they significantly impact our experiences with and loyalty to different companies. And yet companies have historically ignored emotions – dismissing them as too squishy and unquantifiable. However, recent advances in technological capabilities – such as cloud storage, processing power, machine learning, AI, natural language processing, etc. – are allowing companies to start identifying and quantifying their customers’ emotions. For example, companies can now use speech or text analytics to automatically surface emotions during customer service conversations, and new analytics can infer customers’ emotions based on their digital body language (e.g. scrolling, clicking, hovering). Additionally, machine learning enables companies to uncover patterns in customers’ behaviors and preferences, allowing them to proactively address problems and personalize customers’ experiences. (Isabelle Zdatny, CCXP, Qualtrics XM Institute)
  • AI To boost Frontline Productivity. We are increasingly seeing more companies incorporate sophisticated technologies such as virtual agents to enable smarter self-service in order to rethink operational processes and deliver immediate gratification. Contrary to beliefs that virtual agents will start to replace agents in frontend operations, we actually expect AI to help drive adoption of virtual assistants to become the primary channel of self service, while saving effort and time for agents and increasing their overall productivity, whereby they can focus on being a source of revenue rather than be a cost-center by selecting and presenting the best possible solution to the customer when engaged in LIVE calls. But, the focus will need to be maintained on relying on mechanisms which can also distinguish when the customer is confused and can understand and distinguish based on that emotion to engage a live agent – so ultimately the experience is frictionless, yet effortless from all involved. (Arpana Luthra, Principal Consultant, CX Practice)
  • Augmented Reality Will Redefine XM. Technologies like augmented and virtual reality will be important in elevating overall experiences and improving decision making. These technologies will make shopping easy, convenient, attractive and certainly differentiated – enabling customers to touch, feel, discover and explore products to create an experiential environment giving them a realistic feeling of the product or service experience much before they make a purchase decision. This will require businesses to re-imagine their people, process, technological and service strategies while ensuring they continue to deliver to their brand promise, but do so more effectively. (Arpana Luthra, Principal Consultant, CX Practice)

My Take: Organizations will increasingly focus on the fundamental component of XM—human beings. It’s important to start with an understanding of how people think, feel, and act. How can organizations apply this knowledge? By applying the Human Conversational Model to all interactions, including the growing number of digital touch points.

2) Tailoring Insights For Action

While most companies are now fairly proficient at data accumulation, collecting data just for the sake of collecting data is not useful in and of itself. Companies must actually use these insights to drive customer- and employee-centric decisions across the entire organization. To do this, they need to be strategic about how they collect information, how they tailor the information to their separate audiences, and how they use that information to identify and act on improvement opportunities. Here are some trends from our experts:

  • Activating Managers’ Engagement Skills. More companies are recognizing that a strong culture and engaged employees are not a result of HR tactics, but on how effectively individual leaders and managers are connecting with employees. I’m seeing more companies putting time into helping managers understand their role in employee engagement and identifying and removing time-consuming administrative tasks that get in the way of managers supporting, coaching, and recognizing employees every day. Companies are also working on improving the feedback managers get so that it enables managers to have more productive conversations with their employees about what’s working and not working on the job. (Aimee Lucas, CCXP, Qualtrics XM Institute)
  • From Survey To Strategy. I’m beginning to see organizations ask how the annual engagement survey can best fit into their overall people strategy. Leaders are taking an interest in linking survey results to business outcomes, aligning surveys along multiple points in the employee journey, taking action that will impact the business both immediately and 3-5 years from now. Surveying is no longer an annual look backward, but a strategic tool in moving forward. These conversations are exciting for both the client and Qualtrics. (Kara Laine, XM Scientist)
  • High Frequency Feedback Isn’t Helping. We have had several customers this year pull back from a monthly employee survey strategy to something Quarterly or even Semi-Annually. Their manager report not having the ability to action it before the next survey goes out and they are overwhelmed by the frequency. We find that instead our successful customers are working to connect with employees at meaningful touch-points, such as during onboarding or on a work anniversary, rather than focusing on frequency. (Austin Nilsson, EX Delivery Services Manager)

My Take: As I wrote in a post earlier this year, the future of VoC is insight & action, not feedback. Companies are increasingly recognizing that they need to drive four different action loops. This requires them to tailor insights to fuel different decision-making processes across an organization. That’s why Qualtrics is so committed to helping our customers deliver role-specific insights.

