Empathy through experience mapping

Following on from my post on using experience maps and journey maps, I’ve been thinking how to explain why the two artefacts themselves are important in their own, distinct right – and, specifically, why the experience mapping element is vital, especially in large corporate environments, where it is crucial to imbue empathy to drive customer centric business growth.

Experience mapping forces us to focus on the customer’s experiences throughout their journey… not just the journey itself.

Experience mapping forces bias towards how the customer is feeling and thinking; their emotions and drivers of behaviour. It helps us to build empathy and really get under the skin of customers as human beings. An experience map can be abstracted from segments and services and products, and forces us to think and feel as a customer would when they engage with us.

Journey mapping, alone, is too functional an approach; and focuses us too much on touchpoints and channels. Journey mapping can become complex when lenses such as segments, products and services are applied. This abstraction from the experience can cloud how we should craft and shape our interactions with customers.

While, without a doubt, very important, I contend that it’s vital to understand the drivers of behaviour as much, if not more, as the journey itself. This allows us to understand how a customer wants to feel, and how we can build experiences to make them feel this way.

On marrying quantitative and qualitative research

 

The focus in the commercial world on numbers breeds a huge bias in favour of quantitative research. One of the challenges with quantitative research is that it rarely answers the question ‘why’, and focuses on the ‘what’ (i.e. the ‘what happened?‘).

 

We, as customer/user experience professionals, need to balance this with qualitative research, focussing on uncovering the drivers of behaviour – why are people doing what they are doing? What goal are they trying to achieve? What Core Want are they trying to fulfil?

 

The ultimate goal should be to try and map our qualitative findings to quantitative measures – allowing us to tell the human story, but underpinned by quantitative measures.

 

The work that I have done mapping customer journeys, and experience mapping, has included a process whereby we identified key measures by which we relate qualitative findings to hard numbers – both outside-in, customer focussed (like satisfaction (a.k.a CSat), complaints etc.), and inside-out, business focussed (like trading data, conversion rate, ASP/AOV, returns etc.).

 

This allows you to both understand the psychological process that drives customer behaviour, and articulate it in a meaningful way that highlights and quantifies problems and opportunities.

 

As organisations become more customer centric, this, I believe, is a vital step – an organisation needs to understand customer behaviour and, importantly for the bottom line, understand where to invest in the customer journey to increase sales, loyalty and satisfaction.

 
 

Friday Link Round Up – 14 November 2014

Five retailers using technology to create remarkable shopping experiences

http://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/blogs/five-retailers-using-technology-to-create-remarkable-shopping-experiences/

The impact of customer service on customer lifetime value

http://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-and-lifetime-customer-value

The Psychology Of Online Customization

http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/11/the-rise-of-online-customization/

Resources for Mapping the Experience with Alignment Diagrams

http://experiencinginformation.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/resources-for-mapping-the-experience-with-alignment-diagrams/

Is there a future for native apps

https://econsultancy.com/blog/65690-is-there-a-future-for-native-apps

The “Things that make you go Hmmmmm” link:

In defence of banner ads

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3038267/in-defense-of-banner-ads

The “I want one of those” link:

DJI Phantom Drone

http://www.theverge.com/2014/11/13/7205741/i-almost-killed-someone-with-a-drone