That’s a wrap! More than 1,500 experience leaders and practitioners joined Medallia at the Wynn Las Vegas this week to discuss the future of customer experience, the growing urgency of employee experience, the potential for generative AI to shape both, and how the combination of advanced CX, EX, and AI capabilities are coming together to truly make personalization at scale a reality.
With the event theme centered around defying the odds and overcoming the impossible, attendees witnessed groundbreaking technology innovations, cutting-edge examples from the world’s leading brands, and inspirational stories from luminaries like actor and entrepreneur Kristen Bell and NFL great Steve Young. Between breakout sessions and breakfast groups and our welcome reception and parting toast, attendees made connections and got a firsthand look at how new generative AI technologies are changing the game in the experience industry.
Here are some of the top takeaways and highlights from this year’s event.
We kicked off Experience ‘24 with a keynote from Medallia’s leadership, including CEO Joe Tyrrell, that debuted four new Medallia AI features — Ask Athena, Intelligent Summaries, Smart Responses, and Themes — that will empower brands to push the bounds of what’s possible with experiences.
Designed to save teams thousands of hours on manual analysis and interactions, these new technologies will enable practitioners to “fundamentally change the way they access, consume, understand, and, most importantly, take action on customer and employee data,” explained Tyrrell.
“These incredible new generative AI solutions mark a fundamental shift in customer experience, moving from looking at data and analytics, to taking action, in real time, through automation, to deliver a personalized, instant experience,” he added. “We are delivering against our vision of a future driven by responsible AI, built to continually adapt real-time to new information at every point across the customer and employee journey, dynamically training itself with each new signal to personalize every experience and to empower humans to be more effective on the critical tasks they take on.”
As AI transforms how businesses understand and interact with their employees and customers, trust, data security, and privacy must be top of mind. We offered insight into our policies around data privacy, model training, and more in our opening keynote and additional sessions throughout Experience 24.
Our Chief Product Officer Simonetta Turek introduced two measures Medallia is taking to design our AI with security, compliance, and ethics in mind. These include creating an AI Moderation Council consisting of members from our legal, privacy and security, compliance, product and engineering, and customer organizations, and an AI Advisory Board, including participation from our customers and partners. These groups will provide oversight, guidance, and policy as it relates to the responsible use of AI, to ensure that we think about the right capabilities and features with respect to security and data access policies and eliminating any potential harm in our AI models.
“While AI is reshaping our world, now more than ever we need to be asking questions about its implications,” said Turek. “That’s why here at Medallia, our products are built according to our core values: every experience matters, innovation, customer-centricity, inclusivity, sustainability and, most important of all, trust. Trust underlies everything we do, so you can ensure that, as we incorporate new AI technologies, we are protecting your data security and privacy.”
Throughout the event, we also had the chance to hear from leaders at brands like UMB and PG&E who shared what steps they have taken — and plan to take — to embrace AI to unlock real-time insights, find out what customers really want, and use these learnings to orchestrate journeys, prioritize initiatives, optimize customer service, streamline quality management, enhance in-person experiences, personalize sales and marketing, and reduce operational costs.
Personalization was the central focus of several of our most-attended Experience 24 sessions. In line with this year’s conference theme — of defying the odds and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible — attendees were introduced to new capabilities now at their disposal to deliver the kinds of personalized experiences that have an impact, which simply wasn’t possible in the past.
Medallia’s Head of Market Research Insights, Andrew Custage, and Principal CX Advisor, Judy Bloch, dove into the latest findings on personalization and the most effective approaches to implement it. According to a Medallia + CXPA study, making customer experiences more personalized is the top priority for CX professionals this year. Other Medallia research findings deliver a clear picture as to why personalization should be a top area of focus:
Custage and Bloch shared how teams can set themselves up for success by being responsive — that is, closing the loop with customers within 24-48 hours after an experience happens — and by taking a segmented approach, leveraging customer attributes to deliver relevant messaging, products, and services. They also explored use cases and steps for implementing situational personalization, which allows teams to deliver agile experiences based on the rapidly changing needs of customers, as well as individualized personalization, bespoke experiences curated in the moment based on a customer’s current journey and relationship with a brand.