3) Expanding Predictive Analytics

Customers and employees increasingly expect companies recognize them as individuals, anticipate their needs, and proactively address their concerns. To meet these rising expectations, companies are using powerful analytics engines to combine rich customer and employee feedback with reams of CRM and operational data, surface meaningful patterns within that data, and then generate predictive models that allow for proactive, personalized experiences. Here are some trends from our experts:

  • Hyper-Contextualized, Not Personalized. A positive, consistent experience has long become a table stake. Today’s customers want organizations to respect their time. A good product at a competitive price is no longer the basis for differentiation. Truly customer-centric organizations will increasingly leverage data-driven analytics to spot customers’ buying patterns, behaviors across channels and touch points to design experiences and content, at a time customers want it and deliver them proactively rather than reactively. Customers will increasingly look for a unique, customized experience that is memorable and reminiscent of a personal relationship. There will likely be a rise in teams and knowledge centers focused on identifying the experience along these personalized journeys. Closely tied will be the importance of measuring customer emotions and understanding how they feel in the moment because customers who have a negative experience during a brand interaction are more likely not to forgive that company. We expect analytics to not only empower brands to personalize experiences, but also enable them to identify and prevent issues before they would happen, so they can now shift resources not to problem solve but to get ahead of them. (Arpana Luthra, Principal Consultant, CX Practice)
  • People Analytics. People analytics involves deriving insights from employee data and advanced analytics to make talent management decisions to drive revenue and growth. Over 70% of companies now consider people analytics a high priority, but only 10% believe they have a good understanding of which talent dimensions drive performance in their organizations. People analytics may be leveraged alongside data captured at every employee touchpoint to develop algorithmic selection systems, dynamic workforce planning models, and social networks informing organizational silos and influence between and within teams – to name a few possibilities. (Brandon Riggs, EX Internal Program Lead)

My Take: Historically, insights have been used to describe what has happened in the past. While this retrospective provides value, the ultimate objective is to use insights to prescribe best actions for the future. As predictive analytics becomes more accessible and companies blend together X- and O-Data, we’ll see a surge in predictive recommendations. Qualtrics is putting a lot of energy into making these advance analytics much more accessible to business users.

4) Authentically Living Brand Values

People want to interact with organizations whose policies and practices align with their personal principles, ideals, and attitudes. Companies can build trust and emotionally engage both their customers and employees by authentically championing social causes and demonstrating that they share the same values as their target customer segments. Here are some trends from our experts:

  • Merging Inclusivity And CX. We’ve seen multiple news articles over the past year surrounding how companies can create better online experiences for customers with disabilities. One of my favorite CX-related stories from 2018 was on the work of the Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore, MD. The organization is working with D.C. area restaurants to train workers on how to understand and create enjoyable experiences for customers with speech disabilities and disorders. Starbucks also opened its first U.S. sign language store in Washington, DC this past year. (Stephanie Thum, CCXP Chief Advisor, Federal Customer Experience)
  • Maturing Of Customer Journey Mapping. Customer journey maps will sustain their momentum as a popular tool to diagnose and design customer experiences. Successful journey mapping companies avoid the common of mistake of assuming the map itself is the “finish line” but rather bring cross-functional subject matter experts together who use the map’s findings to take action around the key moments of truth that deliver on an organization’s brand promises. In 2019, more companies will use journey maps to highlight the emotional impact of the experience as a way to raise empathy for customers among employees, regardless of their roles. Companies will also shift from using maps solely to capture the current state experience and begin to use them to keep the broader journey in mind while innovating future-state customer interactions. (Aimee Lucas, CCXP, Qualtrics XM Institute)
  • Fusing The Concepts Of Ethics And BX. Customers oftentimes look to online reviews and ratings to make decisions, anticipating or expecting experiences that may be based on those reviews and ratings. But what about when reviewers have been compensated to write positive reviews, incentivized to do so with a discount on a future purchase, or reviews are just plain fake? Similarly, what are the CX ethical implications of score begging, when auto dealerships, for example, beg for 10s on a survey, rather than allow customers to provide an honest review that would then possibly trickle out via marketing to other, future customers? How do we consider and think about these things when creating or honestly evaluating the experience customers are having with brands? (Stephanie Thum, CCXP Chief Advisor, Federal Customer Experience)

My Take: For an organization to optimize its CX, BX, PX, and BX efforts, it must have a deep understanding of its core values. Without this clarity around a true north, it’s nearly impossible to align priorities across an organization. We’ve seen companies live their values by translating customer promises into employee actions —and we expect to see even more of this activity going forward. I recently discussed how Starbucks should have used this approach for training after its recent issues.

