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Visionary Leaders Share Insights and the Spotlight at Qualtrics X4 2024: Part 1

A collage of the various panels at X4.

BNO shares guidance for engaging, surprising, and delighting customers

May was an exciting month for BNO. Once again, we returned to X4: The Experience Management Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by Qualtrics—the world’s foremost software company in experience management—X4 brought esteemed leaders and experts from celebrated brands together under one roof.

During the two-day summit, we took in engaging keynote presentations and breakout sessions on the power of data collection and management, customer and employee experience, and the growing uses of AI to make more educated business decisions. In this two-part series, we share summit highlights and CX takeaways that you can apply to your business for a deeper, lasting impact.

Becoming a resilient leader by embracing change

We had the opportunity to hear from former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, on how to be a strong leader by becoming resilient to change. She explained that strong leadership and change go hand in hand because, to be a good leader, you have to be comfortable with dissonance and accept that you might not always be right. Obama acknowledged, “It’s natural to be afraid or to be resistant to change,” which she experienced when her husband chose to run for president, but then she described the growth that came on the other side of that fear. Turning away from the change we fear, she advised, denies us the chance to grow. We should not deny ourselves that chance—whether in our personal or professional lives.

“Have courage and be humble. Find the beauty in change. Believe that other people are important.” – Michelle Obama, former U.S. First Lady “Have courage and be humble. Find the beauty in change. Believe that other people are important.” – Michelle Obama, former U.S. First Lady

Obama also illustrated the importance of learning how to adapt and to develop a support system of friends, family, and coworkers through times of change. Throughout various life stages, she always sought people whom she could invite to have a seat at her “kitchen table,” a place of comfort and support. Her words of wisdom: As you adapt to different situations, rely on your support system, and become resilient to change, you gain the experience you need to be a strong, successful leader in your career and your life.

CX Takeaway: Embrace change, especially in the marketplace. Rely on employees, subject matter experts (SMEs), etc., to help you and your business adapt to the changing landscape.

Facing down adversity by facing down your fear

Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing, also spoke about facing fear and the unknown. “Fear is kind of pointless,” she shared, because she believes it denies us the opportunity to get back up and keep going. She illustrated that, throughout her career, she faced many challenges that were scary, but she would not be where she is today if she had succumbed to fear.

“Whether you’re an athlete or a businessperson ... you always will face adversity. It’s how you handle that adversity that will help you get to where you want to go.” – Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medalist “Whether you’re an athlete or a businessperson ... you always will face adversity. It’s how you handle that adversity that will help you get to where you want to go.” – Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medalist

Pushing fear aside, Vonn also emphasized the importance of hard work and grit in life and in business. She recommended asking yourself, “How will you handle adversity?,” and encouraged preparation through studying the data—whether it’s your company’s finances or customer reviews—and learning from failure to keep improving. She discussed how she would prepare for ski competitions by researching as much as possible about the course or the mountain, and by detailing her equipment and experience every time she skied, explaining, “I love data [because] information empowered me” to be the best athlete. Drawing the parellel to business, she asserted, “The only failure is not learning [from the data] and not trying again.” Vonn believes that studying data and applying what you learn will empower you to adapt in the moment and make smart business decisions.

CX Takeaway: Collect, study, and utilize as much data as you can so you can forgo fear in the face of adversity and continuously adapt.

Lindsey Vonn on stage at Qualtrics X4.
Lindsey Vonn, right, speaking to the panel host.

Breathing life into your vision

Audacity. For Dwayne Wade, NBA Hall of Famer, it’s a necessary ingredient for “awakening the leader within.” Once you make the bold, audacious choice to lead, you are ready to make your vision—whether personal vision or professional—a reality. He shared that his vision to join the NBA started when he was nine years old. His three, simple steps for implementing his (and any) vision are:

1) Speak it

2) Write it

3) Share it

He also recommended asking yourself, “How much work are you willing to put in?” because it’s going to take hard work to achieve any vision and to become a great leader. He concluded by encouraging the audience to lead by example, by embracing hard work and integrity, to embody the leaders we envision.

CX Takeaway: To implement and achieve your company’s vision, commit to the following three actions: speak it, write it, and share it.

Dwayne Wade on stage at Qualtrics X4.
The crowd in attendance for Dwayne Wade's panel.

Lessons from the C-suite on sparking and sustaining customer satisfaction

Robert Ader, CMO of Porsche, spoke on the value of customer feedback at every touch point of the customer journey. “Customer excitement is greater than customer satisfaction,” said Ader. He advised that we should always ask ourselves:

  • Did we exceed customer expectations?
  • Were we more than satisfactory?

Ader also highlighted the importance of investing in employee training. Employees are the people who drive excitement, explained Ader, so when your employees are engaged and excited, you ultimately increase employee loyalty—and your customers will follow suit.

CX Takeaway: Exceed customer expectations by driving employee excitement and loyalty.

Robert Ader, CMO of Porsche at a panel.
The crowd attending Robert Ader's panel.

From the CEOs of American Express, Steve Squeri, and Delta Air Lines, Ed Bastian, we learned the value of successful business partnerships. They discussed how the experience economy outweighs the goods economy (now more than ever), so you have to look for ways to provide the best experience for customers.

Bastian noted, “Value use to be ascribed to low price … but if that’s all your selling, that’s not a sustainable proposition in a world where value is increasingly being ascribed to the experience.” Such insight is why American Express and Delta partnered to create the SkyMiles American Express card. Squeri explained, it’s “combining value and creating value” to ensure customer satisfaction, which is what their co-branded card delivers through various travel benefits.

CX Takeaway: Is there a mutually beneficial company with whom you’ve considered partnering? Reach out and begin the process of combining and creating value.

Coming up in part two of this blog series, we share insights into the uses of AI for improving and emerging CX through partnerships and employee engagement.