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Don't Know Where you Want to be with XLAs? Here are 3 Strategies to Help you Decide

Don't Know Where you Want to be with XLAs? Here are 3 Strategies to Help you Decide

Last year we set out three strategies to help you determine where your current employee/customer experience is. This is part of the process of starting out with experience level agreements (XLAs), understanding the current experience landscape. Under the Experience Optimization Framework, this is phase 2 - Explore. Knowing where we are with experience, we next move onto understanding where we want to be. This is phase 3 - Envision. Whilst it may sound straightforward or obvious to identify all themes within our current experience landscape and create an XLA/s for them, there are considerations to make. For instance, the allocated budget for this experience management project may not extend as far to cover all identified themes. Staff resources might not either.

When we stop and think about where exactly we want to go, in real life and initiatives like experience management, logistics can make us freeze once we consider all the parameters and pathways. Do you find yourself lost when it comes to knowing where you want to go with XLAs, in other words, what the focus of your XLAs should be? Fear not! We've got you covered. In this article, we'll be sharing three effective strategies to help you determine your experience destination.

1. Understand the Business Outcomes

Post-it notes on a board

Look to the overall outcomes and goals of the organisation. In the Experience Management Framework, one of the overarching frameworks Bright Horse use in our courses, the business outcomes should be influencing the experience outcomes. Experience management is centred around providing positive experiences to the employees but also to support the business. After all, it still needs to be operated. We should, where possible, align resolutions to experience concerns with business outcomes. For example, growth is probably the most prominent business outcome. Business growth is enabled, among other factors, by good employee productivity.

Now, if we understand from Experience Now that poor sentiment is being expressed at a slow response and resolution time for IT issues, we can see a theme that aligns with both business and experience outcomes. If we can ensure resolutions are responded to and resolved more timely, we create a more positive experience for our employees, resolving the experience anxiety that comes with not knowing whether our issues will be resolved soon. By doing so, we also enable employees to maximise their productivity by limiting the time that hinders it, thereby putting the business in a stronger position to reach its own outcomes.

2. Prioritise Experience Now Wants and Needs

Two employees organising their tasks

Our Experience Now landscape, the sentiment identifying our employee wants and needs, can be extensive. Whether that's from a large data set or a smaller one dense in data, it's possible there will be a lot of identified themes from your analysis. Once you have identified your themes, it is a good idea to prioritise them. We can do this using an experience impact to effort matrix.

Going from priority level 1 items (high experience impact an low effort cost) through to priority level 4 (low experience impact and high effort cost), considering each identified theme against a level can help identify what the highest priority issues might be. However, what happens if the majority are assigned level 1? A follow up to categorisation via the impact to cost matrix is to prioritise the themes by volume of sentiment. This can also be a standalone method of prioritisation. As is surmisable, the higher the volume of poor sentiment around a specific theme, the more wide-spread, and impacting, the theme is for our XLA audience. Following categorisation by matrix, identifying the volume of themes can narrow down further where you should be focusing your XLAs.

3. Identify the Range of Valid Experience

Writing on glass

Within our Experience Now landscape, there will probably much sentiment around what people feel they want and need to improve their experience. As with the rationale behind prioritising, it may be overwhelming to identify all the themes if the dataset is extensive. In addition, whilst all sentiment is valid, the extent of some specific desired improvements may be unattainable at this stage. Therefore, organisations need to identify what the acceptable range of experience is for the service being targeted by their XLA/s, in other words, the least the experience can be to be accepted as improvement. This is context-based. Someone whose just completed a marathon probably wouldn't mind a glass of lukewarm water, whereas a restaurant customer would expect something colder and fresher. So it is with experience.

If it happens that there are many high-priority experience needs that need to be shared between your existing resources, identify what the lowest range of accepted experience is and mark this as the first destination you want to reach. Reaching 'good enough' is valid for improving experience, especially when 'not enough' was the starting point.

Read more about the range of valid experience:

By implementing these three strategies, you are better positioned to know where to focus your XLAs. This is the process by which experience ambition statements are made, the core of any XLA. Identified themes are worked into our experience ambition statements; therefore, this process is important to thoroughly consider. However, that doesn't mean it needs to be too complex. From reaching the minimally accepted experience to prioritising the most prominent experience concerns for employees and what aligns with the business, it's all about being clear on the destination. Once we're clear and have a destination locked in, we can create strong, SMART experience ambitions and begin designing our XLAs in earnest, working to improve experiences and outcomes for all stakeholders involved.

If you're interested in learning more about how you can design a more positive experience for your employees/customers, register for one our upcoming Experience Foundation courses. Want more? If you'd like to grasp all the knowledge you will need to manage experience in 5 days, register for our upcoming August 2024 Experience Bootcamp, or contact us to find out more.

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