Brand Experience

Experience management 101: The what, why, and how of XM

As the ever-increasing flow of information shifts power from organizations into the hands of individuals, businesses must reassess how they operate. They must continuously learn what customers, employees, and partners are thinking and feeling, redefining their business models to provide positive, personalized experiences. Identifying and closing experience gaps has become essential to the customer journey, employee engagement, and succeeding in today’s ultra-competitive and ever-changing environment.

What is experience management?

Experience management (XM) is the discipline of using experience data and operational data (X + O data) to measure and improve every interaction that people have with your company.

The evolution of experience management

In the early 2000s, companies typically collected customer satisfaction data and employee feedback via basic surveys and focus groups. But over the last decade, the experience economy was born. Organizations started evolving to gain deeper understandings of how people think, feel, and behave by using technology to uncover, share, and act upon insights. XM has become an organizational habit by which companies don’t simply sell goods and services – they deliver end-to-end experiences.

Early on, Qualtrics built an industry-leading experience management platform that focused on the four distinct pillars of XM: brand experience (BX), product experience (PX), customer experience (CX), and employee experience (EX). And to successfully activate an XM program across these core experiences, companies need to adopt the XM Operating Framework.

Qualtrics XM Operating Framework

Organizations that adopt the XM discipline need to focus on three main components:

  • Technology: To consistently deliver XM at scale, companies must have a platform that collects, analyzes, and distributes valuable insights at scale.
  • Competency: Companies need to change the way they operate by developing skills to uncover and act on new insights.
  • Culture: Businesses need to create an environment that nurtures XM-centric behaviors across the organization, from leaders to front-line employees.

Find out how to create and sustain a customer-centric culture

X + O data

Traditionally, businesses relied on operational data such as costs, accounting, sales, and profitability to make business decisions. But this represents only one side of the overall experience. To fully interpret this information, you need the X data – feedback from customers and employees that sheds light on customer satisfaction, employee sentiment, and other human emotions and how they affect your business. Successful companies today utilize X + O data to uncover key insights that help deliver better and more personalized experiences to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

Leveraging machine learning, artificial intelligence, and analytics, the Qualtrics technology gleans data from multiple channels and signals, putting the power of X and O data into your hands with recommended actions to affect change.

Benefits of experience management

The most successful companies don’t wait for problems to occur, they predict and mitigate those problems before they happen. And XM is what enables them to make that paradigm shift. An active XM program will help you:

  • Propagate insights – share relevant insights with the people across the organization who can take action on that information
  • Rapidly adapt – act on uncovered insights quickly and meaningfully to quickly close experience gaps
  • Increase customer loyalty and wallet share – drive repeat purchases and prompt existing customers to choose your company over others
  • Improve brand perception – enhance experiences to build loyalty and encourage recommendations on social media and in person
  • Solidify employee engagement and retentionreduce turnover, improve performance, and deliver better customer experiences
  • Enable your organization to continuously learn and improve – collect and analyze feedback and behavioral signals from the people who interact with it
  • Reduce hidden costs for poor experiencesavoid losing customers and prospects, receiving negative reviews, and discouraging potential hiring candidates

A robust XM program allows an organization to monitor and measure the quality of the experience it delivers to customers and employees, while providing insights that uncover and close experience gaps. Armed with this powerful data, your team can prioritize investments, unify the company around shared goals and objectives, and ultimately celebrate successes.

Getting started in experience management

While at first glance it may sound overwhelming, starting an XM journey is easier than you think. There are many resources and tools available to explore the possibilities and chart your course.

Steps for you:

XM Institute offers a host of knowledge base and training materials for organizations and XM professionals seeking to build competence and confidence in XM. Steps for your organization. From beginner training to scientific and theoretical thought-leadership, there is content to help you get started or to validate and grow your expertise.

For your organization:

The secret to getting started is to get started! Start small and build upon successes. Many companies begin with customer experience or employee experience to start closing experience gaps that are most pressing.

Key to success

As organizations build their XM maturity, and XM professionals develop their competencies, you will find that you are able to:

  • Continuously learn
  • Propagate insights
  • Rapidly adapt

The Qualtrics XM platform is a great foundation to help you lead XM transformation, realize value from XM, activate your organization around change, enlighten your organization with insights, respond to insights with actions, and disrupt the status quo through design.


Quickly evaluate the maturity of your experience management program: Take the assessment

Bruce Temkin // Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute

Bruce Temkin leads the Qualtrics XM Institute and is widely viewed as an experience management (XM) visionary. He has helped executives across many of the world’s leading brands dramatically improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. Given his work in establishing the discipline of CX, Bruce is often referred to as the “Godfather of Customer Experience.” He co-founded and was the initial chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Prior to joining Qualtrics, Bruce ran Temkin Group, a renowned research and advisory firm, and was a VP at Forrester Research, where he led many parts of the research organization, including CX, eBusiness, financial services, and B2B. He was the most-read analyst at Forrester for 13 consecutive quarters.

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