Introducing The Temkin Customer Success Index

Over the last few years, many B2B organizations have created customer success organizations that focus on ensuring that their clients are happy. These companies are realizing that customers aren’t just buying their products, they’re making purchases with the expectation that they will achieve some value from the provider’s products and services.

As I discussed in a previous post, many customer success organizations still look a lot like old-fashioned account management teams. We think that to be successful customer success teams must blend account management with a strong CX mindset.

To help these efforts move forward,  we’re defining customer success as:

A set of activities focused on ensuring that B2B customers achieve the value and outcomes they desire.

As you can see from the definition, these efforts are not the domain of a single group or department, but are the responsibility of the entire organization. They can, and often should, be facilitated by a formal customer success team.

While there are many changes that need to be made to create a successful customer success organization, one of the things that it should do is to commit on keeping these five promises to customers:

  • Understand My Business: Know how your products/services will help your clients business succeed.
  • Find & Share Relevant Best Practices: Expose clients to meaningful opportunities for them to create new value with your products and/or services
  • Prevent Issues & Obstacles: Make recommendations that will avoid problems in the future based on insights across your organization and client base.
  • Orchestrate Value Across Functions: Provide seamless access to appropriate resources across your organization.
  • Don’t Surprise Me: Anticipate client’s upcoming needs and let them know what to expect during their entire lifecycle.

Temkin Customer Success Index

As a result, we’ve created the Temkin Customer Success Index (TCSi), which is a measure of an organization’s effectiveness delivering value above and beyond its products and services.

The TCSi is based on asking business clients how well their providers live up to each of the five customer promises, with answers on a seven point scale (as you an see below).

To calculate the index, we first create a net score for each promise by taking the percentage of 6s and 7s and subtracting the percentage of 1s, 2s, and 3s. The overall TCSi is an average of the net scores for all five promises.

We will be including the TCSi in our upcoming B2B tech vendor research, and expect to publish the results before the end of the year.

Feel free to use the TCSi to measure your organization’s customer success!

Report: The Customer Journeys That Matter The Most

Few organizations deliver outstanding experiences to their customers. In fact, only 6% of companies earned an “excellent” score in the 2018 Temkin Experience Ratings. To better understand which types of interactions are most likely to affect the customer’s perception of an organization, we asked customers to identify the most problematic journeys across 19 different industries. In this report, we:

  • Examine feedback from 10,000 U.S. consumers about their journeys with 318 companies across 19 industries.
  • Identify which customer journeys consumers think most need improvement and look at how those responses differ across age groups.
  • Evaluate how different customer journeys impact five loyalty behaviors: likelihood to recommend the company, likelihood to repurchase from the company, likelihood to forgive the company if it makes a mistake, likelihood to trust the company, and likelihood of trying new offerings from the company.
  • One of the key findings across industries is that journeys that touch customer service are often the most prevalent and the most impactful on customer loyalty.

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Here’s the first figure in the report, which has a total of 58 figures (three detailed graphics for each of the industries):

Most Problematic Customer Journeys Across Industries

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CX Competency & Maturity Model (Video)

We’ve put together this short video to explain Temkin Group’s CX Competency & Maturity Model. It defines how organizations flow through six stages of customer experience maturity: Ignore, Explore, Mobilize, Operationalize, Align, and Embed by mastering Four CX Core Competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

Temkin Group's Customer Experience (CX) Competency & Maturity AssessmentComplete Temkin Group’s FREE 20-question assessment to determine your overall CX maturity level and your performance in each of the Four Customer Experience Core Competencies. You’ll receive recommendations for improvement and a listing of relevant resources.

Starbucks Training Should Focus on Broken Brand Promises

Last week, Starbucks closed all of its stores for racial sensitivity training after an incident in April when two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store.

My Take: Starbucks training was well intentioned, but misguided.

As I said in my previous post, it’s great that Starbucks’ leaders took such swift and decisive action to condemn the incident. So what’s wrong with Starbucks doing sensitivity training? Nothing. It doesn’t hurt, but it also doesn’t address the right long-term problem.

