When it comes to customer experience businesses think they are doing a better job than they really are in part because they lack qualitative customer data.

That’s the view of Kylan Lundeen, CMO of Utah-based software company Qualtrics, who cited research that 80 per cent of CEOs believe they are delivering a great experience while only 8 per cent of consumers agree with them.

“That’s a huge gap! The gap between what you think is happening and believe is happening and what’s really happening is called the experience gap. This gap is why organisations keep getting surprised,” Lundeen said during a presentation at Qualtrics Converge in Sydney last week.

“Organisations have more data than they have ever had in history but they are still getting surprised. Clearly the answer isn’t more data. It’s different data.”

Qualtrics, which began life in 1999 as an online survey platform to help academics conduct research, has launched an experience management platform which is designed to bring together what it calls O data and X data.

O data or operational data includes as sales, finance, HR figures.

“Most companies do well with this data because it rolls in automatically because over the last 20 years businesses have continually invested in technologies that made that measurement possible,” Lundeen said.

“The problem with O data is most of it is a lagging indicator, it’s only available about the past. And unless everything stays exactly the same, it is a weak indicator of the future at best. It’s no longer alone a competitive advantage. Everyone has O data, businesses that didn’t become data-driven got left behind.”

X data refers to experience data. Lundeen explains, “X data is the human factor data, the beliefs, the emotions the intentions that tell you why things are happening and what’s going to happen next.”

“Unfortunately most organisations are O data rich and X rich data poor. They are broke.”

Lundeen outlined the evolution of company’s product development from online survey, to NPS platform to experience management or XM.

In 2012 the company analysed what users were doing with the platform and discovered the rise of customer expectations meant businesses were increasingly trying to measure experience.

“Even though we had set out to be number one in the world in online market research, it turns out that had flipped to the third-most common use case. The number one use case had become customer experience. We had over 160,000 net promoter studies running on the program. The second most common use case was customer experience and feedback,” he said.

“For the next five years we were maniacally focused on building solutions on top of the research engine for each of those unique use cases and workflows.”

Today Qualtrics is used by more than 600 organisations in Asia Pacific including ANZ Bank, Chobani and Volkswagen

“Experience management [XM] will become core to your business, just like CRM is the single system of record for all your sales operation data, XM will be the single system of record for all of your experience data.”

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