Qualtrics Executive Interview
Fabrice Martin, Chief Product Officer, Qualtrics
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Sheri Greenhaus, Managing Partner of CrmXchange, interviewed
Fabrice Martin, Qualtrics’ Chief Product Officer. Fabrice discussed Qualtrics’
mission to help businesses become more human by providing the right
technologies and insights. They focus on customer experience, employee
experience, and market research. Qualtrics connects feedback from various
channels, empowers front-line employees, and offers real-time shaping of
experiences. They also leverage AI technologies and prioritize transparency and
trust in their processes.
Sheri: Thank you for joining us, Fabrice. Would you please
provide us with an overview of Qualtrics?
Fabrice: Certainly, Sheri. As the Chief Product Officer at
Qualtrics, I oversee one of our three product areas, which is customer
experience. We also have employee experience and market research as our other
two areas. I joined Qualtrics through the acquisition of ClarabBridge, and I
have been in this industry for the past 10 years. At Clarabridge, I held the
dual role of Product Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. Our company's mission
is to help businesses become more human. By that, I mean we provide them with
the right technologies, best practices, frameworks, and benchmarking that allow
them to truly understand experiences from the customers' perspective.
We initially started as a feedback company over 20 years
ago, primarily focusing on surveying customers and employees. However, we have
evolved to a point where we now consider various forms of communication as
feedback. Whether customers call a company, email them, or post reviews on
social media about their products, services, or branding, we consider all of
that unstructured data as valuable feedback. We have developed an
extensive and scalable platform that enables our customers to gather all these
different data points, organize them in a journey, and gain insights into how
individual customers experience their website, store visits, and contact center
interactions. This empowers businesses to provide highly personalized and great
experiences for their customers.
Sheri: Would it be accurate to categorize Qualtrics as a
feedback and analytics company, where you collect data and help businesses take
action based on that data?
Fabrice: That's how we started. However, we created a new
category called Experience Management in 2017, which is an evolution from pure
feedback analysis to driving actions based on that feedback. We are focused on
building technologies and capabilities that enable automation, personalization,
and integration with third-party systems. Our goal is to ensure that businesses
can take meaningful actions based on the insights gained from customer
feedback. In March, we rebranded some of our products as "XM" to
represent the customer front lines.
While we do provide support for centralized Voice of
Customer and analytics teams, our ultimate aim is to empower every single
employee at the frontlines to understand what customers want and deliver great
experiences. We have defined three categories of frontlines: the digital
frontline, customer care in the contact center, and physical locations. By
connecting all these experiences and supporting these frontline employees, we
provide businesses with a holistic view of their customers instead of treating
each touchpoint separately.
Sheri: It's impressive how you aim to help companies view
customers holistically. As a customer, I may interact with a company through
various channels like their website, contact center, and physical locations. I
see it as a single experience with the brand, not isolated transactions. Do you
assist companies in achieving this holistic view?
Fabrice: Absolutely, Sheri. Our technology allows us to
consider both sides of the equation: the customers and the employees. For
example, if a customer calls an insurer regarding an accident, the call may not
be pleasant if the customer is not covered. However, the agent can still
provide great service and handle the call effectively and should be scored as
such. Our technology helps companies treat customers respectfully even in
situations where they cannot fulfill all their requests. Simultaneously, we
ensure that employees have the necessary tools and information to do their job
effectively. By connecting both customer and employee experiences, we create better
We believe that happy employees play a crucial role in
delivering great experiences. Therefore, our technology and the customer
profiles we store iny, Experience iD, enables employees to understand
customers at an individualized level by providing insights into their full
journey with the brand. This integration of customer and employee experiences
allows businesses to make better decisions and deliver exceptional service.
Sheri: Once you provide companies with the data, what is the
next step? Do you primarily focus on data analysis, or do you also provide
consultation to help companies implement changes?
Fabrice: That's a great question. As a software company, our
primary focus is on providing the tools to gather information, gain insights,
and automate processes. However, we also have a dedicated arm of our business
that offers best practices, methodologies, benchmarks, and recommendations.
These additional services complement our software offerings. We have 17,000
customers globally across various industries, and we have gathered a wealth of
experience and knowledge. We embed these benchmarks and methodologies into our
products, which helps our customers ramp up quickly and understand where they
stand compared to others in their industry.