The bottom line: 2019 will be an exciting year for XM!

CX Leaders’ Employees Feel Prouder & More Appreciated

If you’ve followed our research, then you’ve likely seen a strong, almost inseparable link between between customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). We continued to find that connection in our latest consumer benchmark.

In our Q3 2018 study, we asked 5,000+ U.S. employees to pick a word that best describes how their job makes them feel and split those responses based on how they judged the overall CX that their company delivers. As you can see in the figure below:

  • More than 80% of employees that picked “proud” and “appreciated” work in organizations that they believe are CX leaders. “Confident” is next on the list at 74%.
  • When employees picked “embarrassed” and “angry,” they were the least likely to work for CX leaders and the most likely to work in CX laggards.

Employee attitudes versus customer experience (CX)

The bottom line: CX leaders have proud employees, CX laggards have angry ones.

CX Myth #5: Wow Customers During Every Interaction

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #5: Wow Customers During Every Interaction

What’s Wrong: While it may be appealing to think about creating an amazing experience every time you touch a customer, it’s just not appropriate or practical. All interactions should aim to meet your target customers’ success, effort, and emotional expectations, but in many cases they aren’t looking to be wowed. And if we put the same energy into all interactions, then we are underinvesting in the situations that matter the most to our customers.

What’s Right: Customer experience is not about wowing customers, it’s about delivering on your brand promises. Otherwise, companies that wanted to be great at customer experience would face an endless escalation of costs as they continue to layer on wow-inducing elements across their customers’ lifecycle. You need to understand how you want to be differentiated in your customers’ eyes (brand promises), and make investments in customer experience that bring those differences to life.

What You Should Do:

  • Elevate your brand promises. If you don’t know what makes you special, then you will never be able to effectively prioritize your resources. Start by making clear brand promises, then embrace those promises by helping all employees understand what those promises mean and what role they personally play in making the promises come to life. Finally, keep the promises by holding each other accountable to them on an ongoing basis and measuring yourself against them.
  • Master key moments. A handful of moments disproportionately impact your customers’ perceptions of your organization, and therefore disproportionately impact their loyalty. First identify these moments, and then invest in making those moments emotionally resonant experiences that reinforce your brand promises.
  • Focus on customer expectations. Delivering a great experience does not mean being better than your competitors. Their brand promises may be different than yours, or they may not be setting the right bar for key moments. Instead, measure yourself against your customers’ expectations. Are you exceeding your brand promises in the eyes of your key customers? If the answer is “an easy yes,” then you may want to consider even more aggressive brand promises.

The bottom line: Don’t try and wow customers, live up to your brand promises.

Have A Thanksgiving Full Of Purpose & Meaning

Many people who read this blog are celebrating Thanksgiving and will be exchanging “Happy Thanksgiving” greetings throughout the day. But I’m pretty sure that overdosing on turkey and stuffing is not the most expedient path to long-term happiness (although I don’t have any data to support my hypothesis).

What is a better path to happiness? Purpose and meaning. As you can see below, people who find purpose and meaning in their lives are much happier.

1811_PurposeMeaningHappiness_v1.png

So on this Thanksgiving, I want to wish you a day that enhances the purpose and meaning in your life.

And, here’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving cartoons that I’ve shared in previous years. It shows how to design an experience that meets your strategic objectives.

Temkin Group, Qualtrics, And SAP

Well, this has been a crazy month. In case you missed it, Temkin Group was acquired by Qualtrics. We weren’t able to discuss it too much, because Qualtrics was in a pre-IPO quiet period. And then SAP acquired Qualtrics. Can you say Pac-Man?!?!

A month ago, I would have provided my independent analysis of these acquisitions. I can’t do that anymore, I’m now biased. But here’s my read of the general environment that led to these moves.

