5 tech capabilities experience management programs need to support complex enterprises

Bennett Gamel | Nov 17, 2020 Bennett Gamel 11/17/20

While most brands understand the importance of customer + employee feedback and have some sort of experience management (XM) solution in place, many lack the actionable insights necessary to create meaningful, system-wide change. For large organizations, this is often due to an XM provider underdelivering on technical + professional support while also falling short on the services needed to run a successful program.

To determine if your XM platform is delivering the end-to-end capabilities necessary for driving improvements across your entire enterprise, ensure it provides these 5 functionalities:

1. Supports complex hierarchical management structures

As Omdia recently reported, for large enterprises—whether engaged in B2B, B2C, or B2B2C—developing effective feedback mechanisms, sometimes involving millions of daily interactions across multiple channels and journeys, is a significant challenge. That’s why it’s so important to have an XM partner that collects location-level feedback across multiple touchpoints and streamlines it into one cohesive platform synced with your organizational hierarchy.

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You require a platform built for flexibility with a process that automatically ingests and applies hierarchy updates—ensuring appropriate role-based views. This is especially true for brands with multiple verticals or high turnover. By automating this process, you’re able to minimize errors and human involvement, while providing your team with uninterrupted, real-time data.


2. Strategically invests in enterprise platform architecture

Brands need to know the technology they are using will grow with them and continue to work in their tech ecosystem. But the need to rapidly add new capabilities can further increase the complexity for IT teams in large enterprises, which leads to overwhelming maintenance and change costs in addition to drastically slowing down response times.

You need a vendor that has an enterprise strategy and is supported by a platform that can easily scale + support complex data integrations and bring new capabilities to brands quicker—with limited or zero downtime. This includes a platform strategy that prioritizes out-of-the-box integrations, data management + security, APIs, hierarchy management, and UX design for intuitive digital experiences across web + mobile platforms.


3. Connects siloed ecosystems through robust data integration

The increasing number of touchpoints in the customer journey means brands are being constantly inundated with data. This is especially true for brands measuring the customer experience. And when you have a ton of data, it’s often stored in multiple places—living in silos, unable to interact. The right data integration technology makes it easy to put all of your customer-related data into one spot, so it works harder together and provides more actionable insight.

A robust business intelligence solution can pair XM + consumer datasets for deeper insights and synchronized strategies, helping brands:

  • Answer complex business problems more efficiently to innovate with confidence
  • Integrate multiple types of data sources for a holistic view of your customer journey
  • Access self-serve customer journey data anytime to evolve with agility

By breaking down data silos and providing a cohesive look at the customer experience, an experience management program that integrates across systems puts disparate datasets in dialogue and drives meaningful change across your business.


4. Provides AI-powered text analytics with complex ontologies

When evolving your customer experience (CX) strategy, the voice of the customer must be your single source of truth. And while quantitative survey data is invaluable, it’s often the qualitative insights from customer comments that add context to scores and answer questions you hadn’t thought to ask.

But unlike the quantitative data you’re collecting through the CX survey, findings from unstructured data don’t always fit into a neat little box. More often, they’re spread across the wide array of products, services, and initiatives you’re trying to track—which means you need to ensure they align with how you’re tracking them.

That’s where custom entity ontologies come in. Entity ontologies essentially serve as brand-specific encyclopedias—ensuring the lingo consumers use lines up with your own terminology. With customizable comment groupings, users can:

  • Tag + group comments according to brand-specific product hierarchies
  • Isolate categories + subcategories of interest for deeper analysis
  • Refine areas of focus to keep customer satisfaction trending upward

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But most text analytics technologies either can’t handle the volume and complexity of the data being processed or they’re so convoluted it’s difficult to know where to start. More than ever, brands need robust, intuitive tools designed with end users in mind—especially when it comes to input as complicated as the unstructured data found in customer comments.

With intuitive text analytics technology driven by data science, users can:

  • Get a high-level read of recurring topics + changing sentiment across your enterprise
  • See which topics are trending so you know where to focus
  • Support multiple languages for international brands
  • Navigate changes in the conversation across regions with interactive heat maps
  • Create custom groupings for more targeted roll-up + drill-down analysis
  • Understand how product + service mentions correlate to performance on key measures
  • Use predictive analytics to stay ahead of low-frequency, high-impact events

If you’re still trying to decide which text analytics solution is right for your brand, check out this best practice guide to determine the elements that are critical to success—and how to assess them.


5. Enhances feedback by humanizing customer experience data

Experience management leaders often struggle to engage stakeholders and drive action. Presented with a never-ending stream of data, it can be hard to see feedback as the output of real, human interactions. So instead of working collaboratively to improve experiences, teams become obsessed with XM metrics—letting the numbers rule their day and their action plans (Forrester | Humanize Feedback To Drive VoC Engagement And Action | December 2019). But when you can layer video feedback on top of quantitative data, you’re able to humanize the experience and build the kind of stakeholder empathy that results in real change.

Additionally, an intuitive video feedback solution makes it easier for brands to:

  • Close the loop with customers to recover poor experiences
  • Recognize employees for delivering great customer experiences
  • Apply deeper insights to open-ended feedback
  • Research + gauge sentiment on products and services
  • Amplify CX insights for employee training opportunities

Another more efficient way to listen, understand, and act on open-ended feedback is implementing a voice-to-text solution—using machine intelligence to convert recorded conversations to text, making it easier to spot emerging themes and sync up qualitative insights.

And with a two-way SMS survey, you can invite feedback across the customer journey and have the power to execute more relevant and personalized engagements. Invitations are timely, which leads to higher open rates among consumers (the shorter the lag time between an interaction and an invitation for feedback, the higher the response rates). These customized, conversational surveys are logic-based—making them easier for the consumer and a richer source of feedback for the business.

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How does your XM program stack up?

SMG partners with brands to drive customer and employee insights that boost loyalty and improve business performance. We combine technology and services to collect, analyze, and share feedback and behavioral data—so it’s easier for brands to deliver and activate insights across their enterprise.

We do this by supporting our clients’ specific hierarchies + ontologies, integrating new collection methods that align with evolving technology + consumer needs, investing in platform architecture that supports their business, and incorporating nearly 30 years of XM experience and research into their program. It’s the reason we were named Vertical Specialist Leader in the Omdia Market Radar and the only vendor to receive the highest possible score in the managed and professional services criterion in The Forrester Wave(TM): Customer Feedback Management Platforms, Q1 2020.

You deserve an XM partner who will deliver the level of support you need to drive system-wide change. If you feel your current vendor may be falling short, let’s chat.


Bennett Gamel | VP, Product Management

Customer Experience Update