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Even as Qualtrics readies itself for a public offering, it remains steady in showcasing its strengths in the experience management category. Co-founder and CEO Ryan Smith and team held a digital event aimed at helping organizations reimagine the future of the workforce and learn to simply work differently.

The virtual event—titled Work Different—headlined customers from across industries who shared the various strategies they’ve employed to listen better, predict outcomes, and act on the insights they have gained. Speakers told of how they  keep business moving in the right direction while keeping customers and employees in mind.

“We’ve all had to find new ways to work these days,” Smith said. “This event is not about getting back to where we were. It’s about working different. It’s about creating something that’s better.” He added, “Disruption leads to opportunities, especially for those who are prepared to provide better experiences to their customers. I don’t need to tell you that COVID-19 has introduced massive disruption. It’s times like these when customers actively seek out better products and services. And never has quick action to improve experience mattered like it does today.”

Although doing right by customers is a key part of a business strategy, doing right by your employees is the foundation organizations should build on.

How to Lead Bravely in Today’s Business Landscape

The past few months have brought so much change in almost everyone’s life; change that spans from home life to work life and everything in between. Most of us have faced challenges that can seem overwhelming, but we’ve also learned to rise to these challenges and get creative. This is especially true for those of us who work in an environment that allows us to do so. Researcher, storyteller, and proud Texan Brené Brown opened the virtual event by discussing the importance of shifting focus to the two irreducible needs of employees today: care and connection are one, and belonging is another.

“Care and connection with each other is an irreducible need for people at work,” Brown said. “Belonging is another, especially right now where there is so much anxiety and vulnerability and uncertainty that we need to do more than diversity, equity, and inclusion. We need to create real belonging in our culture.”

Brown just completed a seven-year research study during which she interviewed 150 leaders from across the globe and industries. She sought to answer one question: What is the future of leadership? The response was clear across the board: We need braver leaders and more courageous cultures.

“True belonging doesn’t require us to change who we are,” Brown said. “It invites us to be who we are. We feel a true belonging when we can show up as we are and bring our true talents and perspectives and be seen and know that we matter.” Regarding care and connection, she added, “If you cannot feel or find affection for the people you lead, then you shouldn’t be leading them.” As we navigate this new business landscape, especially as a tech-driven society, Brown noted, “The leaders who are going to be left standing in the next five years are the leaders that don’t see accomplishing and achieving and empathy and caring as mutually exclusive, but rather completely dependent on each other.”

Measuring Experiences Is Not the Goal

According to Smith, more than 20 major brands have declared bankruptcy since March 2020. He noted that the common thread for these brands was that, although most of them were measuring customer satisfaction, they weren’t doing anything with that information. “When organizations make measurement the goal, nothing is off the table,” he said. “All measurement does is tell you how many times you need to apologize. You can continue to measure, or you can take action and improve your path.”

Omar Johnson, founder of Opus Intelligence, an organization that helps solve problems for brands, discussed how to meet consumers where they are and how to use your values to stay grounded. “It’s really important that we bring our human selves to work every day,” he said. “It’s a rare time when we are all experiencing the same things—at work or at home, and so, it’s important to empathize with consumers’ unique and holistic circumstances from a 360-degree perspective.”

Attendees heard from various organizations, including Stanford Health Care, which needed to adapt to meet its patients where they were. Mystique Smith-Bentley, executive director for service excellence, shared how she and her team acted quickly to put in place a pandemic governance structure that would not only keep the workforce safe, but also deliver the service that patients both expected and needed. “Along the way, we learned it was important to ask for feedback, iterate, and revise,” she said. “We can try something, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, we are able to make changes as needed to support our colleagues.”

The team at Stanford Health Care also created a survey using Qualtrics to measure and understand the process and pain points for its patients during virtual visits. “We really wanted to understand the full array of problems that exist in that experience, prioritize the most frequent problems, and then understand which of those are the most important to patients so that we can fix them immediately.” She added, “Don’t wait for perfection to take action. Just start somewhere and make iterations along the way.” The key here is taking immediate action based on data that will let your customers—or patients—know that you’re listening and that you hear them.

Making the 360-Degree Connection from Experience to Action to Resiliency

Smith hammered the notion that the ability to listen and quickly take action on experience data—whether employee or customer—is how organizations will win in chaos. “In 2016 we launched the entire category of experience management because management means action and action is how you win," he said.

Qualtrics has been working to make it easy and intuitive for organizations to access and manage two-way communication with its customer base, as well as its workforce. “Every organization should be able to manage through disruption,” Smith said.

Scott Fynn, head of product management for Qualtrics, discussed how the survey platform has invested heavily into self-serve and automation features. “We’ve developed a whole suite of prebuilt solutions that completely automate setup, collection, and analysis. We’ve also built solutions specifically for today’s toughest problems, including supporting remote employees and remote learners and understanding what will make customers feel comfortable to return to your store again.”

The Qualtrics Work Different digital event took place during a time when organizations across the globe are looking to get ahead of the current chaos and find footing ahead of the next crisis. Resiliency is both a short-term and long-term goal for many. “It’s time to stop apologizing for sucky experiences,” Smith said. “Do not measure your way to the bottom. You need to focus teams on delivering exceptional experiences using a system of action that creates behavioral change and cultural change.”

Learn how Grundfos turned to Qualtrics and SAP CRM to better engage with its customers. Or listen to an on-demand webcast about how ASUG is using Qualtrics to listen to the voice of employees and customers.

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