The Qualtrics X4 Summit Experience


In short, the X4 Summit was extravagant both in substance and flair and it was a privilege to attend on behalf of DCKAP. I mean, how often do you have the opportunity to see visionaries such as Sir Richard Branson, Oprah, & President Barack Obama in the same venue…? And while I was most anticipating hearing President Obama speak, it was Oprah who really wowed me as a speaker – her speech was incredibly relevant as both a tech worker and human.

A few of the other speakers of note included:

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP (SAP purchased Qualtrics last summer)
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy‎, CEO of Stubhub
Jeff Kearl Founder and CEO, Stance.

Qualtrics is a customer/product data (Experience Management) platform, and the theme of the conference was Breakthroughs. While a lot of the content matter didn’t directly relate to design, per se, there is a lot of overlap between branding, marketing, design, and customer experience, and it’s always great to be able to expand your perspective and approach things from a different mind-set – as I definitely feel as though I came away from the conference a stronger & more knowledgeable designer than before.

In addition to the keynote speakers, a few of the most compelling sessions included:

Jeff Kearl Founder And CEO, Stance – “Launching a Brand: Your First Decision Should Be Your Best Decision” which contained a lot of valuable branding/marketing perspective centered around differentiating your brand, product, or service.

Matt Dixon Chief Product & Research Officer, Tethr – “The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty” – a lot of insightful and surprising research on what truly drives customer loyalty. The unexpected finding – simply meeting customer expectations and offering “low-effort” experiences drives loyalty more than “customer delight.” Additionally, these metrics from the session were most compelling:

  • 94% of customers were found more likely to repurchase a product or service as a result of low-effort experience (in comparison to experiences based on delight or more features/options)
  • 88% of these customers increased spending because of low effort experience

More about Matt and his research can be found at the following “The Effortless Experience” by @matthewxdixon


A few high-level recurring themes/takeaways from the conference include:

  • Experience matters – the leading brands are creating unique, compelling, and low-effort experiences for their customers. Otherwise it’s race to the bottom based on things like price & features.
  • Empowering people & managers make true leadership possible.
  • Building loyalty & customer satisfaction is the most efficient path to profitability.
  • Intention (why you are doing something) matters most. It’s not what you’re selling, it’s why you’re selling it.
  • Service/Values – the most successful brands/businesses serve/stand for something bigger than themselves.
  • Differentiation & values are essential to building an enduring brand.
  • Simply meeting expectations creates more customer loyalty than “customer delight.”
  • Low effort experiences increase loyalty and spending more than experiences based on choice or delight.
  • Bad experiences harm your brand more than good experiences propel it.
  • Success & contentment is based on gratitude.

And some questions that I think are worthwhile for us to revisit as a company:

  • How can we provide a better, unique, and, most importantly, low-effort experience as a service company?
    How can we “experience-fy” our services?
  • Are we empowering people to make decisions as managers and delegating whenever possible? If so, how? If not, how can we?
  • Which is more important:
    A) Winning the job/making the sale or,
    B) Ensuring that we can meet expectations
  • Which is more important
    A) Delighting the customer
    B) Providing Options
    C) Delivering a low-effort customer experience?
  • Are we basing decisions & processes on ‘what-if’s’ & unknowns or data & research?
  • What is our intent? Why are we selling what we’re selling?
  • What differentiates us?
  • What are our values? How are they present in the work we’ve done/are doing?
  • Do our people & customers align with our values?

I’d like to once again say thank you to Karthik & team and trust that my experience throughout the X4 Summit will be of much value to DCKAP in the time to come! For more, check out the X4 Summit Highlight reel:


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