Experience management (XM) isn’t new. It’s been one of the key differentiators for organizations for decades. Companies that understand their customers’ needs, engage their employees, build valuable products, and have trusted brands have been winners. Period.

What’s relatively new is that XM now has a language, which allows us to talk about it and embrace it. Now that XM is in the light, we are starting to decode its “secrets.” Platforms like Qualtrics are enabling enhanced XM capabilities, which are being tapped into by professionals who are developing more innovative and repeatable XM practices, in organizations that have increasingly XM-embracing perspectives.

It’s the perfect time to be focusing on XM!

Let’s chat about the technology for a second. In 2010, I rejected the description of this space as Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM), which was the popular moniker. Instead, I called the space Customer Insight and Action (CIA) Platforms. Managing feedback has never been a differentiator. Organizations don’t succeed by managing feedback, they succeed by taking action on insights that come from many sources, combining experience data (X-Data) and operational data (O-Data).

It’s taken a while for the vendors and practitioners to adjust to this perspective. That’s why companies are still pretty weak at taking action. But things are shifting. As you can tell from our acquisition, we believe that Qualtrics has been making the most significant strides towards this vision — helping organizations take actions based on insights.

As Qualtrics becomes more of an action-enabler across an organization, it moves from a niche technology to a fundamental component of enterprise architecture. As a matter of fact, it’s likely to evolve into one of the most important elements of an enterprise’s technology stack. Why? Because it’s enabling XM, which we’ve already seen is a key differentiator.

To bring this story full circle, I need to go back more than 15 years when my team at Forrester Research was responsible for covering the CRM market, which included SAP. In 2002, I won a research award for my report called Forget CRM, Focus On The Customer Experience. I argued that widespread disappointing results for CRM were a result of a pure technology-orientation, and that companies needed to focus more on developing practices and perspectives that used the technology to better serve customers.

Maybe I should have also predicted the Temkin Group, Qualtrics, and SAP moves back in 2002. Alas, I’m just happy to be a part of bringing XM to life in 2018.

CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric

CX Myths: Debunking Misleading Beliefs About Customer Experience

Many common beliefs about customer experience are misguided, based on oversimplifications or a lack of consideration for real-world constraints. In this series of posts, we debunk these myths.


CX Myth #4: Net Promoter Score Is The Best/Worst Metric

What’s Wrong: People often argue that Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the greatest metric, while other people argue that it’s a terrible metric. Both of those points of view are off the mark.

What’s Right: We rarely see a company succeed or fail based on the specific metric that it choses. That doesn’t mean that you can chose a ridiculous metric, but most reasonable metrics provide the same potential for success (and failure). In many cases, NPS is a reasonable choice, as our data shows that it often correlates to customer loyalty. The way you use a metric is often far more important than the metric that you chose.

What You Should Do:

  • Pick a simple metric. It’s important that you choose a metric that employees will understand, so they are motivated to help improve it. The metric can be based on customer attitudes (like NPS), behaviors (like repeat purchases), or even results (like first call resolution). Just pick a simple metric that aligns with your business goals.
  • Follow our five steps. To drive improvements using the metric, follow Temkin Group’s five steps. to a strong CX metrics program: 1) Determine a core CX metric, 2) set achievable goals, 3) identify key drivers, 4) establish key driver metrics, and 5) make the suite of metrics actionable.
  • Focus on all four action loops. People often discuss an action loop with CX metrics, but we’ve identified four customer insight-driven action loopsImmediate responsecorrective actioncontinuous improvement, and strategic change. Any CX metrics program should put in places processes to close all four loops.
  • Don’t compensate too much. When companies establish CX metrics, they often establish compensation based on them. While this can be a valuable approach to raise awareness and alignment, it can also be a problem if the level of compensation is too large (can encourage bad behaviors), it focuses on individual results (CX is a team sport), or the goals are too precise (some metrics are inherently jittery).
  • Have very clear sampling strategy. The approach for sampling often has a very significant impact on results. If you have multiple segments of customers and they each have a different profile (as many do), then your overall scores can change wildly based on the mix of those customers that are included in your calculations.

The bottom line: Obsess about your metrics program, not your metric.

Great News: Temkin Group Joins Forces With Qualtrics

I’m thrilled to announce that Temkin Group has been acquired by Qualtrics. Together, our goal is to create the world’s premiere center of excellence for all things experience management (XM).

