C+/B- is the grade the customer experience industry currently deserves – Interview with Bruce Temkin

c-plus-school-letter-grade

Today’s interview is with Bruce Temkin, Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. He joins me today to talk about his view on the current state of the customer experience industry, what it needs to focus on next, being acquired (twice in a few months) and what’s coming up next for him and the XM Institute.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The removal of friction represents a huge opportunity for customer experience – Interview with Roger Dooley – and is number 304 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my chat with Bruce:

  • Experience management (XM) is the discipline around bringing experience data (X data) and operational data (O data) together so that you can run your business more effectively and be more adaptive.
  • If you apply experience management correctly then you’re continuously learning, propagating insights across the enterprise and rapidly adapting to change.
  • We need to learn how to change the focus away from a predominantly process and technology view to one that focuses more on the human beings that are involved in the experience.
  • Following the acquisition by Qualtrics, Bruce has been really pleasantly surprised about how things have gone since the acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP.
  • He likes to describe it as going from seven people to two thousand and seven at Qualtrics to ninety eight thousand at SAP.
  • If Bruce were to give the experience industry a school report card right now it would achieve a C+/B-.
  • He admits that he is a hard grader but also says that a few years ago he would have given the industry a D.
  • That demonstrates that we’re on a long term journey.
  • If we look 10-15 years out then organizations are going to look radically different and they are going to be making strategic decisions faster and more frequently. They’re going to have to understand things about their customers not just from observing them but also by having a real and deeper understanding of their emotional states and the emotional states of employees, suppliers and everyone along the way impacts what they do.
  • One the biggest challenges facing the experience industry is moving from just looking at the experience you have with customers to one that includes internal culture and operating processes.
  • The other challenge is recognizing that human beings are not just participants in a process that’s enabled by technology. They are the core assets of it all. And so, we have to shift to start putting human beings (employees, customers etc) at the center of everything we do with process and technology really there to enable them.
  • While it may sound like that is what we do today, actually the nuance of that is that it is going to be a considerable shift that I think organizations need to adopt.
  • The difference between customer experience and the customer’s experience is technically only 4 letters and an apostrophe but, in reality, it can be a country mile.
  • Experience management is all about people. The entire value chain is just full of these things called human beings.
  • Look for inspiration in sectors like hospitality, automotive and luxury brands. Many in these sectors are trying to figure out how do they create a different experience in a consistent way.
  • However, go there and learn. Don’t try and imitate.
  • The right experience for an organization to deliver is the one that reinforces their own special brand.
  • So, if you see something that someone else is doing that you like then don’t imitate. Instead, ask yourself: How can we make that work to reinforce our brand?
  • XM Institute are about to release an operating framework for experience management that is a build on from the competency model that was the foundation for all of Temkin Group’s work.
  • This will aim to give the industry a very clear curriculum for what we all need to be learning over the next decade.
  • Keep an eye on www.qualtrics.com/xm-institute or www.experiencematters.blog for more details.
  • Bruce’s two words to describe a punk approach to CX:
    • Human; and
    • Personal.

About Bruce

Bruce_TemkinBruce Temkini is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. For over 20 years, Bruce has been a central figure in the world of CX. From his influential thought leadership at Forrester, to founding the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) in 2011. In 2010 he created the Temkin Group, which helped large organizations create and sustain great customer experiences. Today, he heads up the XM InstituteTM at Qualtrics®, with the goal of making it the world’s premier center of excellence for all things experience management.

You can find out more about Bruce and the work that he is doing at www.qualtrics.com/xm-institute and www.experiencematters.blog. Say Hi to him and the folks at Qualtrics on Twitter @btemkin, @XM_Institute and @Qualtrics and feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn here.

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Thanks to Photos Public Domain for the image.

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