RealityCheck Consulting, a global partnership of senior-level insights strategists, announced the launch of HXi, their latest innovative approach to Customer Experience and Decision Journey Mapping. HXi, or Human Experience Insights, uses story elicitation techniques developed in the field of psychology to explore the experiences people have with brands, track decision journeys and understand the touchpoints that are most meaningful and relevant. The market research method is most commonly used for Customer Experience initiatives, Shopper Experience exploration and Home Use Testing.
“Mapping customer decision journeys has become an important part of the foundational market research for most brands. Understanding the path to purchase and customer experience – in both physical and digital worlds – informs critical decisions about marketing, UX, merchandising and product development,” says Jim White, Co-founder of Reality Check. “HXi provides opportunities to better align the brand journey with customer expectations and aspirations.”
According to White, the key to understanding customer experiences is listening to customer stories. Thinking of consumer decision journeys as stories of experience suggests that story arcs may be a more meaningful deliverable than journey maps. White points out that the benefit of this human approach is a simpler, more agile and more meaningful way to understand the customer journey.
Story arcs map the emotional flow of stories, tracing the action from opening scene to climax to resolution. By mapping – and aggregating – different story arcs across different consumer segments is where the richest insights are found. Story arcs reveal that for human beings, the path to purchase is not just a clearly delineated set of steps from trigger to exploration, consideration, purchase and so on. It is a mash-up of actual experience, expectations, emotions, beliefs and values expressed in story form.
Most journey maps presuppose that decision-making is a linear, step-by-step process. But stories follow a different logic. Stories progress through rising action, falling action, climax and resolution. They require context, characters and emotion. And they reflect the author’s values and beliefs. By asking consumers to recount decision journeys in story form, describing relevant moments as scenes or chapters, brands can learn not only the most relevant touchpoints throughout the experience, but also get the rich context and relevant meaning in which those touchpoints are embedded.
HXi is part of a suite of proprietary methods from RealityCheck that include Deep Story foundational learning for brand strategy development and Narrative Power concept testing and optimization. Together these methods form a comprehensive program of learning and activation to inspire brand team’s strategic thinking, sharpen concepts and elevate the experience people have with brands.