This new center––the Qualtrics XM Institute––brings together the industry’s foremost thought leaders to help shape the future of experience management, establish and publish best-practices, drive product innovation, and enable certification and training programs that further build a community of XM professionals. The Institute will create industry benchmarks, drive groundbreaking thought leadership, and guide ongoing program optimization for customers. As part of the acquisition, I will be leading the Institute.

We have enjoyed every minute of every day at Temkin Group and we were not looking to be acquired. But this was an opportunity for us to join in the creation of an entirely new category and help the world master experience management.

Now to address a few key points:

Why Qualtrics

As you may know, we’ve worked with most of the large vendors in the space, providing advice on strategy and participating in their marketing activities. Throughout our eight years, Temkin Group has remained independent, helping our corporate clients make good decisions whenever they were choosing one of those vendors.

While we have enjoyed working with all of the vendors, during the last few years it’s become clear to me that Qualtrics has the strongest momentum in CX and XM. There is no doubt, Qualtrics has become and is on a trajectory to remain, the leader in CX and experience management with its robust XM Platform™. The Qualtrics XM Institute will play a big role in this trajectory moving forward.

As Qualtrics co-founder and CEO, Ryan Smith said, “The goal of Qualtrics is to power the world’s experiences. We believe every organization will have an experience team, and the XM platform makes it possible for those organizations to democratize customer, employee, product, and brand experience. The Qualtrics XM institute will sit on top of the XM Platform, allowing best-practice content, workshops, and benchmarking to be accessed by everyone.

We also felt a strong match between our cultures. When you walk into Qualtrics headquarters, there are five pillars that read, “Transparency,” “All In,” “One Team,” “Customer Obsessed,” and “Scrappy.” It’s how Qualtrics describes its culture, but it’s also an accurate description of how we built the Temkin Group.

Temkin Group could certainly have remained independent. Our business is as strong as ever. But we were excited about the opportunity to join forces and tap into Qualtrics’ growing scale, complementing its great technology with an equally great learning institution, the Qualtrics XM Institute.

Introducing the Qualtrics XM Institute

Experience management is the future. We live in an experience economy and organizations in the future will succeed or fail based on the experiences they provide. The Qualtrics XM Institute recognizes this new reality. Designed to help organizations create cutting-edge experience management programs, the Qualtrics XM Institute will complement the expertise of the Qualtrics Partner Network’s subject matter experts and consultants, as well as Qualtrics’ own XM scientists, product specialists and training and certification experts. By partnering with both internal and third-party experts, the Qualtrics XM Institute will support the most cutting-edge best practices found anywhere in the industry with research, benchmarks, training, and industry events, all leveraging the power of Qualtrics’ leading Experience Management or XM Platform™. The XM Platform is a single system of action for all experience data, allowing organizations to manage the four core experiences of business–customer, employee, product and brand experience—in one place.

The Qualtrics XM Institute will focus on several key areas. First, it will deliver industry thought leadership, including industry benchmarks and original research on experience management topics and trends. Second, the Institute will leverage an extensive team of subject matter experts—both from Qualtrics and the Qualtrics Partner Network—to assist organizations with program design, implementation, and optimization. Third, it will become a key influencer for product development, design, and adoption. Lastly, it will serve an ongoing role, helping organizations optimize and iterate on their experience management programs through training, product feedback collection, and customer and industry events.

As you can tell from the explanation, this will not be a rebranding of Temkin Group. Instead, we will take what we’ve learned, build upon it, and create a highly-scalable model for helping the world master experience management.

Leveraging what we’ve done in the past

To add a little bit of personal context, I love creating things.

When I was at Forrester Research, I established its current focus on enterprise customer experience and created its customer experience index. When I left Forrester in 2010, my wife Karen and I founded Temkin Group. During the past eight years, we’ve created so many new things that it’s impossible to list them all, including a variety of workshops, Temkin Ratings, Temkin Loyalty Index, Temkin Employee Engagement Index, and the CX Institute.

Late in 2010, Karen and I envisioned and architected the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA). We enlisted Jeanne Bliss to join us, and together we created the world’s leading association for customer experience professionals. During the five years that I was the initial chair of the CXPA, we grew from zero to almost 4,000 members and created many of the association’s current activities, including the Insight Exchange, CX Day, CX Experts, Mentor Match, and CCXP certification. I’m excited that Karen is also joining me, along with our entire team, on this next journey.

