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The Year of CX Data Shifts Into Overdrive

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 08/03/2021

Do you feel it? That rumbling beneath your feet? It’s a seismic tremor that’s changing the CX landscape.

Back in December, I predicted 2021 would be The Year of CX Data. This summer we’re seeing that play out on an even grander scale than I expected.

This pivotal moment in CX history makes designing compelling journeys that deliver an emotional outcome to earn your customer’s loyalty more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. Technological capabilities have advanced to the point where we can cover all the key Xs – EX (employees), CX (customers), and UX (users) – to deliver an optimized outcome for both the company and the customer.

But this new landscape is far from level…and it’s riddled with hazards. Some organizations are falling into sinkholes, while others are sailing ahead – including many of your competitors.

Case in point, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE):

Qualtrics just launched Plug for Ctrl+B, a video series hosted by Brad Anderson. The first interview features HPE CIO Bob Ford discussing the transformation HPE is undergoing to become an “everything as a service” organization.

Journey mapping feeds improvements

Just last year, Heart of the Customer partnered with HPE’s Technology Services Portfolio to learn firsthand what its customers need. That customer journey mapping effort was instrumental in fueling HPE’s experience transformation to align and prioritize initiatives that improve the experience and business efficiencies.

I’ve talked a lot here about those CX programs that focus fundamentally and strategically on impacting the business. (We call them Change Makers.) With our guidance, HPE Customer Success Leader Percy Rose was able to build a journey mapping discipline and stand up their CX program by incorporating business data to reduce costs, increase revenue, and improve the experience for HPE customers.

HPE CEO Antonio Neri nailed a key factor in the transformation when he noted, “Data is currency.” Yup, there’s that word again: data. (Later this week, CX Practice Lead Nicole Newton will be discussing HPE’s evolution with Percy and Susana Esteban. Register now – you won’t want to miss this episode of our CX Through a Journey Lens monthly webinar series!)

When Qualtrics acquired Usermind, our CTO Shawn Phillips and I each wrote blogs on the implications of this buy for customer experience. Shortly after, Medallia was purchased by Thoma Bravo. Then later in the week, Qualtrics also purchased Clarabridge.

This wild spree illustrates how quickly the CX technology marketplace is consolidating. And there’s no reason to believe the pace will slow anytime soon. So back to the broader picture: What does this slew of recent strategic mergers mean for you?

In a nutshell? It means if you’re not reevaluating your CX strategy right now, you risk being left behind as CX innovates and evolves without you.

Look before you leap

But – wait, let’s make that BUT – don’t fall into the trap of hurriedly investing in SaaS technologies in a panic, just to keep up with the Joneses. No matter how advanced these technologies are, the garbage in, garbage out principle still applies. To realize the full potential of these capabilities – which is huge – you absolutely, positively must first have mechanisms in place to ensure a flow of clean data and keen insights.

The last decade was about digital transformation, but the next is about experience transformation, which requires a different approach. The players who understand that are now jockeying for position, shaking the ground on which CX as we’ve known it has stood.

Soon CX programs will splinter into those that merely chase insights and those that focus on action. If you’re wondering which will die out and which will thrive, just ask yourself which you’d rather have – a colorful report or a continually improving bottom line?

Qualtrics’ recent moves and other acquisitions indicate that tomorrow’s CX will comprise a broad toolbox that might have us looking back on surveys the way we now look at cave paintings. Capabilities will allow for a full 360-degree analysis of customers and their behaviors, incorporating text and voice analytics paired with journey analytics to paint a true, actionable picture of customers’ sentiments at every touchpoint along their journey. (But remember – only if you know how to put them to work for you.)

So are you going to face backward or forward during this pivotal moment? Choose wisely. If you’re not taking advantage of these new capabilities, there just might be a sinkhole up ahead with your name on it.


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