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Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach

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CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 5. Investigate: Researching the Experience

“You can observe a lot just by watching.”

— Yogi Berra

IN THIS CHAPTER
  • Reviewing existing information
  • Interviewing internally
  • Creating a draft map
  • Contextual inquiry and analysis
  • Quantitative research
  • Case Study: Music Curation: User Research and Diagramming at Sonos

I’m often stunned by how little some organizations know about the people they serve. Sure, they may have detailed demographic data and comprehensive purchasing statistics and the like. But they fail to understand the fundamental needs and motivations of their customers.

Part of the problem is that people’s behaviors are often irrational. They act on emotions and subjective beliefs. These are harder to understand and quantify, and are generally not part of the business vernacular.

I’ve come across many organizations with low appetites for understanding the customer experience. These same organizations might be willing to spend tens of thousands on market analysis reports. But getting out, speaking with customers, and observing them directly receives little funding.

It’s not just a matter of money. I’ve worked with plenty of companies that simply avoid in-depth investigations of the customer experience. Uncovering deep emotional connections to products and services is a messy endeavor. Instead, they focus on things like operational efficiency and short-term gains.

Creating diagrams of experiences breaks this pattern of organizational navel gazing. ...

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