With experience orchestration at the forefront of personalization, our team held a hands-on session walking attendees through three key use cases, including delivering closed-loop automation, continuous customer engagement, and next-best experiences (NBX) for the front line.
Top practitioners also shared how they’re changing the game with personalization, including patient experience and voice of the customer program leaders at AdventHealth and UAB Medicine, two innovative healthcare organizations using automation to build trust and create more personalized experiences.
Our world is moving fast and filled with disruption and noise, making it harder to know what consumers and employees want and need and how to plan for success. The next wave of market research is here, however, and it’s changing how businesses gather insights and offers tools brands can use to adapt.
Gone are the days of siloed, time-consuming market research. The kind that quickly becomes obsolete, before leaders even get the chance to uncover insights, let alone take action. Today’s innovators are leveraging dynamic, agile market research and competitor insights solutions across the board to get a pulse on competitive updates, market changes, brand perception, and more in the moment to level up customer and employee experiences in real time. Panera Bread, Inspire Brands, Inc. (parent company to Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins), Sonos, Realtor.com, and McQueen Analytics are some of the companies that are ahead of the curve, and this week they shared how market research is playing a role in their brands’ strategies.
We’re proud to be part of this next wave of timely, actionable market research. With the debut of our new advanced market research tool, Agile Research, which we unveiled this week, Medallia Experience Cloud users will now have access to a fully self-service platform that’s integrated with their customer and employee experience insights in one unified platform. Brands will be able to quickly launch and iterate one-off market research surveys, competitive analysis, and brand/product research on demand and get access to millions of worldwide consumers through a leading third-party panel provider.
The employee landscape is going through a period of rapid transformation, as we enter a new era — the intelligence age. Just as the introduction and rise of computer use fueled growth and disruption during the information age before it, technology is driving change in the new intelligence era. This time AI adoption is the dominant driver.
Josh Bersin, founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, the Josh Bersin Company, and a leading global HR industry analyst, gave us insights into what these changes mean for employee experience, expectations, and listening programs. According to Bersin, the following are the top factors that matter the most to workers now: Serving a mission and purpose beyond financial goals; organizational transparency, empathy, and integrity of leadership; continuous investment in people; and inclusivity, diversity, and sense of belonging and community. That’s why advanced organizations are turning to a new form of employee listening to deliver on these needs and expectations: Employee activation.
At the apex of the employee experience maturity curve, employee activation goes beyond investing listening and people analytics. It prioritizes listening, empowering, and delegating authority to take the right action to make an impact.
Brands will succeed in this new era by capturing all of their critical employee experience signals, democratizing action, creating a real dialogue around change, and empowering employees to shape the organization. Importantly, employee activation is integrated seamlessly into the flow of work across organizations, with triggered touchpoints at timely moments in the employee lifecycle, such as immediately following a meeting, customer call, performance review, or using an HR system.
We were also joined by RedThread Research, leading researchers in the people practices space, who like Bersin shared some of the top factors causing disruption in workplaces across the globe — including geopolitical unrest, the rise of AI, inter-company power struggles, and the aging of the workforce with Gen Z on pace to overtake Boomers in numbers. As companies grapple with these realities, the RedThread Research team has found that employee listening will help organizations prioritize their biggest challenges, analyze their current state and impact of efforts across various groups, and design appropriate support.
Leading brands like Bank of America and Northwestern Medicine walked us through how they’re rolling out and optimizing advanced programs that are driving improvements in speed to insights, likelihood to recommend scores, role preparedness scores, and client effort ease of doing business scores for client-facing colleagues.
Sitting down with Medalla SVP of Client Services Jodi Searl, Kristen Bell helped kick off the conference by giving the audience a lot of food for thought: how decision fatigue shows up in our everyday lives, how to apply Japanese Ikigai philosophy into our careers, and the importance of critical thinking.
This was followed by many more impressive, insightful speakers — from innovators in customer experience to pioneering people leaders — who kept the momentum going. Football legend Steve Young helped close out Experience 24, sharing his “truest truths” about being accountable, and the lessons he learned from being nearly passed over as a quarterback in college and going on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history, a Hall of Fame quarterback, and three-time Super Bowl champion.
Thank you to everyone who participated in Experience 24! We can’t wait for what’s to come ahead at Experience 25. Stay tuned as we add updates about our location, venue, event theme, speakers, and more.