Getting to the heart of the matter


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Effective Customer Experience Management is about understanding and measuring how clients and consumers ‘intuitively’ feel as they touch all moments of an experience. Yet in order to understand ‘intuition’ we need to find some measure that does not depend on self-report, surveys and the like.

Instead we used a heartbeat monitor; testing intuitive responses by looking at consumer stress’ rates over a 5 hour experience shopping and eating in Milton Keynes shopping centre.

The results are seen below:


We have highlighted the key findings on this chart.

Point A: at rest, at home

Point B: getting into the car (with 2 children under 4)

Point C: covers the range of activities within the shopping centre

Point D: coves the period going home

Point E: at rest, at home

What this demonstrates is:

  1. Even though verbal reports may state a restaurant environment as relaxing, at no stage was this at the same level (and hence holding the same intuitive association) as the at rest, at home stage. This is an important finding for experience designers as customers may say they are relaxed but in fact are more stressed than they themselves realise.
  2. The beginning point of C was quite interesting. This was at a low level comparatively and demonstrated the entry point to a destination – note the peak just before this demonstrating the stress of finding a parking spot. Clearly, the feeling of relief at arrival and the anticipation of ‘getting to where we need to go to’ after a stressful journey is important and impacts on the memory of the event; an important point when we consider the start of an experience.
  3. At stage D, the anticipation of leaving and getting home leads to a similar sense of relaxation. Here end points matter!

For the restaurant and the shopping centre the lack of a sense of relaxation is important – even though this was a quiet Sunday. Using such techniques can therefore shine a light on the intuitive side of an experience, those parts that consumers cannot tell you about yet are peak moments that influence how we think and feel.

The question for any business is do you understand the heart rate of your experience?

Steven Walden
Steven Walden is Director of Customer Experience at leading CX firm TeleTech Consulting (which includes Peppers and Rogers, iKnowtion and RogenSi). Steven is instrumental in efforts to develop the CX practice promoting thought leadership and CX community engagement and IP development. Prior to TeleTech he was Director of CX at Ericsson, developing their Experience Management Centre and also Head of Research specialising in emotion and journey mapping agency side.


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