Recently, I attended the Qualtrics X4 Experience Management conference. It was packed with insights about how to create the perfect experience for the customers and users of your products and services. The event also explored how the relationship between people and brands creates that special and unforgettable bond between them, which will have consumers become advocates of your brands. 

 In this conference, I was exposed, explicitly for the first time, to experience data. Experience data are those data points that tell you about the interactions between people and the brand. They differ from operational data (commonly known as metrics) in that they focus on the engagement and delight of the users. In another paradigm, we might have called those the soft metrics against hard metrics such as sales, revenue, returning customers rate. 

 Experience data tells a different story, one that moves away from the seemingly cold figures and taps into the experience portion of people’s interactions with businesses, products, and organizations. Experience may well be the way to capture larger shares of the market. Think of brands like Apple that have created their entire brand around the experience of using their products and services.  

The immediate question that we should all be asking ourselves is: “How, then, do we create the perfect experience?” Those are the experiences that are so memorable as to be unforgettable; and, from a business perspective, those experience that will have people come back over and over again, and become less price sensitive. The answer, you might have guessed it, is data: more precisely, a combination of experience and operational data, with a focus on the customer journey, how they rate their experience, and the NPS(r) they give out.  All this constellation of data needs to be put together into a cohesive story that will inform your way moving forward. With a touch of the seemingly omnipresent AI and machine learning, this process is becoming easier. Still, data is not enough and AI is–as of yet–not enough. What is missing in this mix?  

As you might have guessed this from the title, the answer is people. It has already become cliché that data alone cannot do anything, or alternatively that we so much data that we do not know what to with that. To the already existing sea of data, we are now adding experience data, exponentially increasing the amount of information available. On this regard, I would like to offer that, while learning how to analyze data is essential especially as we move into the brand experience paradigm, we need to take a step back and reflect on how we think about experiences, brands, and businesses. Experience management is empty if this is in the context of “how do we serve our customers the best” and born out of a genuine desire to make a difference in people’s lives through interacting with what we offer. On a similar wavelength, no matter how good we become at collecting and analyzing experience data, we will not go far if that data is not in service of building something.  AI may soon be able to answer that question, but until tell, roll up your sleeves and start asking yourself, for what do I what to use data? How does the data tile fit in the bigger puzzle that I am putting together? 

PS: as always, because everybody else is doing it is not a good answer. 

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