Employees don’t change who they are when they go to work. They’re the same people before and after their shift as they are when they’re wearing green aprons. Rather than trying to change who employees are as people (which has little chance of lasting success), Starbucks needs to focus on how those employees view their role when they are at work.

That’s why Starbucks should focus its training on its brand values, not on racial sensitivity.

One of our Four CX Core Competencies is Compelling Brand Values. Companies need to use their brand as a blueprint for how they treat customers. To do that, they must focus on the promises that they make to customers through three steps:

  1. Make Promises. Ensure promises are clearly and explicitly defined.
  2. Embrace Promises: Help employees understand their critical role in delivering on the promises.
  3. Keep Promises: Hold the organization accountable to fulfilling the promises.

Temkin Group hasn’t worked directly with Starbucks, but if we did, we would have encouraged the leadership to create a set of customer promises that looked something like this:

We (Starbucks) promise to act in a way that our customers consistently:

  • Feel Welcomed. We will treat everyone who comes into one of our stores as our guest, whether they’re buying food or just hanging out.
  • Feel Sustained. We will provide wholesome food and beverages that are made with the freshest, healthiest ingredients.
  • Feel Inspired. We will provide an environment where our customers can comfortably meet and talk to others, dream big thoughts, or just relax.
  • Feel Heard: We will relish feedback from our customers, and view it as an opportunity to celebrate or improve.
  • Feel Valued. We will show our appreciate for every customer.

The training should have been about embracing & keeping these type of customer promises. Employees should have gone over multiple scenarios (including the one that happened in Philadelphia) and discussed how employees had either kept or broken those promises. Employees should also have discussed things that they can do to better keep the promises.

In other words, even racially insensitive employees should understand that the incident was unacceptable because it breaks one of Starbucks’ brand promises.

Starbucks leaders can’t treat this as a training issue, it’s a cultural issue. As we’ve discussed, culture is how people think, believe, and act. Starbucks leaders must do more than deploy a bunch of training if they expect to see any lasting change.

This is not just an issue at Starbucks. Very few companies actively help their employees embrace their brand values, as you can see in this data from the State of CX Management, 2018.

Organizations shouldn’t hire people who are racially insensitive and try to train them not to be. They should train employees as part of an overall approach that helps them embrace and keep their customer promises.

The bottom line: Don’t undo employees’ upbringing, get them to embrace your brand values.

P.S. Racial insensitivity is clearly a problem in our society. This is part of why we have made 2018, The Year of Humanity. Please join Temkin Group in our efforts to try and improve humanity!


Report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2018

To understand how the quality of a customer’s experience – whether it was good or bad – affects their behavior, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers about their recent interactions with more than 300 companies across 20 industries. We then compared results with similar studies we’ve conducted over the previous seven years.

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Here are some highlights:

  • Purchase and download Temkin Group report: What Happens After a Good or Bad Experience, 2018About 18% of the customers who interacted with TV & Internet service providers reported having a bad experience – a considerably higher percentage than in other industries. Of the companies we evaluated, 21st Century, Comcast, Cox Communications, and New York Life deliver bad experiences most frequently.
  • We created a Sales at Risk Index for all 20 industries by combining the percentage of customers in an industry who reported having a bad experience with the percentage who said they decreased their spending after a bad experience. According to this Index, TV & Internet service providers stand to lose the most revenue (6.4%) from delivering bad experiences, while utilities stand to lose the least (1.4%).
  • When it comes to recovering from delivering a bad experience, Investment firms are the most effective and TV & Internet service providers are the least effective.
  • After customers have a very bad or very good experience with a company, they are more likely to give feedback directly to the company than they are to post about it on Facebook, Twitter, or third party rating sites. Customers are also more likely to share positive feedback through online surveys and share negative feedback through emails.
  • Compared to previous years, customers are less likely to share feedback across almost all channels, with a particularly large drop in the percentage who post on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Across almost all age groups, consumers are most likely to share their feedback directly with the company. Consumers between 18 and 34 years old are the most likely to share their good and bad experiences on Facebook, while older consumers tend to use 3rd party ratings sites more than Facebook or Twitter.

