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5 Key Takeaways from XLA Institute Live 2024

Updated: 1 day ago

Eye Filmmuseum - Amsterdam

June 11th saw the XLA Institute's first XLA Live event at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. With our Chief Experience Officer, Neil Keating delivering a breakout session on how to start with XLAs, Bright Horse were lucky enough to be invited to what proved to be an enlightening and energising coming together of XLA adopters, experts and practitioners. Themed around how to start, scale and succeed with XLAs, the event covered the various stages experience professionals find themselves in during their experience management journey. What's important is we continue to build upon lessons learnt. In their opening keynote speech of XLA Live, Alan Nance, VP of Experience Advocacy at the XLA Institute, emphasised that XLAs need community. When a community of like-minded professionals come together, experience is shared conversations had. We'd like to share just 5 of many key takeaways from XLA Live 2024.

1. Start Small with XLAs and Expand Gradually

Throughout our consultancy, we have seen successful implementations of XLAs where a small selection are applied to a single service, often IT. Whilst it can be tempting to design a variety of XLAs for a variety of services, wanting to see the benefits of XLAs spread out across the organisation, starting small will benefit the longevity of your XLAs. This is because whilst XLAs are certainly beneficial, they requires skills and adaption to change, not to mention new skills to learn. Asking for too much change too quickly can cause pushback; easing into experience management and showing the benefits gradually over time will increase acceptance, and thereby, further adoption. It also enables experience professionals implementing their first XLAs to refine their skills, encouraging any future design and implementation to be carried out more effectively and efficiently.

2. XLAs can Catch those Issues not yet Reported

Employees working on computers in an offce

A theme throughout breakout sessions and keynotes surrounded a key benefit of XLAs: catching those irritating IT issues that go unreported. People may not report issues for a number of reasons: not being noticed is one, but a big reason is not viewing it as a valuable use of time. This can be due to perceived slow or complex support processes; regardless, this often translates to a watermelon effect, where SLAs and KPIs are being met but sentiment is poor.

XLAs work to resolve unreported issues by asking on a regular basis how someone is feeling about the service they are using. Rather than gathering a snapshot of experience, after a reported issue has been resolved, sentiment surveys used in XLAs are distributed regardless of reported issues, and encompass the entire XLA target population rather than just those people reporting their issues. This enables organisations to understand the feelings of employees and customers who may be experiencing IT issues but are staying silent because the perceived pros of ignoring them outweigh those of contacting the service desk. By implementing XLAs, organisations work to resolve the consequences of unreported issues and enable a more productive and comfortable employee experience for those reporting and not reporting their experience-affecting issues.

3. XLAs will Advance with Personas

Woman and man analysing plans

Common across various breakout sessions and discussions was the use of personas when it came to implementing XLAs. When we first implement XLAs, they tend to be centred around a particular 'service' such as the service desk. Here, we're building an XLA for the users of the service desk as a whole. What became clear from XLA Live was that one next step, to build upon our current experience offering, is to build XLAs around particular personas within the overall service population. In our service desk example, this could mean XLAs for the different departments who may have different needs and look for different resources.

Designing XLAs for different personas can present a challenge but are certainly achievable. As you establish XLAs in general, patterns often emerge involving varying population groups when it comes to who needs experience improvements or has the most experience concerns, and in specific areas. This provides a blueprint for developing XLAs for these emerging groups, and is also a benefit of starting with XLAs slowly. Through regular collection of sentiment and other data, our XLAs provide us the opportunity to grow organically.

4. XLAs Require Collaboration for Improvement

Working with those groups whose experience we want to improve is vital to XLA success. This was a key message among sessions and conversations. To improve experience, we should make data-driven actions that address the experience concerns of our XLA audience. However, at no point should we be detached from them; instead working together and with the business as a whole to ensure the experience improved set out in our experience ambitions are relevant. As poor experience is resolved, we should work to understand what else our XLA audience need and want from their experience. From here, new experience ambitions and data points can be drafted and identified. The key factor here is that their inception is driven by those closest to the resolutions they aim to bring about. There isn't much point spending effort on areas felt unvaluable by our audience. By working together with our customers/employees that our XLAs support, we are better enabled to measure and improve the factors that matter most.

5. XLAs are Here to Stay!

If the success of XLA Live, its presentations, and the conversations had, is any indication, it's clear to see XLAs are here to stay and evolve. From improving service experience of employees and customers who suffer in silence with their IT issues to promoting positive relationships between employer and employee XLAs have a journey that shows no sign of slowing down. If you are interested in joining the community of business executives, practitioners, buyers, and suppliers collaborating to create employee, customer, and supplier experiences that matter, consider signing up to an individual membership at the XLA Institute. Your membership will help develop your visibility, influence, engagement, collaboration and knowledge in the experience management industry. Individual membership at the XLA Institute is free in 2024.

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