How and Why Micro-Moments Matter

User experience monitoring and back-end monitoring are really two sides of the same coin.

In the user experience, what data matters to a business? How can organizations meaningfully measure and improve it, end to end?

Riverbed was a sponsor for Simpler Media Group’s Digital Experience Summit summer event, which took place online on August 17-18. SMG met with Jon Hodgson, VP of product at Riverbed Technology, to explore questions like these, inspired by his session titled, “Managing Customer Experience in an Omnichannel World.” 

Hodgson started as a systems administrator and then evolved into sales engineering before embarking on his current multi-disciplinary perspective as VP of product. He spent many years solving problems for businesses and customers and eventually came to realize that none of the behind-the-scenes stuff showed what the human was encountering.

“What I was focusing on was only a piece of the problem — the clicks that were failing, the interactions that didn’t work — and only a secondary piece,” Hodgson said. “What did someone do? Did it work? How well did it work? And, why? Those questions should always be the starting point.” 

Ultimately he came to see that user experience monitoring and back-end monitoring are really two sides of the same coin, and when we can look at them in a unified way, we can begin to solve the real underlying problems.

Simpler Media Group caught up with Hodgson for a Q&A:

Wrong Dataset, Wrong Experience

Simpler Media Group: In what way do you feel your experience gives you unique insight on the omnichannel world?

Jon Hodgson: What’s commonly missed is the ability to differentiate between a symptom and a root cause, and that’s often a problem of not having the right dataset. To ensure the user experience when we don’t always have control over their device or how they’re using it, what we are able to control is the underlying technology. In the monitoring world, we need precision and granularity and breadth of data to understand the experience of that technology from front to back. Anytime there is sampling involved, things can slip between the cracks. So you ask yourself, did you miss something because you didn’t capture it, or because it didn’t happen? 

Lower quality data isn’t just imprecise, sometimes it’s simply wrong. Sampling is an issue many industries need to contend with. For example, in online shopping, a thumbnail of a pinstriped shirt can look solid if this isn’t taken into consideration. Audio recordings, weather radar, ultrasounds, movie making — all need to be aware of this issue. It frustrates me that in our space people think we don’t have this problem. Monitoring every second versus every minute yields different results. When we accept bad data we go chasing the wrong root cause. A lot of data used in experience monitoring is not sufficient, and that is not OK!

Experience problems are micro problems that happen in micro moments. The moment something bad happens is the moment employees think about quitting and consumers leave. We need to not get distracted by the good moments and the average moments, and instead focus on those bad moments. Until we get good data about those problematic moments and unify the findings and the insight from multiple perspectives, we won’t get a unified benefit. 

Simpler Media Group: What are some ways organizations are failing their customers (and “customers-by-proxy”)? How can omnichannel help?

Hodgson: Richard Branson said if you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your business. The reality is there are so many functions in a business, and all of them are necessary for a customer to positively interact with the business. To think that something way back down in the weeds of a business won’t impact the customer experience is myopic. 

For example, I live in the country on 10 acres with a 1,000 foot long driveway. Halfway down the driveway is the designated package dropoff to keep the delivery traffic away from my kids and pets. But Amazon’s app for home delivery doesn’t issue the delivery notes until the drivers are within a stone’s throw of the house, and every one of them passes the package box and doesn’t realize it until they get to my front door. It’s always a different driver so I can’t train them to do it better, and I can’t call Amazon to fix this problem. A development team that doesn’t understand rural life is impacting my customer experience.

The butterfly effect means that things happening in the business all around the world and on every level impact the customer experience; it’s all tied together. This goes back to what Richard Branson says, and the point is, don’t be myopic! There may be something so far in the weeds that you think it doesn’t matter, but it matters! Don’t forget the flaw of averages. One tweet can destroy a company. Focus on the outliers — the three red dots in an ocean of green.

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