The Human Experience Cycle

As you think about your experience management (XM) efforts, it’s important to understand  how people flow through the experiences in their lives — as customers, employees, patients, fans, citizens, students, etc. To help deepen that understanding, I’ve created a simple model, the Human Experience Cycle (HxC). As you can see in the chart below, the HxC is made up of five elements:

  • Expectations: What a person anticipates will happen during an experience.
  • Experiences: What actually happens to a person during an interaction.
  • Perceptions: How a person views an experience based on their expectations.
  • Attitudes: How someone feels about the organization.
  • Behaviors: How a person choses to interact with an organization.

1903_HumanExperienceCycle2

Here are some implications of the HxC:

  • Experiences are in the eyes of the beholder. How someone feels about an experience (their perception) is based on their expectations along with the actual experience. So the exact same experience can lead to different perceptions for different people. That’s why you need to think about the expectations you’re setting prior to an experience, and consider delivering different experiences based on people’s expectations.
  • Experiences are judged by the emotions they create. Our memories aren’t like video cameras, they’re more like an Instagram account where we take pictures whenever we feel strong emotions, and then we judge that experience in the future based on reviewing those pictures. That’s why it’s critical to proactively think about which emotions an experience is likely to generate, since those are the elements which will most drive perceptions.
  • Attitudes are important... Many organizations measure attitudes (e.g., a relationship Net Promoter Score) as part of their overall metrics program. This is an important area to understand, because it represents an accumulation of multiple perceptions and can often be a leading indicator of behaviors. That’s why many successful XM programs prioritize their efforts around the experiences that most highly affect attitudes.
  • …But behaviors are the goal. The success or failure of an organization is driven by what people actually do, their behaviors. Over time, you need to make sure that the attitudes you’re measuring have an actual impact on the behaviors you really care about — is NPS really driving future purchases?, or is our employee engagement measurement predicting attrition? If not, look for different attitudinal measurements that are more predictive of those important behaviors.

The bottom line:  Align your efforts around the Human Experience Cycle.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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