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Five things tech companies should know about experience management (XM)

by gbaf mag

By Catherine Thurtle, Content Strategist, Qualtrics

Customers love high tech, but they don’t always love their experiences with it.

When dealing in complex products, the potential for unexpected complications is always going to be higher. This puts the tech sector firmly in the firing line when it comes to customer complaints.

At the same time, tech brands are also held to a far higher standard than other industries, with consumer expectations changing at an incredible pace. Technology that seemed innovative and easy to use only a year or two ago, now seems sluggish and unintuitive. Compared to those in other industries, tech products age at an incredible pace and that makes positive experiences all the more difficult to achieve.

Given the complexities of this market, tech brands need to work even harder to ensure that they are delivering the best experiences — whether it’s for their customers (CX) or employees (EX), or through their brand perceptions (BX) or product designs (PX). It’s this multi-experience approach that’s become known as experience management (XM), using data across all four touchpoints to predict consumer complaints and mitigate issues before they even occur.

When businesses get this approach right, they’re richly rewarded. So, what do tech companies need to understand in order to make XM work for them?

  1. Don’t just respond to problems — predict them

From kick-starters to tech giants, no company has a crystal ball. However, the world’s most successful brands are moving away from the old-fashioned model of responding to problems as and when they occur. Now, by focusing on the right data, they can predict and act on issues before they even happen.

Achieving this means understanding how customers feel at every stage in the buying lifecycle and then working proactively to spot potential sources of frustration. This could include the user experience design of a website or app, the promotional methods being used by marketing, or even the language being adopted by aftersales support teams.

By using data, brands can identify the biggest bottlenecks in their customer journeys, and focus on fixing those areas rather than waiting until after a complaint has been logged. The result will be a more seamless customer experience and a brand reputation built around reliability and trust.

  1. Tech companies are experience companies

Ultimately, no matter what specialty tech companies have, they all have one thing in common: tech companies are experience companies.

As just one example, consider tech giant Samsung. Samsung isn’t just a manufacturer of premium consumer goods, it’s the gateway to experiences that bring people entertainment, connection, and joy. Similarly, B2B buyers depend on chip manufacturer Intel not just for innovation that powers their products, but to make sure those products can serve up amazing experiences based on context, data, and personalisation.

For tech companies, understanding this bigger picture will help unlock the types of customer experiences that they want to deliver. When planning your experience management approach, try not to think of your company as a bundle of products — think instead about what those products achieve for your target audience. What do they give customers that they didn’t have before? That’s the starting point of great experience design.

  1. It’s not about operational data, it’s about actionable insights

There’s no shortage of data in today’s world — from operational data like sales figures and turnover numbers to experience data like customer satisfaction and product reviews. But this information is only valuable if you can turn it into actionable insights.

Historically, companies have relied heavily on operational data to make decisions. Their level of maturity with collecting and using experience data is low, and as a result they aren’t able to understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. In fact, 86% of companies believe that the operational data they’ve collected doesn’t help them to improve customer experiences.

Currently, tech companies aren’t capturing experience data from every stakeholder at every touchpoint. The customer, employee, product and brand experience data they collect isn’t consolidated into a single, accessible platform, leaving this valuable information spread across siloed teams and systems. As a result, the entire organisation doesn’t have access to the insights that can ultimately empower strategic change. The data is there, but brands simply can’t use it to improve customer experiences.

  1. Employee experience is crucial

Your people are your greatest asset, so it’s crucial your workplace is somewhere that the best people want to work. As such, it’s vital to create and deliver an employee experience that attracts, motivates and retains the very best staff.

At the most basic level, this simply comes down to listening. When employees feel heard, they are more productive, stay longer and add more value to the business. In practical terms, this means creating opportunities to check in, identify improvements and work with your people to improve their experiences. To do this, you must provide employees with the means to share feedback at every stage in their career lifecycle.

Once these insights have been collected, tech companies should ensure employee feedback is delivered to the right people, in real time. Automated analysis and tools like guided action planning can support managers as they work with their teams to improve the experience — without relying exclusively on HR.

  1. Experiences change in uncertain times

While some fare better than others, tech companies are usually well-positioned to succeed in times of significant change by building capabilities in speed, agility, and execution. Tech companies that survive recessions and economic uncertainty act boldly but smartly, inspired by customer intelligence and employee empathy.

In order to keep building for the future, it’s important to increase investment in maintaining customer loyalty and enabling transformation — even in times of crisis. Another key step is maintaining business continuity efforts and focusing solely on the elements that have a clear business impact or a key role in growth and transformation.

Experience management gives tech companies the high-value insights that empower staff and encourage real change. It combines experience data, operational data, and predictive intelligence, allowing brands to pre-emptively address customer complaints, inform their strategy and, ultimately, move from decisions based on “I think” to “I know.”

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