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Three Takeaways From Medallia’s Experience ‘19 Conference


Medallia recently hosted its annual customer conference Experience ’19,  a convergence of all things experience management, and an opportunity to socialize the cutting-edge practices insights, and news from leading brands and CX professionals worldwide. 

With over 2,000 attendees, our largest to date, the three-day event was truly an event that captured the attention of the industry, with 67 presentations from over 40 customers and partners, and many panels and breakout sessions devoted to the experience management landscape. 

Medallia Experience’19 was a great showcase of how brands have the ability to elevate their interactions with customers as well as employees at scale. There were many themes evident throughout but three in particular were key for me — the evolution of the CX Program, ROI, and innovation.

Moving Program Maturity Forward

CX has seen such growth and innovation both in terms of strategy and tactically over the last 10 years. We are a long way from the traditional customer service department, when headcount and budget were owned by operations. It wasn’t until marketing came along with social media as an outreach campaign that most enterprises realized that customers’ hunger for service far outreached traditional channels, moving the needle from service to experience management. 

Today CX is a tour de force — with its own budget, best practices, analyses and management of every touchpoint along the customer journey. However, there are brands out there that are still in the early stages of their CX journey, and tackling challenges like generating survey volumes across the journey, surfacing stories, closing the loop, and last mile change management. 

At Experience ‘19, senior CX practitioners shared how they have overcome these hurdles, evolved their platform to solve business problems, hired the right people to uncover stories, and harnessed the power of good governance to affect change. 

An example of this came from one of the highest-rated sessions, where Tangerine Bank Director of Customer Experience Ayanna Augustine described how the Canadian online-only bank transformed its CX program from moving their focus on “big data to big empathy,” following these 10 tenants:

  1. Surprise customers in the moment                                           
  2. Look inside out, and outside in
  3. Priority trumps quantity
  4. Investigation over intuition
  5. Fix fast and iteratively
  6. Prove problems are solved
  7. Dare to share
  8. Assign champions
  9. 1,200 heads are better than one
  10. Make noise about the good things

This was a great example of breaking down strategy into tactical steps. The key takeaway for attendees: get the fundamentals down to operate well in a business as usual environment so you can tackle more innovative initiatives and keep moving the program forward in a measurable way. It’s about fast and constant iteration on a stable baseline.

Return On Investment

CX is a significant investment for a brand, and not just in technology. The biggest outlay is the people and the commitment to change the entire business from the ground up. We heard many practitioners talk at Experience about how they grew their program by finding the voice of the customer, and creating tangible stories of pain and triumph. We also heard how they made financial linkage to understand the behaviors that drive performance improvement.

Mike Galvin is a Solution Principal for Retail and has worked with many of Medallia’s most successful retail customers. I asked him what advice he gives to practitioners facing the ROI challenge, and he said this:

“Tie CX ROI/impact and modeling to the top two highest level desired business outcomes in Retail — typically top-line revenue growth AND comp sales performance in all transactional channels. Then, focus on the specific levers most meaningful to those outcomes given the Retailer’s business and relationship model — for example, increased AOV (average order value), increased transactions per period, increased conversion. Finally, align listening and acting (on feedback) and selling, engage and service behaviors around moving those levers.”

Many of the great stories that we heard throughout Experience emulated this process. It’s a simple model that can really drive measurable ROI and quickly.

Tie CX ROI/impact and modeling to the top two highest level desired business outcomes in Retail — typically top-line revenue growth AND comp sales performance in all transactional channels.”


On the technology side there is a huge appetite among CX practitioners to go “smarter” with their programs using integrations to enhance customer engagement. The Adobe and ServiceNow integrations were a running theme of conversation with the Adobe Experience Cloud allowing for much greater engagement using campaigns, personas and general customer behavior to trigger surveys, live chats, service tickets and other highly relevant techniques. 

Additionally, Medallia’s acquisition of behavior analytics company Cooladata, combined with our XDP platform is going to empower brands to organize the millions of signals for each customer and connect data patterns, behaviors and insights to really understand segments as well as entire customer journeys, and the customers themselves. This will enable an organization that currently only uses a fraction of their data to make decisions, to both personalize and automate their customer journeys.

To learn more about Medallia’s XDP platform, click here.

This year Experience took the CX practitioner closer to the customer than ever before. We learned about winning experience management strategies and trailblazing technology roadmaps for an entire spectrum of industries — from automotive, hospitality and B2B, to retail, banking and insurance. So all you need to do now is continue pulling the right levers and you are there…? No, that journey will never end but getting closer to customer convergence and standing right by your customers’ side when they need you is a huge step in the right direction for any CX practitioner.