Looking forward

We are still working out some of the details, but I’ll continue to post updates so stay tuned. We are excited to have you to join us on this journey.

Baseball Fans Lean To The Right

As a die-hard Red Sox fan, I really enjoy watching the MLB playoffs. As a matter of fact, baseball is one of the two major U.S. sports that has gained TV fans since 2012 (see our Fan Experience Benchmark). But even with sports on TV, I couldn’t hide from the news updates full of partisan political bickering. So it made me think… what are the political views of baseball fans?

I know that’s a pretty obscure question, but it turns out that we have the data to figure it out. In our Q1 2018 U.S. consumer benchmark survey, we ask about the sports that people like to watch on TV and we also asked about their political leanings. As you can see in the graphic below, baseball fans are decidedly more republican than the general population.

eBook: Humanizing Customer Experience

Temkin Group eBook: Humanizing Customer Experience (CX)Temkin Group has labeled 2018 “The Year of Humanity.” To support this theme, over the past year we have conducted research and developed content – such as this eBook – specifically aimed at helping fellow CX professionals improve the world around us. In this eBook, Humanizing Customer Experience, you will learn about:

  • The Six Key Traits Of Human Beings that are important to understand how people think, feel, and act.
  • How individuals can improve humanity by embracing diversity, extending compassion, and expressing appreciation.
  • Three strategies for CX professionals to improve humanity: act with purpose, create positive memories, and cultivate deep empathy.

Temkin Group eBook: Humanizing Customer Experience (CX)

 

Report: Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2018

Temkin Group Net Promoter Score (NPS) BenchmarkWe published a Temkin Group report, Net Promoter Score Benchmark Study, 2018. This is the seventh year of this study that includes Net Promoter® Scores (NPS®) on 342 companies across 20 industries.

Here’s the executive summary:

Many large companies use Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) to evaluate their customers’ loyalty. To compare scores across organizations and industries, Temkin Group measured the NPS of 342 companies across 20 industries based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers. Here are the highlights from this benchmark:

  • With an NPS of 65, USAA’s banking business earned the highest score in the study, followed closely by its insurance business and Navy Federal Credit Union.
  • Spectrum and Consolidated Edison of NY received the two lowest NPS, with scores of -16 and -12 respectively.
  • The industry average for NPS ranged from a high of 39 for auto dealers and streaming media down to a low of 0 for TV/Internet service providers.
  • USAA’s and Navy Federal Credit Union’s scores both outpaced the banking industry average by more than 40 points, while Motel 6’s and Super 8’s scores both fell nearly 30 points behind the hotel industry average.
  • Only five industries saw their average NPS increase over the past year. Of those, airlines’ and utilities’ scores increased the most, going up three points each.
  • Although a majority (54%) of companies’ NPS declined over the previous year, three companies – BCBS of Florida, Fairfield Inn, and Ameren Illinois Company – actually increased their NPS by more than 20 points since 2017.
  • 18- to 24-year-old consumers give companies the lowest NPS, with an average score of 3 across all industries. Meanwhile, two age groups – consumers between the ages of 25 and 34 and those who are older than 74 – tied for giving the highest NPS, with an average score of 36 across industries.
  • NPS is highly correlated with customer experience. On average, customer experience leaders enjoy an NPS that is 21 points higher than the NPS of customer experience laggards.

See the NPS Benchmark Studies from 2012, 2013201420152016, and 2017.

Here’s a list of companies included in this study (.pdf).

Download report for $495+
(includes report (in .pdf) plus dataset (.xlsx)
Check out this sample of the dataset
Purchase Net Promoter Score (NPS) benchmark

Here are the top and bottom 10 companies:

Here are the NPS scores across 20 industries:
Temkin Group Net Promoter Score (NPS) Benchmark Industry Scores

Download report for $495+
(includes report (in .pdf) plus dataset (.xlsx)
Check out this sample of the dataset
buy Net Promoter Score (NPS) Benchmark Study


Report Outline:

  • USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union Earn Top NPS Across 342 Companies
    • USAA and Navy Federal Credit Union Earn Top Spots in NPS Rankings
    • NPS Increases With Age
  • Want Higher NPS? Improve Customer Experience