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Here is one of the 12 graphics in the report:

Mastering Customer Experience Metrics (Infographic)

As an organization’s customer experience efforts mature, CX metrics become a critical guidepost for all of its activities. You can see different ways to download this infographic below.

Mastering Customer Experience (CX) Metrics Infographic

Here are links to download different versions of the infographic:

Here are links to the research referenced in the infographic:

Making AI Customer-Centric

Making AI Customer-Centric (Temkin Group Report)Temkin Group just published a new report, Making AI Customer-Centric. Here’s the executive summary:

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – often in the form of chatbots and intelligent virtual assistants – is becoming more widespread in customer experience. However, despite its prevalence, few companies are employing AI in the right scenarios or using it to its fullest potential. In this report, Temkin Group creates a model and shares best practices for AI-Driven Interfaces (AIDI), which we define as digital interactions with customers that are being directly manipulated by machine learning algorithms.

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To successfully deploy customer-centric AI, companies need to:

  • Integrate the elements of the Human Conversational Model into the design of AIDI.
  • Bring together Five Ingredients: Conversational Design, Targeted Use Cases, Optimized Data Aggregation, Responsive AI Engine, and Continuous Tuning.
  • Determine Organizational AI Readiness before deployment by tying AI to business strategy, auditing data sources, assessing employee skills, and planning for agent/AIDI interactions.

Five Ingredients of Customer-Centric AI

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The Future of VoC Actionable Insights: Assistance Engines

Earlier this week I gave a speech called “The Future of CX: Humanistic, Prescriptive, and Responsive.” During that session, I discussed a missing link in today’s VoC technology: Assistance Engines. Here’s a picture of the future that I have in mind.

Architecture For Prescriptive Customer Insights

Before I describe Assistance Engines, I want to go back to 2010 when I labelled VoC technologies as Customer Insight & Action (CIA) Platforms. The naming was important, because it correctly identified that vendors needed to focus more on “insight & action” than on customer feedback.

It turns out that this is still the case. In the future, VoC vendors will be completely judged by results that their clients get from taking actions on the insights that these vendors provide.

Action is the holy grail! All of the efforts around surveying, integrating data, analyzing, etc. are only as valuable as the actions that they lead to. Most of the vendors now understand this key concept, and are working feverishly to improve the actionability of the insights they provide.

Companies still have a long way to go in taking action on their VoC insights. As you can see in our recent infographic, only 24% of large companies think they are good at taking action.

To help refine the insights, most vendors are developing some sort of an Intelligence Engine. This technology combines direct customer feedback with other customer information, and then applies different analytical and machine learning approaches to create predictive insights about large groups of customers.

While this technology is helping companies to better understand their customers, the output does not often translate directly into actionable insights. Why not? Because there’s a wide gap between insights from the Intelligence Engine which are often delivered in charts and dashboards, and the types of information that employees need to make their a day-to-day decisions.

No matter how much smarter these platforms get about customers, they won’t be truly actionable until they also get smarter about employees.

That’s where Assistance Engines come into play. What is an Assistance Engine?

A set of technologies that uses analytics and machine learning to provide increasingly valuable advice to help different employees across an organization make customer-centric decisions.

Or you can think of it more simply as…

Technology that recommends employee actions based on customer insights.

Assistance Engines will provide timely, actionable insights that are embedded within role-based processes, and delivered as answers and recommendations, not as charts and numbers. This technology will also fine-tune its recommendations based on feedback from employees about the types of recommendations that they find valuable.

Think of the Assistance Engine as being like an analyst who works for the employee. A good analyst can comb through data in an Intelligence Engine, understanding her bosses needs, and translate the customer insights into a very relevant set of recommendations. Over time, the analyst gets better at anticipating what her boss needs or wants to see.

Here are some examples of insights that an Assistance Engine might deliver (think about the employee simply asking Alexa a question):

  • When a product manager is defining a new product, the Assistance Engine will recommend a set of features that a product manager should include in its next release.
  • When a contact center supervisor finds that she has 15 minutes free, the Assistance Engine can tell her which agent to spend time with and what to cover during the session.
  • When an executive is looking to improve the companies NPS, the Assistance Engine will identify the regions to focus on and the activities that should be improved in those regions.

