For organizations to stay competitive in today’s experience economy, it is essential that they consistently create unforgettable experiences. That means breaking down silos, closing gaps, and recognizing that the four core experiences of business — customer, employee, product and brand experience — are all inseparably connected. That is why we launched the Experience Management or XM Platform™ last year at our annual Summit. It is a single system of record for all experience or X-data.

This year at the X4 Experience Management Summit we hosted 7,000 amazing experience management champions. Little did we know when we started planning it, that it would be the largest experience management event in the world.

We learned so much that it’s impossible to summarize it all in one blog post. So over the next few weeks, we will be sharing lessons learned via this blog.

Here are three to start:

Alex Honnold

Alex Honnold recently rose to fame after free solo climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. That means he climbed 3,000 feet up a cliff with no ropes or safeguards. He was the first person ever to attempt this incredible feat.

Perhaps surprisingly, free solo climbing and experience management have a lot in common. In both instances, it is not about fixing what went wrong, it is about making sure nothing goes wrong in the first place. It’s about being predictive, not reactive. Alex spent years planning every aspect of his climb because he had to be prepared and know what to expect at every point. In a similar manner, today’s experience experts are focused on predictive capabilities so they can anticipate and provide great experiences for their customers and employees. Reacting to what goes wrong is not a strategy. The days of reactive customer experience are gone. We live in the world of predictive experience management.

Alex Honnold reminded us that doing the impossible also involves a lot of hard work. “Free-climbing El Capitan was a 9-year dream. For the first 7 years of the dream, I thought I’ll do it ‘next year when I’m better.’ Eventually I accepted that having the dream meant doing the work to prepare and become better.”

Julie Larson-Green

Earlier this year Qualtrics announced the appointment of Julie Larson-Green as Qualtrics’ Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Prior to Qualtrics, Julie served as the CXO of Microsoft.

Julie talked about the importance of always asking why. She said this trait, which may have been annoying to others while she was young, has become one of her greatest attributes in her career. Always asking “why” led her to think through the whole experience someone would have. With that kind of thinking, she was able to reorient the reason people came to work to be focused on the experiences they were creating, not simply the products they were building.

Julie also shared a key lesson she discovered over time: culture and product go hand in hand. Drawing from her years of helping enterprise customers at Microsoft, Julie said, “Every transformation that I’ve led starts by setting the right culture.” Julie interviewed guests from Walmart and Blackrock Inc. to talk about how they are transforming their cultures and showcased how Qualtrics is taking those learnings and incorporating them into the XM Platform.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

There are a lot of great examples of people and organizations improving experiences. There are far fewer examples of those who fundamentally transform experiences. Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of those rare people. He took the Broadway experience and reimagined it with his musical Hamilton. Talking about creating something completely new, Miranda said, “The biggest tools in your toolbox as a creator are research and empathy.”

In other words, the greatest creators and artists understand their audiences on a human level and think through what they are looking for in an experience and why. They think through every detail to make sure it has been masterfully crafted to engage their audience. Experience management, with its confluence of experience data and operational data, has a lot to learn from these visionaries who draw from left-brain and right-brain insights to create their masterpiece.


Over the course of X4, I heard incredible stories of experience champions making a difference in their workplaces. A customer experience leader at a major bank moved from staring at NPS scores to achieving the lowest customer churn rate in the nation through a proactive NPS campaign. An employee experience executive transformed attrition at her company by listening to her employees and changing the way that maternity and paternity benefits are administered.

At Qualtrics, we are grateful to be working with the best customers in the world, learning together, and working to make the world a better place for customers and employees.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn with you. We are just getting started.

Ryan Smith

Can Qualtrics help you achieve your experience goals? Click here to book an appointment with a Qualtrics Experience Expert who can learn more about your goals, show you our latest innovations, and create a solution that helps you crush your goals!

Our #X4summit18 conference sold out this year. We want to make sure you get a chance to get to the top of the line next year. Click here to pre-register for X4 2019 or check out the content from 2018 here.