 

Figures in the Report:

  1. Temkin Group Measured Net Promoter Scores For 342 Companies Across 20 Industries
  2. Net Promoter Scores (NPS): Top and Bottom 20 Companies
  3. Range of Net Promoter Scores (NPS) Across Industries
  4. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) By Industry (Page 1)
  5. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) By Industry (Page 2)
  6. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) By Industry (Page 3)
  7. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) By Industry (Page 4)
  8. Net Promoter Scores (NPS) By Industry (Page 5)
  9. Promoters, Passives, and Detractors By Industry
  10. Net Promoter Scores (NPS): Most Above and Below Industry Average
  11. Industry Average NPS, 2016 to 2018
  12. Net Promoter Scores (NPS): Largest Gains and Losses Between 2017 and 2018
  13. Net Promoter Score (NPS) by Age by Industry
  14. Customer Experience Correlates To Net Promoter Scores (NPS)

Download report for $495+
(includes report (in .pdf) plus dataset (.xlsx)
Check out this sample of the dataset
buy Net Promoter Score (NPS) Benchmark Study

If you’re looking to create a strong NPS program, check out our VoC/NPS Resource Page.

P.S. Net Promoter Score, Net Promoter, and NPS are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Satmetrix Systems, and Fred Reichheld.

Oxford CEO Demonstrates Purposeful Leadership

One of the key ingredients to a customer-centric organization is Purposeful Leadership. To keep an entire company moving in tandem, leaders must articulate and commit to a clear purpose – one that aligns all employees’ day-to-day decisions and is more compelling than simply increased profits. What does that look like?

This video from Oxford Properties‘ CEO Michael Turner is a great example of Purposeful Leadership in action (thanks to Roger Pugsley for sharing it with me). As you can see, Turner doesn’t just send out emails saying that customer experience is important, he commits his time and energy to making it a reality. It’s one of the reasons that Oxford has won Temkin Group’s CX Excellence Awards.

In this short video, Turner demonstrates many of what we call the Five Ps of Purposeful Leaders

Five Ps of Purposeful Leadership

The bottom line: What can you do to be a more purposeful leader?

Lessons From Temkin Group’s Humanity Workshops

Throughout the year, Temkin Group has been focused on making 2018, “The Year of Humanity.” As a part of our commitment to this critical theme, we developed a highly interactive workshop “Humanizing CX,” which I’ve led for 10 Customer Experience Professionals Association local networking events in cities across the U.S. and Canada.

It’s been an amazing experience to see the overwhelmingly positive response from more than 600 CX professionals.

The workshop has a simple agenda, examining how attendees can improve humanity:

  • As Individuals
  • As CX professionals
  • As a collective CX community

For those of you who have not been able to join, I thought it might be nice to capture some of the highlights of the workshop. So here goes…

Improving Humanity As Individuals

We start the workshop by examining how we, as individuals, can improve humanity based on how we interact with the world around us. Here are some highlights:

  • How happy are you? In order to improve humanity as individuals, you need to start by focussing on the most important person — the one you see in the mirror. Think about it, have you ever improved humanity when you were “hangry” (hungry and angry)? It’s important for us to think about our personal frame of mind, because that’s what we reflect on the people around us. That’s why we start the workshop by having people complete Temkin Group’s Happiness Assessment, which uses 5 simple questions to gauge an individual’s happiness against a benchmark of 10,000 U.S. consumers. The takeaway from this section is that you need to be mindful of your personal state in order to be a positive impact on others.
  • Embrace Diversity. To highlight the fact that people have lost the art of engaging effectively with people who have a differing point of view, we ran an exercise where attendees broke into pairs and had to find three things about which they totally disagree. It’s fun as the room buzzes with conversation and laughter. The individual pairs always find a bunch of interesting areas of disagreement. Afterwards, we discuss why these discussions didn’t become argumentative as do many disagreements in other parts of our lives. Here are some of the takeaways from the exercise:
    • These discussions were not generally about important topics. Very few of our disagreements are ever about truly important things. We just need to remember what’s truly important to us — which is not always trying to get someone else to share our opinion.
    • The exercise forces people to find things they agreed upon along the way. In most cases, we tend to have a lot of things that we agree upon that get pushed aside when a disagreement happens. So it’s productive to find the things that you agree on, before you dive deep into the disagreement.
    • We were in it together. Everyone was participating in the same exercise, which gave the group a common goal. This is similar to the previous bullet about areas of agreement, but it’s a bit more specific. We need to align around the purpose of our discussion and the greater good that might come from finding common ground.
    • The discussions were face-to-face, which allowed more mutual adjustments. I ask the audience if they have ever seen someone on Facebook who has a pretty sever point of view being swayed by disagreeing comments. If we disagree, the closer we can get to dealing with it face-to-face the better.
    • I often end this section by mentioning the need to assume positive intent. The other person may not have the same point of view as you, but they have the same right to their point of view as you do to yours.
  • Extend Compassion. All around us there are people who can use our love and care. We are often so distracted that we don’t even notice them. But we should. Helping other people is not only a noble activity and wonderful for the other person, but it is also great for the giver. You get an amazing feeling when you help other people. To share that feeling with the group, we had attendees pick from one of 15 charities, and Temkin Group donated $5 to each of their selections. In total, we are donating $3,000 on behalf of the CX community. Our goal in that part of the session was to have the group collectively experience the feeling of extending compassion. If we can remember that feeling, then we can look for more of those opportunities.
  • Express Appreciation. We asked the groups how many people felt like they spend enough time showing appreciation to the people around them. Very few people raised their hands. Expressing appreciation is another activity that pays the giver as much as it does the receiver. So we asked everyone in the group to send a message of appreciation (text/email/etc.) to a person who they feel deserves it from them. In a couple of cases, attendees sent the message to their teenage kids and received a version of this message in response “wtf. u ok? luv u back.” That’s about as good as it gets from a teenager. Our recommendation to the group was to find some time during the day, during breakfast, before or after lunch, before or after dinner, when you can consistently find 5 or 10 minutes to dedicate to sending messages of appreciation. Make it a habit!

Improving Humanity As CX Professionals

For the second part of the workshop, we focused on how we could improve humanity in our roles as CX professionals. Here’s how we flowed through that section:

  • Understand human beings. If you look at any part of a CX professional’s job, one thing jumps out — it’s all about people. Customers, internal stakeholders, executives, and partners are all human beings. The job of a CX professional is to influence how those people think and behave. So we start this section by providing a framework for understanding (and influencing) people, our Six Key Traits of Human Beings: Intuitive, Self-Centered, Emotional, Motivated, Hopeful, and Social.
  • Act with purpose. To drive change, you need to align the direction of lots of people across an organization. This requires what Temkin Group calls Purposeful Leadership. Through a dissection of a Steve Jobs speech, we helped the group understand what we call the Five Ps of Purposeful Leaders: Positive, Passionate, Persuasive, Propelling, and Persistent. We then took the group through an exercise where they compared their own leadership approach to a leader that they admire. Our goal was to get each attendee to identify one “P” that they are committed to improving.
  • Cultivate deep empathy. A lot of the things that CX professionals do can be described as trying to raise employees’ empathy for customers. So we started this part of the workshop with an exercise that highlighted our natural empathy, and explaining that human beings experience both cognitive and emotional empathy. As CX professionals, we need to elicit both of these when we are trying to influence other people. That’s why it’s so important to accompany customer insight data with stories about specific customers. It also turns out that employees encounter many factors that inhibit their natural empathy, so we discussed the  Five Ways That Organizations Crush Customer Empathy.
  • Create positive memories. It turns out that loyalty isn’t based on what people experience; it’s based on what they remember about those experiences. And memories can be quite different than actual experiences. That’s because our memories aren’t like YouTube videos. Instead, our memories are more like Instagram photos that we take at interesting moments in our lives. We remember our past by creating a story that links together those selected photos. During the workshop, we discussed how to focus our efforts on affecting the moments that people remember. This is a critical component of experience design.

Improving Humanity As A Collective CX Community

In the final section of the workshop, we broke into small groups (2 to 3 people) to identify an idea about how the CX community could collectively help humanity. The groups then submitted their ideas online, which we’ve listed out on the humanity workshop page. Temkin Group is committed to selecting one of those ideas and leading it forward. Please take a look and share your ideas in the comments section on that page.

The Year of Humanity

The bottom line: Please join Temkin Group in making 2018, “The Year of Humanity!