The early use cases for Assistance Engines will likely focus on recommendations that are already being made by analysts. But instead of having someone spend a lot of time manually digging through troves of data, the Assistance Engine will simply answer end users’ questions.

Companies still have a long way to go in building out their Intelligence Engines, so we do not expect to see Assistance Engines become mainstream for several years. But the maturing of end-user responsive analytics such as IBM Watson and Amazon Analytics will help accelerate the development.

The bottom line: Actionability requires more focus on employees.


2018 Temkin Trust Ratings (U.S.): USAA and Wegmans On Top

temkin ratings

Temkin Group announces the release of the 2018 Temkin Trust Ratings (TTR). Based on a study of 10,000 U.S consumers, the ratings benchmarks the level of trust that consumers have with 318 companies across 20 industries. USAA’s (TTR of 81%) banking business earned the top spot, followed by Wegmans (79%), credit unions (77%), H-E-B (77%), and USAA’s credit card and insurance businesses (75%). Four TV/Internet service providers earned the lowest TTR: Comcast (22%), Charter Spectrum (25%), Optimum (29%), and Cox Communications (29%). Here’s a full list of all of the companies in the TTR.

You can see all of the high-level results on the Temkin Ratings website, or purchase a full dataset.

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2018 Temkin Trust Ratings: Top and Bottom Organizations 2018 Temkin Trust Ratings: Ranges Of Industry Scores 2018 Temkin Trust Ratings: Industry Leaders And Laggards

***See how your company can reference these results
or display a badge for top 10% and industry leaders***

Highlights of the 2018 Temkin Trust Ratings include:

  • The supermarket industry earned the highest average TTR (66%), followed by investment firms (62%), insurance companies (61%), and auto dealers (61%).
  • TV/Internet service providers earned the lowest average TTR (32%), well below the next lowest industry, health plans (49%).
  • When compared with their industry averages, eight companies earned TTRs that were at least 15 points above their peers: USAA (banks and credit cards), Alabama Power Company, credit unions, TriCare, Advantage Rent-A-Car, Regions Bank, and Navy Federal Credit Union.
  • Seven companies earned TTRs that were 15 or more points below their industry averages: Days Inn, Sears, San Diego Gas & Electric, CarMax, Wells Fargo, Motel 6, and Spirit Airlines.
  • The TTRs for all 20 industries declined between 2017 and 2018. The largest decline was in utilities (-6.2 %-points) and the smallest decline was in health plans (-0.9).
  • Between 2017 and 2018, Showtime improved the most (+13 %-points). Six other companies improved by seven or more points: Taco Bell, Whirlpool, Pizza Hut, Foot Locker, Family Dollar, and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
  • Between 2017 and 2018, Appalachian Power Company declined the most (-26 %-points). Eight other companies declined by 15 or more points: Spirit Airlines, Michael’s, Jeep, CarMax, Fox Rent A Car, Haier, PSE&G, and HSBC.

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The Past, Present, And Future Of CX(PA)

This week I gave a keynote at the Customer Experience Professional  Association (CXPA) Insight Exchange in New Orleans. As alway, it was a great event; there’s almost nothing better than a group of enthusiastic CX professionals!  We’ve come a long way since we had the first CXPA event at Fenway Park in 2011.

The Overall Storyline

My speech was entitled The Past, Present, and Future of CX(PA). The core component of my remarks was a story about where the CX profession was at the time we founded CXPA, where it is today, and where we’re heading in the future. Here’s a summary of that storyline:

Where We Were: Isolated and Emerging

In 2011 when we launched the CXPA, the CX profession looked a lot like young children playing soccer. There were a lot of people doing the same type of thing, but they didn’t follow the same rules, didn’t head in the same direction, didn’t coordinate their efforts, and weren’t making a lot of progress. Each player seemed to be unaware or disinterested in other members of their team.

Where We Are: Professional and Refining 

Today, CX is like a symphony orchestra. We look like a well-coordinated group. We use the same vocabulary, a common set of tools and skills, and share our learnings. We have many fans of the beautiful music that we create from the stage, but we’re still playing to a limited audience. The symphony is not a wildly popular musical genre.

