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Grow Your Business Technology

Experience Management Software: What Small Businesses Need to Know

image for AndreyPopov / Getty Images
AndreyPopov / Getty Images
  • Experience management software is an essential organization tool for cost and budget management, communication and decision-making, documentation, and other administrative duties.
  • Determining the right experience management software is crucial for an organization, as it can serve different purposes. Consider factors such as target market, geographical footprint and number of brands.
  • The success of any organization depends on its ability to measure its performance and get feedback, making experience management software essential for business. 

Customer experience is crucial to a successful business. But how do you know if your customers are having a positive experience?

Experience management software allows businesses to measure customer impressions through feedback, seeing how that feedback relates to the business metrics, and analyzing them as one.

"Experience management software can collect customer feedback and then translate this feedback into metrics for the business," said Steve Pritchard, founder of Cuuver. "This makes for extremely beneficial analytic material for a company, which can then be used to implement changes for an even better customer experience."

The experience software platform Qualtrics uses a single system of record that helps organizations manage the four core experiences of business – customer experience, employee experience, product experience and brand experience, according to Mike Maughan, head of global insights at Qualtrics.

Companies can analyze each of these experience types with this software, and there are many platforms available to businesses. [Read related article: Best Professional Employer Organizations]

"In every instance, the focus is on breaking down data silos to make sure organizations are able to provide the best experiences possible," Maughan said. "For example, we all know that how employees act directly impacts the experience customers have. A common saying is that 'disengaged employees are firing your customers.'"

For a long time, employee experience and customer experience were managed separately, despite them being so closely related, said Maughan. Experience management platforms like Qualtrics allow you to analyze all four of those experience areas together.

Simply put, experience management software collates and analyzes customer feedback to provide an overall view of the customer, helping companies put together an accurate customer profile, according to Pritchard.

"Bain & Company did a study a few years back and found that 80% of CEOs said that they believed their company was delivering a superior customer experience," added Maughan. "When their customers were asked if they felt they were receiving a superior customer experience, only 8% agreed."

Experience management software bridges that gap with the following steps:

  1. Measure and baseline. You can measure stakeholder experiences across all touchpoints and establish baselines.

  2. Prioritize and predict. You can predict stakeholder needs and trends to solve issues before they start. You can also identify key experience drivers and initiate action.

  3. Track and optimize. You can track progress and drive continuous experience improvement.

Maughan noted that there are two types of data to measure: operational and experience data. Operational data is the sales data, financial data, HR data – all the information from day-to-day operations. Experience data explains what is happening and why.

"For example, operational data might tell you that shopping cart abandonment is going up or certain SKU sales are going down in a given region," Maughan explained. "Where companies fail is with the experience data, because the experience data doesn't exist. Experience data is the human-factor data. It is the beliefs, emotions and sentiments that tell you why things are happening, why shopping cart abandonment is going up, or why employees are disengaged and what to do about it."

The software allows you to log all customer issues. You can use this data to identify customer needs. The platform avails customized automations and ticket routing.

The management software has an integrated product data base for ease of tracking. You can identify the products people are buying more and associate particular products with specific customers.

This feature allows you to analyze customer data. This includes their contacts, product preferences or locations.

Experience management software can integrate seamlessly with other business systems, eliminating duplication of effort and tasks. For example, integrating your experience management software with your CRM software enhances coordination, collaboration and productivity across your teams. The software integrates well with business systems thanks to the availability of APIs.

Experience management software comes with different pricing structures. It usually has a free basic plan and standard, business, and professional plans, with either monthly or annual subscriptions. The exact price depends on these factors:

  • Number of users
  • Setup training and fee
  • Support and features
  • Channel deployment
  • Number of customer segments

Zendesk, which is web-based customer experience management software, charges $89 per agent per month. There are additional charges for the support services, ranging from $5 to $199. Qualtrics – which is supported on Mac, iOS and Android – charges $3,000 and up per year. It has the added features of ad hoc market research studies and customer effort scoring. A demo is available upon request.

Some software, such as HubSpot, does not charge anything for its experience management features and is available for free.

In terms of customer experience, it does not matter what products you sell, how many employees you have or the size of your company. The success of your customer relations lies in the way they feel when they interact with your business, deal with your employees and experience your company.

When you're dealing with so many aspects of experience at one time, an experience management platform can help you stay organized and keep track of it all. You can track responses to your products, brand and employee interactions all through surveys, and then you can look at that data to figure out which areas you need to improve or emphasize.

Measuring the customer experience, said Maughan, can't and shouldn't happen in departmental silos. Franck Sarrazit, principal consultant of brand experience at Qualtrics, says the idea of an experience platform is to create the sum of all parts.

"A jigsaw puzzle is a good analogy," he said. "There are so many pieces."

Business News Daily Editor

Business News Daily was founded in 2010 as a resource for small business owners at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey. Our site is focused exclusively on giving small business advice, tutorials and insider insights. Business News Daily is owned by Business.com.