“There’s a gap between what they think is happening and really what’s going on,” says Qualtrics CEO & Co-Founder Ryan Smith. “So we said, hey, we’re going to go hard into developing the coolest, easiest, and most sophisticated employee experience product (EmployeeXM). We’re going to build that and we’re going to tie it together with the customer experience.”
Ryan Smith, CEO & Co-Founder of Qualtrics, discusses the genesis of Qualtrics and how it has evolved into a sophisticated and integral platform for the enterprise in an extensive interview with Jason Calacanis:
We View Ourselves As a System Of Action
In the beginning, it was very much around being able to collect data, kind of being on the front end of that. You were able to collect data. You were able to put it into an analytical system and then you were able to report on it. Because of that, we were kind of branded as this survey platform for a long time. I’d say over the last eight to ten years all the survey is a form. There’s a form engine that allows you to do anything you could ever want to do with a form. A form can be through text, a form can be through a chatbot, it can be through anything. Then there’s an analytical platform and then there’s a reporting platform.
A lot of our investment has been into actioning. We view ourselves as a system of action. How do you actually gather data that doesn’t exist? What experience management is — most organizations are in a world where they’ve resigned to the fact that they have all the data that they need. From our standpoint and what we see it’s the opposite. We’ve got operational systems that are telling us what’s happened. But the “why” is able to be collected in ways that never could have been done in 2002 because we have such amazing access to people. We think it’s just starting, especially now that we can go gather the “why” data through 13 or 14 different methods. It all comes together and you get a full picture. You see what happened and now you get to see “why” and that’s pretty powerful.
If you’re thinking about the Google Analytics side it would be like these people visit our site. These people abandoned their shopping carts. These people are doing this. Or I’m an LA Hotel and I see a bunch of people from LA visiting. I don’t know why they’re visiting. They’re not staying with me. They used Qualtrics and the first ten people say that they’re there for the happy hour menu. The one person shop running IT just pops up the happy hour menu through Qualtrics without changing their whole website. Now they’re at home and they’re delivering a great experience and it only shows up for the people from LA.
EmployeeXM – Coolest, Easiest, and Most Sophisticated
If you look at the airline industry one of the interesting things is we power probably all the feedback on the 30 or 40 different airlines around the world. Most people know Qualtrics for the customer feedback because they’ll fly and they’ll get an email or a text that says thumbs-up thumbs-down, how was your experience? What we’ve seen as we launched the XM (Experience Management) platform, and this is what SAP is so excited about, we created this category because of all the uses we were seeing on Qualtrics. Our employee experience was taking off in a way where we were like, whoa, 50 percent of the customer problems have to do with an employee.
Then at the same time, the average tenure here in the Bay Area is like 18 months. I don’t know one CEO that says we’re going to go recruit and spend all this money but we’re going to bring people in for only 18 months. So there’s a massive gap. There’s a gap between what they think is happening and really what’s going on. So we said, hey, we’re going to go hard into developing the coolest, easiest, and most sophisticated employee experience product (EmployeeXM). We’re going to build that and we’re going to tie it together with the customer experience.
The Inside Manifests Itself On the Outside
From the time they start in the company to the time they exit how do we know everything that’s going? Even in the recruiting process, how do we make sure that as a company what we think we’re delivering is being received on the other side? I believe the inside manifests itself on the outside. We’re seeing this across brands. Now we’re seeing the customer and the employee. If you look in an airline, they’re using us on the customer, the employee, the product, and the brand side.
If you look at when someone goes and shows up to a gate a lot of times they’re upset before they even get there. The employee deals with an upset customer and that impacts the entire experience. When you rate or you think about how your flight was you’re only thinking about the brand. It’s a bunch of experiences tied together. We’re helping organizations manage all their experiences for the first time on one single platform. It doesn’t make sense that you’ve got five different software’s doing this. We’re doing this at an enterprise level. That’s how people are using it.