Where We’re Going: Transforming and Distributed.

In the future, CX will look more like Habitat for Humanity. Rather than projecting our knowledge from a stage, CX professionals will work alongside other people in the organization, collectively supporting a diverse set of projects. CX professionals will apply their deep expertise where needed, but will spend more time coaching and distributing skills to the rest of the collective workforce.

I described each of the phases along the following four dimensions:

  • Practitioners: What CX pros are up to
  • Practices: What skills CX pros are using
  • Providers: How CX vendors are involved
  • Province: The mindset of other stakeholders

The Evolution Of Customer Experience (CX)

Here are a few data points that describe where we are today:

The Future: Federated CX Model

In the future, CX professionals will no longer be successful by just mastering tools like customer journey mapping, VoC programs, and experience design. We will need to distribute a bit of those skills and mindsets to other employees and partners across our organizations, so they can apply them in their day-to-day work. In this manner, we will be embedding good CX practices throughout the organization instead of just affecting the limited projects that we are a part of.

The approach for CX that will become more prevalent is what we call the Federated Customer Experience Model. It’s built on three components: CX Centers of ExcellenceEnterprise CX Coordination, and Distributed CX Skills and Mindset.

The Federated Customer Experience (CX) Model

We further defined how the federated model will look in our report Propelling Experience Design Across An Organization.  To succeed, we need to focus on the needs of three types of employees:

  1. Experts are highly trained professionals who use CX methodologies as an integral part of their everyday work. They are often housed in a centralized design team.
  2. Boosters are employees who reside in different parts of the organization and have been moderately trained on CX methodologies, but it is not the core responsibility of their day-to-day work.
  3. Dabblers are employees who have received basic training on CX methodologies, but use it only on an ad hoc basis. Instead of following strict processes, these Dabblers adopt the methodology to suit their own needs.

To get a sense of federation, let’s look at customer journey mapping. Rather than just focusing on the few projects that experts can lead, we will want to enable employees across the organization to use the foundation of journey mapping in a lot of their work, which is described below in what we call the Customer Journey Mapping Pyramid.

Customer Journey Mapping PyramidAt the base of the pyramid is Customer Journey Thinking™. It’s a very lightweight approach that almost all employees can use in their day-to-day work. All it requires is for them to ask (and answer) the following questions:

  1. Who is the customer? Start by recognizing that different customers have different needs. So it’s important to understand who the person is before we think about their specific journey.
  2. What is the customer’s real goal? To understand how customers will view an interaction and what’s shaping their expectations, you need to think about what they are really trying to accomplish.
  3. What did the customer do right before? (repeat three times) When customers interact with your company, it’s almost always part of a longer journey. So you need to think about where they’ve been prior to the interaction in order to understand how they will respond to an interaction with your company.
  4. What will the customer do right afterwards? (repeat three times) When customers interact with your company, it’s almost never the last step on their journey. So you need to think about what they will do next to understand how you can best help them.
  5. What will make the customer happy? Rather than just aiming to satisfy customers’ basic needs, think about what it will take to provide each customer with the most positive experience–given what employees know about customers’ real goals and their entire journeys.

My Recommendations

The future of CX and the profession is in all of our hands. We have the power to grow and evolve, and to make CX a source of differentiation for our organizations and an inspiration that improves humanity around the world.

My speech included references to Alexander Hamilton (along with several homages to Hamilton, the musical.) This quote captures my feelings about the future of our CX community:

Happy will it be for ourselves, and most honorable for human nature, if we have wisdom and virtue enough to set so glorious an example to mankind! – Alexander Hamilton

I closed out my remarks with the following recommendations:

  • Focus on people (employees and customers)
  • Connect CX to business and brand success
  • Stay positive and passionate
  • Support our collective community!

The bottom line: Our CX community can improve the world!

Introducing CX Sparks: Customer Experience Discussion Guides

We’ve heard from many of our readers that they often use our blog content, especially our videos, as part of their team meetings. They find that the information we share can initiate powerful discussions.

