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Customer Experience

WorkDifferent 2021: Design the experiences people want next

The past 12 months have changed everything about the way we work, the way we buy, and the way we interact with the brands. As we look forward to what comes next, it’s clear we’re not going back.

18 months of working differently will do that. 

We learned to work in new environments, buy through new channels, and engage with the world around us in new ways. Employees are putting more demands on employers, whether for new, flexible working arrangements or an overdue focus on inclusion and belonging in the workplace. And for consumers, the digital-first experiences that were once a differentiator are now simply table stakes.

Dig deeper into the experiences people want next

Expectations have grown

For all those employees who felt liberated by being able to work from anywhere and have started migrating out of cities, there are those who yearn for work as we knew it in 2019. And for every customer that’s vowed never to go shopping in store again, there is another who  just wants to get back out on Main Street.

In 2020 we all learned what we valued most, how much change we could take, and found our own ‘normal’. Now, as the world begins to open up and we look to the future, organizations are faced with a historic challenge: how do you continue to innovate, and to meet the expectations of your customers and employees, when everything is highly personalized?

How can we move forward?

How can a people leader foster a sense of belonging in a team that’s two thirds remote?

With consumer preferences changing, how do retailers get the balance right between investing in their brick and mortar portfolio and their tech stack?

And how do restaurants evolve to make eating out an experience again when so many have enjoyed a year of home delivery and curated in-home culinary experiences?

These are the types of questions facing every organization as we move forward.

“We need to create a culture of action where every interaction is an opportunity to take action and deliver the experiences people need”
- Zig Serafin, CEO, Qualtrics

What will the future look like?

The answer will be different for everyone, but the path to getting them is the same. We need to ask the right questions, listen harder, understand better, and take action at every level to design the experiences people want next.

That’s experience management, and we’ve seen the best organizations perfecting it over the past year.

By asking the right questions, and understanding how customers’ and employees’ expectations changed, they were able to act quickly, adapting products, services and experiences to meet people where they were.

Sometimes, that meant building entirely new experiences. Other times, it meant updating an existing one.

As we move forward, the experience management (XM) practices learned during the pandemic need to become part of every organization’s culture. Designing the experiences people want next, and updating existing experiences to remain relevant require the entire organization to work differently.

Hear every voice

We need to listen to every voice, understand what people are saying, and create a culture of action where every interaction – whether it’s customers, employees, or any other stakeholder – is an opportunity to take action and deliver the experiences they need.

Today, more than 13,500 organizations around the world are using XM to transform the way they work. They’re breaking down data silos, and centralizing their ability to capture experience data, understand it, and take action.

It opened up new opportunities for innovation as they design the experiences people want next, and enabled them to move quickly to respond to changing needs both from their customer and their employees.

And as we move forward, it’s providing them with the uncommon ability to deliver hyper-personalized experiences at every touchpoint to turn customers into fans, employees into ambassadors, products into obsessions, and brands into religions.

Design the experiences people want next

Zig Serafin - CEO // CEO, Qualtrics

Zig Serafin is the Chief Executive Officer of Qualtrics. Zig joined Qualtrics as Chief Operating Officer in 2016 and was instrumental in the development and launch of the Qualtrics Experience Management Platform. Zig has led the rapid growth of Qualtrics to over 13,000 customers and was a leader in SAP’s 2019 acquisition of Qualtrics for $8B, the largest private enterprise software acquisition ever at the time.

Zig was previously Corporate Vice President at Microsoft and led its multi-billion dollar enterprise collaboration services business that became Microsoft Teams.

In his 17-year career at Microsoft, Zig served as Corporate Vice President of program management and design for Microsoft’s services in anticipatory computing, speech/audio/vision processing, location/language understanding, and geospatial data, leading the teams that developed Microsoft’s artificial intelligence platform, Cortana. Prior to that, Zig was President and General Manager of Microsoft’s Tellme Networks.

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