Experiences and journeys

To understand customers' experiences listen to the stories that customers tell

Because the story captures not just what each person remembered but how they felt about it at the time.

This is one of our most popular services because we focus not just on the journey that customers, audience members, readers etc take, but what that experience feels like. We bring to our work a unique blend of knowledge of psychology,  linguistics and semiotics.  We have conducted customer experience research with:

  • Victims of crime
  • Students
  • Arts audiences
  • and others

To understand experiences and journeys:

  • You need to find out what went on in your customers' minds and how they felt emotionally. If all you do is identify the parts of your process that cause pain, you have missed the point.  A customer's journey is not just about how they navigate their way through your processes. It is about how they feel about being your customer after they have done that.
  • We understand customers' experiences because we recognise that people are trying to make sense of what is happening, what is out there, what they can do ....
  • It is based on best practice in qualitative research - that means in recruiting, design, analysis and reporting
  • We understand clients' needs for agility and collaboration.

Methods we use


  • Custom-design our customer research.
  • Use interviews, diaries, observation and measurement
  • And we
  • Focus on the 'human experience' because thinking about people as people is the first step to empathy, and empathy drives good service design.
  • Explore interactions between people and between people and the technology. A service is not something 'consumed' like a product.  For example, person-to-person encounters are sometimes about power relationships. It is important to know when (for example) your service empowers people sand helps them become self-sufficient, and when it disempowers people so they over-use your resources. Whatever we research, our focus is always on the person. 
  • Observe behaviour in situ wherever possible to find out what people do and what they don't do. 
  • Listen to what people say about their experience, and how they say it. What people say about their experience reflects what they think about it and what it means to them, because talking is an act of thinking. People use language to construct meaning, especially when what they have to say is new or difficult. 
  • Find out what people remember as well as what they do. How people remember their experiences is what drives repeat behaviour. Will shoppers come back to your store? Will your clients use your service after new competitors have emerged? When customers contact you, what do they remember about it most afterwards and how does that fit into their image of your brand or department?


 'It is a basic fact of the human condition that memories are what we get to keep from our experience, and the only perspective that we can adopt as we think about our lives is therefore that of the remembering self.' 2

Our work

  • Our approach suits clients looking for insightful and rigorous research to help solve a service-related problem.We have researched the experiences of a diverse range of people, including arts audiences, students, financial services customers, welfare recipients, and victims of crime.  Our practical recommendations have included service redesign, digital developments and communication improvements.
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  •  1. 'See also http://www.sbresearch.com.au/index.php/bellbird/34-why-services-are-different
  •  2. 'Living, and thinking about it: two perspectives on life.' Daniel Kahneman and Jason Riis

Tags: Qualitative Research , Customer journeys, Services research, Arts research, Rituals, Experiences, customer experience, service design

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