CX Sparks: Guides For Stimulating Customer Experience Discussions

We decided to more actively support this usage with a new offering, CX Sparks. These are free guides that we’ve created to help you drive stimulating discussions. These can be useful for:

  • Your team meetings
  • Executive team meetings
  • CX ambassador meetings
  • Offsite events and workshops

We’ll be adding new CX Sparks over time, but here’s our initial list of discussion guides:

  • What is Customer Experience?
  • Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program
  • Power of Customer Journey Thinking
  • Start Talking About Emotions
  • Emotion: The Missing Link In Customer Experience
  • Customer-Centric Culture Change
  • Driving CX Transformation, Made Simple
  • Purposeful Leadership (CX Competency)
  • Customer Connectedness (CX Competency)
  • Employee Engagement (CX Competency)
  • Compelling Brand Values (CX Competency)
  • Improving Humanity
  • Five Ways That Organizations Crush Customer Empathy

The bottom line: We hope that these guides spark productive CX conversations!

Building A Strong Voice of The Customer Program (Infographic)

Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs are a critical component for many CX efforts. This infographic examines those efforts. Make sure to visit our VoC/NPS Resource Page for more help in building your VoC program.

Here are links to download different versions of the infographic:

Here are links to the research referenced in the infographic:

Report: Fan Experience Benchmark: U.S. Professional Sports

We just published a Temkin Group report, Fan Experience Benchmark: U.S. Professional Sports: U.S. Consumers’ TV Preferences And In-Person Experiences For MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA, USTA, and WNBA.

Fan Experience Benchmark: NFL, NBA, NHL, WNBA, MLB, PGA, MLS, USTA (Customer Experience, CX)For seven years in a row, Temkin Group has tracked U.S. consumers’ preferences for watching professional sports on TV. This year, we also examined their experience when attending a live sporting event. Here are some highlights from this research:

  • NFL is the most dominate sport on TV, but MLB has the highest percentage of fans who attend its games.
  • Almost all sports lost TV viewers over the last seven years, with NFL dropping the most. Viewership has declined most dramatically for young adult males.
  • NASCAR has the highest level of promoters for its live sporting events, while the NFL has the lowest.
  • We evaluated consumer satisfaction across the nine steps that make up a live sporting event journey. Of these steps, parking received the lowest average satisfaction, and ticketing correlated most strongly with fans’ likelihood of recommending attending an event to their friends and relatives.
  • We include live event scorecards for MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, and WNBA
  • Sports teams that want to improve fan experience need to build four competencies: Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement, and Customer Connectedness.

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Purchase and download Fan Experience Benchmark Report (Customer Experience, CX)Fan Experience: Consumers who watch professionals sports on TV, 2012 to 2018

Customer Experience (CX): Fan Satisfaction Across Journey Through Live In-Person Sporting Events

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Introducing The SLICE-B Experience Review Guide

Do you want to examine experiences through the eyes of your customers? I’m happy to announce that we’ve just released online training to help you use on of our tools, the SLICE-B Experience Review Guide. We’ve used it in our research and consulting, taught it within some of our workshops, and now we’ve made it even easier for people to use on their own.

You can purchase access to the training for $495.

This video provides an overview of the methodology.

SLICE-B is an Expert Review (a.k.a. Scenario Review) methodology where you go through a specific scenario with a specific customer type in mind, looking for experience flaws along the way.

Temkin Group's SLICE-B Experience Review methodology evaluates customer experience (CX) by examining specific customer scenarios across six categories.

Our methodology examines 12 criteria across these six areas:

  1. Start. The extent to which the customer is drawn into the experience.
  2. Locate. The ease in which the customer can find what she needs.
  3. Interact. The ease in which the customer can understand and control the experience.
  4. Complete. The confidence that the customer has that her goal was accomplished.
  5. End. The transition into next steps.
  6. Brand Coherence. The reinforcement of a company’s brand.

The methodology can be used in many areas:

  • Evaluate your existing customer interactions
  • Improve your design prototypes
  • Embed into your requirements process
  • Compare against your competitors’ interactions
  • Learn from interactions in other industries

To see SLICE-B in use, download the report: Mobile Experience Review: Purchasing an eGift Card.

The bottom line: Examining experiences through the eyes of your customers can be enlightening.