April 25, 2014
What is a customer's experience? Is it the user flow determined by a designer and tested for usability? A click-path tracked by Google Analytics? The customer’s own answers volunteered in a survey? These are all parts of the whole picture, but taken on their own none of these answer that question: what is a customer’s experience? Experts who conduct product and user group studies will even tell you that customers often struggle with communicating their own experience of a product, service or website when asked directly. It’s subjective. It’s based on feelings. It’s complicated.
Defining Customer Experience
The key to measuring customer experience is quantifying how they feel about the experience and what worked or didn’t work about it. It’s helpful to think of the customer experience in terms of a continuum, there are interactions that affect the customer experience positively (thus providing more affinity to your brand/product/service), those that don’t affect the experience one way or another, as well as things about the overall experience that are lacking or may actually turn them away. The continuum in its simplest form is a measure in time in which a customer feels affinity towards a brand, doesn’t feel anything at all or feels repelled. Both sustained affinity towards a brand and extreme antipathy are rare, so a binary measure of their experience just doesn’t cut it.
Notice that the Apathy to Antipathy side is actually larger and more dominant. Feeling affinity for a brand may be simple, but it only takes one bad experience to turn the tides in a customer’s mind. Can you measure where your customer is on this spectrum?
Decision Points: Breaking Down the Customer Experience
Like any narrative, the customer experience is a story with a beginning, middle and an end made of moments within the path to purchase and beyond in which a customer’s affinity for the product is most likely to be influenced. We will focus on certain moments: the recognition point, interaction point and affinity point. We'll examine these three points in the order they occur. See more about these critical points in the graphic below:
Testing the Hypothesis
Now that we’ve focused on three distinct decision points we can track campaign goals more precisely. The typical analytics software measures path to completion and the pages on that path. Based on that analysis, the checkout page for instance is 100% for a completed path. So we know what we knew already, to Checkout on the website, users must view the Checkout page. At such a crucial point in the path to purchase, has our analytics told us anything?
User Paths? Do they tell the whole story?
When taken as a critical Decision Point, we dissect the Checkout page, and look at the content on the pageyou’re your CMS and site design has flexibility, Checkout should have a content area. Often marketers are afraid of distracting a customer at this point, but is that a fact? Can we test that hypothesis and put content that may affect the Affinity Decision Point? By calculating the likelihood of purchase by comparing the different content a customer interacted with in their user path and on the Checkout page, your marketing can focus on optimization that actually makes a difference and move from hypothesis to tested theory. My next blog in this series will provide an example of the Customer Experience path and apply the decision point modeling to it for better, more actionable analytics.
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