Guest Post: The Experience Management Tech Market is Abuzz, But Think Beyond Tech for ROI.
Updated: Mar 15
Guest Post by Luis Melo, AKA "Doctor CX."
How do you engineer value from customer and employee feedback?
In my experience, the answer is intrinsically linked to technology.
But remember. Technology is not the same thing as customer experience. It is an enabler to delivering great customer experiences (CX). In the case of customer feedback, businesses now need technology to:
Collect customer feedback.
Analyze and visualize data.
Predict and generate insights.
Plan and drive action.
But one of the biggest problems with technology and CX is when businesses use a variety of siloed technology platforms and applications.
The disjointed nature of those technology tools makes it virtually impossible to derive and engineer timely value in our fast-paced world.
Technology and customer experience are not the same thing. Technology is an enabler to great customer experiences.
The Changing Landscape of Experience Management Tech Providers
There is a race in the software industry right now to develop a much-desired, all-inclusive technology platform. Businesses are looking for a tool that provides everything they need to enable an end-to-end experience management program.
Medallia, Qualtrics, Clarabridge, Confirmit, InMoment, and SurveyMonkey are some of the experience management brands leading the pack. They all have diverse origins. Each entered the experience management world from different angles: market, academic research, and technology, for example. Some specialized in marketing. Others in customer service. Some with a focus on the customer. Others on employee experience.
Each of these companies is now competing to achieve the same thing. They all have been on a spree of acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships. For example, Medallia acquired Kampyle. SurveyMonkey acquired Usabilla. InMoment acquired Wootric. Clarabridge acquired Engagor.
Each acquiring company is obviously trying to add or develop complete capabilities for feedback collection, data analysis, and action planning.
Experience Management Acquisitions and Partnerships Are Just Getting Started
But the market is changing quickly. That is why acquisition activity in the experience management technology market will continue.
The spread of digital and social networks means companies need to add capabilities for collecting data in the various channels and devices.
Phone and face-to-face interactions are still important, too. Therefore, companies need to gather (un)solicited feedback and add capabilities like speech-to-text. I believe that is why we saw Medallia acquire Voci Technologies, SurveyMonkey acquired Precision Polling, Confirmit acquired FocusVision, and Qualtrics partnered with Tethr and CallMiner.
Niches in the Spotlight
To expand their footprint, and with certain industries flourishing, experience management software companies are also looking to niches with potential. Medallia acquired Stella Connect (specialized in customer service). Qualtrics acquired Delighted (specialized in NPS). SurveyMonkey acquired GetFeedback (a top solution on Salesforce's AppExchange). Clarabridge acquired Market Metrix (specialized in hospitality).
Experience management is about far more than collecting feedback.
Strengthening Business Intelligence Capabilities
But experience management continues to be about far more than collecting feedback. Businesses need to derive insights from that data. Reports and dashboards are no longer enough. Businesses need more. Business intelligence is key. What is needed:
Historical, real-time, and future views.
Data mining and benchmarking.
Descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.
From where I sit, business intelligence seems to be one area where the feedback management software companies struggle the most. However, Qualtrics, with the acquisition of Statwing (advanced statistics), has put together a strong capability. Others have created their iQ capability which includes statistic, text, sentiment, and voice analysis.
Software Companies Diversifying Their Client Offerings
Some software companies have realized that technology is only an enabler. To help their clients succeed, many have now shifted to include consulting services that help their clients treat experience management as a business discipline.
Some have acquired, built, or started developing thought leadership, subject matter expertise, and strategic consulting services to help their clients be successful with experience management. For example, Qualtrics acquired Temkin Group. InMoment acquired Brand XP. Medallia has stepped up its hiring of embedded experts.
And Still, A Missing Link?
But even if businesses are armed with technology and consulting resources, a key piece of the puzzle is still missing. That is a person or team on the client-side that can put things into practice. To manage and govern an experience management program day-to-day.
The right person or team may be hard to find. But the pool of customer and employee experience professionals is growing. Credentialed people, like the software companies mentioned in this post, may have started their careers in different places, have diverse backgrounds, and mixed experiences.
But they have in common a passion for things that, as I like to say, suffer from hyphenation: Problem-solving, relationship-building, multi-tasking, cross-functional, journey-mapping, customer-focused, employee-centric, and many more.
CEOs should seek them out. Add them to your leadership team. Only then can you realize the full value of your investments in customer and employee experience management.
Luis is a long-time customer experience practitioner, consultant, and member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, based in London. He holds numerous customer experience, agile, and tech-related credentials. He is currently with Zendesk. Follow Luis on Twitter, LinkedIn, and the DoctorCX blog. Many thanks to Luis for today's post!
Second photo in this post is from the 2019 Global Customer Experience Day in London.