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        Keith Dawson's Analyst Perspectives

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        Qualtrics XM Platform Zeros in on Customer Experiences

        Modern business relies on having a clear, continuous understanding of customer perceptions and intentions. That insight is increasingly used to deliver them experiences that they would consider excellent, in turn leading to higher satisfaction and more profitable relationships. Qualtrics, a provider of Experience Management (XM) software, focuses on creating applications that analyze customer interactions and feedback so that different teams across the enterprise can better identify opportunities and challenges.

        At its annual X4 customer conference, Qualtrics discussed strategy and plans with analysts, describing how it is evolving its product set based on serving three separate types of user within organizational customer experience (CX) teams. The approach is to distinguish between the data and analysis needs of contact center managers, people management teams or HR managers, and marketers or behind-the-scenes business researchers.

        Each of those personas will be served by a separate slice of the company's XM platform, a consolidated listening engine that takes in direct feedback from agents and customers, along with inferred feedback derived from continuous processing of audio and text interactions and its analysis by AI. As a result, XM will now contain product components named for the persona involved: "Frontline" for the contact center and customer-facing tools, "People" for employee-related software and "Strategic" for marketing and research. Within those categories, there are new and improved applications bundled into packages to make it easy for a business unit to find value within the larger platform.

        One of the most interesting areas of exploration is the connection between employee experience, including contact center agents, and its effects on customer experiences and outcomes. Multiple speakers, including Qualtrics customers, provided examples of how metrics like customer satisfaction can be affected. Employee feedback is multi-faceted, related to both customer interactions and how the workplace itself is experienced. Qualtrics appears to be making significant headway in knitting together traditional contact center supervisory actions (e.g., coaching, listening and performance optimization) with measures to reduce agent attrition and better measure subjective factors that affect employee performance.

        Capturing insights about the connection between workforce performance and customer outcomes will be a critical, developing element of CX and customer feedback tools goingVentana_Research_2023_Assertion_AgentMgmt_Agent_Value_Capture_29_S forward. We believe that by 2027, three-quarters of organizations will automatically evaluate data to capture all sources of value an employee contributes to customer value and loyalty.

        Qualtrics is expanding its use of AI in its agent management tool with a new feature called Frontline Agent Coaching which draws in data from multiple human and digital touchpoints and applies AI to find pressure points within interactions where agents can benefit from real time coaching. Frontline Team Assist uses AI and NLP to analyze the entirety of an agent’s calls and feeds managers snippets and information more closely relevant to issues than they would get from a random sampling. These are both enhancements to the existing Real-Time Agent Assist function.

        Frontline is adding two new components: Customer Journey Optimizer and Digital Experience Analytics. CJO identifies moments within an interaction that derails a successful sale or revenue opportunity. It creates a view of the customer’s journey spanning all channels and quantifies the business impact of those fail-points with metrics like lost revenue or service cost.

        Digital Experience Analytics creates a visual replay of consumers’ behavior during their web experiences, capturing key frustration signals like error clicks, rage clicks and mouse thrashes. DEA can watch for those signals and trigger a workflow to intervene, such as a pop-up dialogue leading to an agent. These two components are now in private beta.

        Another module, Manager Assist, merges employee behavior data with continuous listening and employee feedback. It was described as a way to provide managers with a "continuous pulse" on how engaged employees are and inform managers about issues related to employee well-being. In reality, this feature will most likely be used for employee performance optimization and assessment, both inside and outside the contact center.

        For marketing and research-focused teams, Qualtrics is offering several new CX tools called Real-time Brand Intelligence and Research Hub. These solutions use real-time analytics and predictive insights to monitor brand performance. Research Hub assembles data from multiple sources (e.g., brand studies, customer feedback and market data) into a single searchable system.

        Real-time Brand Intelligence tells marketers how well their campaigns, events and interactions are driving customer acquisition and demand. It captures data from social platforms, news, review sites, search, paid media, web traffic and behavioral data, and applies the Qualtrics AI analysis to recommend actions that can increase customer acquisition or reduce spending.

        With a timeline for delivery of these new and enhanced tools over the rest of 2023 and beyond, Qualtrics is moving to take its contact center-focused platform and make it a key element of broader organizational CX. The elements for marketing and market research appear to map well to what those teams need. It has the potential to dramatically increase — and improve — the use of customer data from contact centers in marketing contexts.

        In our recent Value Index on Customer Experience Management systems, published at the end of 2022, we suggested that Qualtrics make changes to its platform in order to have more impact in the market for all-purpose CX suites. The features currently on display, particularly in the Frontline and Strategic bundles, indicate that Qualtrics has taken important steps to making its various components cohere into an integrated whole that de-silos related processes and can provide organizations with the kind of holistic CX platform needed to bind users and departments together. Organizations that are looking to use the voice and experiences of its customers and workforce to modernize and improve their processes should consider Qualtrics.

        To learn more about Voice of the Customer and its relationship to customer experience, visit our VoC Focus Area. For more details on how workforce engagement affects organizational performance, visit our Employee Experience Focus Area.


        Keith Dawson


        Keith Dawson
        Director of Research, Customer Experience

        Keith Dawson leads the software research and advisory in the Customer Experience (CX) expertise at Ventana Research, now part of ISG, covering applications that facilitate engagement to optimize customer-facing processes. His coverage areas include agent management, contact center, customer experience management, field service, intelligent self-service, voice of the customer and related software to support customer experiences.


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