Sheri: How can a company get started with Qualtrics?
Fabrice: There are several starting points depending on the
needs and priorities of the company. Some customers may begin with an employee
experience program, typically initiated by the HR department. They want to
connect employee experience with the service they provide to their customers.
We have a suite of products that cater to different areas such as employee
experience, customer experience, contact center offerings, and digital applications.
If a company has a website and wants to gather customer opinions, we can help
with that as well with some of our Frontline Digital solutions. Another entry
point is market research, where companies use our technology to understand
their customers' preferences and develop new products. What sets us apart is
our ability to connect all these different aspects.
Sheri: If a company wants to transform their image,
understand customer touchpoints, identify areas of customer dissatisfaction,
and make their contact center employees more empathetic, would you collaborate
with consulting partners like Accenture to analyze the data and provide
consultation on implementing changes?
Fabrice: Sometimes we collaborate with consulting partners,
but often our customers themselves are at the center of these transformation
programs. What they need is the right technology to gather data and make
informed decisions. With millions of potential changes that could be made, it
is essential to identify the ones that will have a significant impact. Our data
provides insights that help businesses determine what to test and understand
the impact a change could have on customer effort, lifetime value,
employee performance, and brand perception. We focus on empowering our customers
to make those difficult decisions. For instance, Delta Airlines, one of our
customers, has undergone a transformation journey with our assistance. By
rolling out small but impactful changes, such as providing free Wi-Fi, they
have improved customer perception and loyalty.
Sheri: In striving to ensure that every interaction with
every employee results in a positive experience, how do you address the human
factor? Humans are prone to having bad days occasionally.
Fabrice: That's where employee experience comes into play,
as I know your readership is also interested in this aspect. At Qualtrics, we
believe in using technology to empower and enable human frontline workers and
contact center agents rather than replacing them. We understand that employees
may have off days, but by providing them with the right tools and information,
we can help them deliver better service. Our technology like Qualtrics
Real-Time Agent Assist allows agents to understand customers at an
individualized level, based on their full journey and interactions with the
brand. This comprehensive view empowers employees to provide personalized and
empathetic experiences. Solutions like Automated Call Summaries eliminate
manual work for contact center agents by instantly creating a comprehensive summary
after each customer call, allowing the agents to focus on serving the
customer. It is a well-known fact that happy employees lead to better
As we gather various data points and provide a holistic
view, we take the human factor into account and aim to enhance employee
Sheri: What are your future plans for the next two years?
Fabrice: Looking ahead, we have two primary areas of focus.
First, we want to serve the front lines better by providing them with the right
tools to react and shape experiences in real time. Traditionally, businesses
learn from past experiences and try to improve for future interactions.
However, we now have the capability to shape experiences as they are happening.
For example, during a customer call, we can provide recommendations to the
agent in real time based on the specific conversation and the customer's
preferences. This ensures that the interaction is most successful, whether it's
a sales conversation or a service call. This real-time shaping of experiences
is an exciting area of development for us.
The second area is the application of Generative AI
technologies. We believe these technologies will be transformational,
particularly for the front lines. Generative AI will allow us to bypass traditional
dashboards and provide information in a more conversational manner. Instead of
users having to navigate through charts and graphs, anyone will be able to ask
a business question using natural language and receive the answer directly. For
instance, a restaurant manager could simply ask, "What do I need to
improve the experience in my restaurant today?" and receive actionable
insights. By leveraging our data and conversational interfaces, we aim to
simplify access to information and recommendations.
Sheri: Do you have any final thoughts?
Fabrice: Two key points come to mind. First, when it comes
to enhancing customer experience, it's crucial to consider the human aspect. At
Qualtrics, we focus on using technology to empower and enable human frontline
workers and contact center agents rather than replacing them. We believe in
leveraging technology to enhance the human touch and provide exceptional
Secondly, as we adopt new technologies, it is essential to
do so transparently and mindfully. We prioritize minimizing black boxes and
ensuring that our processes and algorithms are explainable, transparent, and
objective. Building trust is paramount, and customers should be able to
understand why certain conclusions are reached. By adopting a careful and
pragmatic approach, we aim to avoid any missteps in this regard, particularly as
new AI tools come to market.
Overall, at Qualtrics, we are dedicated to helping
businesses become more human by leveraging technology, data, and insights to
deliver exceptional customer experiences.