Customer Experience

What’s the future of customer experience?

As we look forward, which best practices are CX leaders adopting, and what are the factors and forces that will shape CX in the years to come?

The future of CX is XM

We believe that the future of customer experience isn’t simply thinking about customers. It’s about the experience of every person who comes into contact with you, and what you can do to make that experience the best possible.

CX is the arena where experience-first business was first popularized, perhaps because its benefit was so obvious in terms of customer retention and lifetime value. But when you look deeper into experience design and experience improvement, it’s clear that customer revenue benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.

XM (experience management) is the practice of continuously listening and taking action based on your discoveries on a business-wide level. It’s about using the data you gather about your customers and stakeholders to improve not only experiences but the tools you use to create them. It focuses on making experiences central to your company culture and values.

Ultimately, the future of CX is XM. Because in the future, the way you treat customers and the way you treat the other humans in your ecosystem will simply need no differentiation.

Access the full guide: The Future of CX is XM

2020 – a catalyst for the XM paradigm

2020 acted as a focal point, bringing out the innovative power of successful businesses and illustrating their exceptional ability to adapt and bounce back. With these capabilities in full force, we saw actions and behaviors that will set the course for CX in the future.

Within these businesses, the principles of prioritizing experiences and responding to needs radiated beyond the customer relationship and were applied more deeply and consistently across all human touchpoints, including employees, suppliers and other stakeholder groups.

Change isn’t optional

It’s no understatement to say that 2020 has transformed the needs and expectations of customers, employees and the world of business as a whole, creating a new set of challenges demanding to be met with incredible rapidity.

Companies were increasingly judged on their values and actions, rather than just their products and services. Their behavior as part of a community, local and global, became a defining feature. And the ability to pivot and react to change was revealed as perhaps the most important prerequisite for success.

Customers now need and expect more from companies than ever before, and those who are able to adapt and meet those needs are being rewarded with strong customer loyalty and advocacy.

Metrics in review

In 2020, we saw a trend of businesses shaking up their metrics. The tried and trusted measures which provided benchmarks and predictions in the past quickly became meaningless in the light of catastrophic global events. Many companies simply stopped measuring altogether.

As a tentative recovery appears on the horizon, you may be turning back to your metrics once more. As you do, take the time to evaluate them one by one. Do they enable you to take action? Do they support your ability to pivot quickly, react to change and remain resilient? For many, relative goals, which place you in context with your market rather than just your own past performance, are seen as highly valuable at present.

How to set your XM program up for the future

Today’s advanced XM-based business approach will be tomorrow’s standard practice. So what can you do to set yourself up for that fast-approaching future? We’ve distilled our experts’ recommendations into three areas of action.

1. Continuously listen

Listening will adapt as its value is increasingly recognized. Instead of repeated surveys at regular intervals or asking people to stop what they were doing and fill us in on their thoughts, we will see listening become more continuous and integrated, a part of the experience rather than a commentary on it. Businesses will adapt their ways of listening based on what they are learning.

2. Propagate insights

Just as listening becomes more responsive and adaptive, so will the information it provides. Rather than one-size-fits-all reports and generalized dashboard, we’ll see insights and information tailored to each individual across the business, delivered in the way that best enables them to take action.

3. Rapidly adapt

We’ll see insights and the actions they drive becoming seamlessly joined. The gap between identifying areas for improvement and deciding how to prioritize and act on them will close, and automation will play a greater role in turning information into results.

7 tips for your CX program in 2021

While far-sighted predictions about the future of CX are valuable, the time to act is always right now. So how do you go about making the changes you need today?

Here are 7 tips from Bruce Temkin, Head of Qualtrics XM Institute, intended to help you reposition and adapt your current offerings, messaging and processes, so you’re equipped to create immediate and lasting results as we enter the XM era.

1. Scrap your old metrics

Replace whatever metrics you’ve been using that aren’t driving answers to two essential questions: What have you learned? What improvements are you making?

2. Stop asking people what they like

Technology has made it much easier to identify more detailed preferences using analytical approaches like conjoint, MaxDiff, kano and more.

3.Keep executives huddling

Many organizations established regular meetings with senior stakeholders in 2020 to review XM insights — keep these going as you settle into a new normal.

4. Shift from big data to little signals

Rather than relying on analytical models that smooth out inconsistent data, look for critical leading indicators about your stakeholders (customers, employees, partners etc).

5. Flex your qualitative muscles

Expand learning about stakeholders beyond quantitative analysis from mechanisms like open-ended questions, contact center interactions, customer advisory boards, journey mapping, and focus groups.

6. Focus on employee resilience

Invest whatever you need to keep your team engaged in your mission, aligned with your efforts, and feel supported — even if it means slowing down once in a while.

7. Stay uncomfortably positive

This marathon challenge will take its toll on just about everyone. You need to maintain your physical and mental well-being and stay as positive as possible. It will have an enormous impact on all of the people around you.


Get the complete picture. Download our free eBook: The Future of CX is XM