Five Ways “X Data” Fuels The Intelligent Enterprise

Stephanie Thum, CCXP

Part 4 of the series “Winning In The Experience Economy

Some people love numbers. They love ratios, percentages, scores, ratings, targets, charts, and spreadsheets. Operational data (“O” data) and customer experience data (“X” data) – that’s totally their jam.

But there are others who simply don’t like data or the story told by the data. And in the case of X data, some still cling to long-held lore about why, what, when, where, or even if those measurements matter.

Here are five reasons why X data definitely matters.

1. The “top line” doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about your customers.

Declining top-line revenue is usually a pretty clear signal something is probably wrong. But it doesn’t tell you what is wrong. Company cultures that are driven by business development and sales tend to believe that if customers are buying, then they must be happy and everyone is doing a good job. But just because you win a new client doesn’t mean things were perfect when they signed on, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the business relationship has sustained any level of value in their eyes. It doesn’t mean customers will continue to do business with you, and it certainly doesn’t mean your competitor isn’t trying to lure that customer away. X data can tell you what you have to do to keep winning their business.

2. Change is inevitable and you have to manage it.

New rules, regulations, product features, prices, procedures, policies, personnel, and app and website redesigns happen all the time. It’s just part of business. But most of the time, change isn’t easy – and when customers experience that change in the way of confusion, higher prices, longer waits, and red tape, their perception of your brand can waver. X data, drawn from regular pulse checks with customers during times of change, like a site intercept after a web redesign, for example, can keep you ahead of customer concerns, operational meltdowns, and communication breakdowns.

3. Managing business risk requires a holistic view of customers.

X data is about more than a customer satisfaction score. In today’s business world, if you ask customers the right questions, listen in a different way, and let customers share feedback about their experiences on their terms, then you’re maneuvering toward a business view that can alert you to certain business and operational risks. Examples include expensive marketing missteps, website vulnerabilities, policy shortcomings, confidentiality breaches, citizen safety, expensive marketing missteps, and potential social media firestorms.

4. Sometimes, you need a tipping point for decision-making.

Business executives frequently face decisions about which improvements should be prioritized, how, when, and where. O data can give you insights on the range of competing needs across your organization. But when resources are finite (and when aren’t they?), sentiment from your customers, drawn from open text responses in surveys or online reviews, for example, can cue you in on what should be at the top of your list in order to retain your customers’ loyalty.

5. Employees

X and O data isn’t just about finding a better way to serve customers. It’s also about finding a better way to attract and retain the best employees. O data can inform you on candidate hiring turnaround times, employee retention rates, and how much you’re spending on travel, healthcare, benefits, and training, for example. But that’s not enough to clue you in on what’s happening in your candidates’ and employees’ lives or the root causes of drop-off, stress, attrition, absenteeism, and higher costs. X data can help you understand the “why” and what to do.

Next steps to fueling the intelligent enterprise

Customers and employees aren’t outsiders to your business. They’re part of your business. A mix of X and O data can tell the story of your company’s opportunities, threats, growth, success, and status.

Getting X and O data, though, isn’t the end of quest. Moving toward an intelligent enterprise means using X and O data to start conversations, validate, and pulse-check your business decisions. Much in the same way new hires, changes in policies, or major employee announcements get attention inside your company, X and O data should be shared at a regular rhythm and cadence via senior team meetings, department meetings, agency intranet sites, and town hall meetings, for example. Collecting feedback via a secure, FedRAMP-authorized tool like the Qualtrics Experience Management Platform can support you in your quest.

Explore the challenges, opportunities, and technologies involved in achieving critical business outcomes in the experience economy. Read more about the neighborhoods of the digital core, network and spend management, digital supply chain, customer experience, and people engagement.


About Stephanie Thum, CCXP

Stephanie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) who got her start in the customer experience profession working with the Big Four accounting firm of EY. She eventually became one of the U.S. federal government's first agency-level heads of customer experience. Her background also includes work on SAP's Catalyst team, where she counseled SAP's small and mid-sized audiences on security and CX, digital transformation, and modern-day voice of the customer practices via videos, blogs, and podcasts. Currently, Stephanie is a subject matter expert and Chief Advisor for Federal Customer Experience for Qualtrics. She is a published writer, panelist, facilitator, presenter, and speaker.