Flynnsights // July 14, 2022

Experience Management Research Explained

How gathering data will allow you to deliver enhanced experiences

Amy Zoldowski

Amy Zoldowski

CX Manager

You can’t know where you need to go until you know where you are. Which is why, whether you’re a healthcare company or an online retailer, the start to a better experience for your customers is understanding their current one. That’s where experience management research can help, giving you answers to vital questions such as:

  • How do customers perceive their current experience: what’s going well, what’s not, and what do they want improved?
  • What are your customers trying to do and how can you help them?
  • What wants and needs do your customers have—and do your current products and services meet their expectations?

Experience management research can be divided into two general categories:

Long-View Research

As the name suggests, long-view research takes a more general, “10,000-foot view” of customers’ overall experience. Generally conducted at the front end of a project as part of the discovery phase, it can help guide innovation, design, and strategy. The research methodologies you’ll typically see are:
Observation / Ethnographic Watching people interact with your products or services allows you to see how they use those solutions in their life, and the workarounds they may use.
Interviews Talking directly to customers allows you to focus on specific aspects of their experience and ask “why” questions.
Diary Studies Customers detail the role your products or services play in their life, in their own words. You can have them focus feedback on specific aspects or issues, and you’ll be able to capture the emotions associated with using your products or services.
Longitudinal Captures customer feedback over time that can help you make changes to your products or services to better meet customer needs. It’s also a great way to test different versions of your solutions.
Quantitative Questionnaires are a great way to learn about customers’ unmet needs and wants, allowing analysis that can further explain findings, as well as a means to quantify the results of qualitative research.

Short-View Research

Generally conducted closer to “real time” than its long-view counterpart, short-view experience management research is more focused on ways to upgrade a current experience: what needs to be fixed, improved, or optimized. Short-view research is usually quick to implement and act upon. Ideally, it also includes operational and behavioral data to yield better insights. The most common methodologies are:

UX Testing Allows you to see how customers use an existing product or service, test different options, or test a prototype or pilot. It’s usually done through an online platform and can be quantitative or qualitative.
Qualitative Uses customer surveys to dive deeper into experiences, helping you get to the “whys” behind the “whats.” It can capture customers’ likes, dislikes, and moment-in-time perceptions. In addition to ad hoc studies, using transactional and voice-of-the-customer studies is a common practice.
Operational / Behavioral Data Leverages data you’re already capturing about your customers, such as web analytics (time on page, bounce rates, etc.) or call center data.

Making The Most Of Your Research

Experience management research is most effective when it’s used early on as part of the design or product lifecycle process, and when it’s ongoing and not just a “one off.” Quality feedback from your customers will allow you to make changes and fine-tune a product or service to make sure it’s meeting their needs.

The best part? Since so few companies include experience management research as part of their processes, making it a priority will allow you to gain a competitive advantage—and see greater success.

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