Making sense of experiences and journeys
To understand what people experience, we need to listen to what they say about it, and how they say it.
What people say about their experience
What people say about your experience reflects what they think about it, because talking is an act of thinking. People use language to construct meaning, especially when what they have to say is new or difficult.
Experiences with technology and experiences between people are different and should be researched differently:
- Technology and people: Our focus is always on the person. Does this experience add value to your customer?
- Interactions between people: A service is not something 'consumed' like a product. In many cases, part of the service experience involves interaction between the service provider and the customer.1 Person-to-person encounters are sometimes about power relationships.
We research what people remember about the experience.
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?
'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
This is as true for business customers as it is for the general public.
We have researched the experiences of a diverse range of customers, including arts audiences, students, financial services customers, welfare recipients, and victims of crime. We have revealed:
- Expectations. What customers expected and whether this was delivered.
- Actual experiences. How customers have experienced the service in use
- Gaps. Service gaps perceived by customers
Our practical recommendations have included service redesign, digital developments and communication improvements.
2. 'Living, and thinking about it: two perspectives on life.' Daniel Kahneman and Jason Riis