APM How to Put an End to Bad Customer Experiences
Why a find-fix approach is not enough to keep customers happy
July 30, 2018

Chris Kline
CA Technologies

Recently I had one of those hotel stays where everything seems to go wrong. As a heavy traveler, I stay at dozens of hotels each year. And while it's not uncommon to have a snafu here and there, it's pretty rare to have nearly everything go wrong. So on this stay, by the time I had to move to my third room, I wasn't too happy. Here's how it unfolded:

After a long day of travel, I checked in late and got to my room only to find that the faucet in the tub was stuck in the on position. I called the front desk and they quickly helped me book into an alternate room. When I got to room #2, I started to get ready for the next day but there was no iron provided. I called twice to have an iron delivered. While waiting, I tried the Wi-Fi code provided by the front desk. No go; had to call for a new one. When I finally started ironing, the old appliance started leaking water all over my clothes. Then I tried turning on the TV, but the remote wouldn't work. Had to call the desk yet again to have maintenance come change out the batteries. But of course, the phone to talk to the front desk was so scratchy I could barely communicate. They apologized (again) and responded within a reasonable time. The next morning when trying to shower, the handheld sprayer wouldn't stay in its mount and sprayed all over the bathroom a couple times. Another discussion with the front desk, and another apology. Maintenance checked it out and decided it couldn't be repaired, so I was moved to room #3.

I came away from that stay promising to never stay at that property again. And the brand of that hotel was definitely tarnished in my mind.

So I had a bad stay, you say. What's that got to do with anything? Sure, it happens to everyone. But as I was heading to work that morning, it dawned on me how my experience was EXACTLY like the experiences we have digitally so often. Every time I had a problem at the hotel, they responded to the issue (sometimes with additional prodding). And they sometimes even apologized for the inconvenience. Find a problem, fix a problem. But during my stay, no one was watching my overall experience, which was terrible. Had someone watched to see that I had over a half-dozen distinct issues (and that I was a gold member), it would have made obvious sense to address the problem more holistically. After all, I have a significant spend at those hotels and my experience was far from five stars. It's not hard to focus my business elsewhere.

User Experience vs User Journey

As you manage your customers' online experiences, you already know conceptually how important it is to maintain a high-quality experience. And you likely have good programs in place to respond to problems when they occur. You monitor for red operational lights and then you work to turn them green. You may even offer a premium level of service by reaching out to your customers to apologize when things go bad. But if you're not watching the users' journeys — that is, the collective interactions and the impressions they leave — to accurately interpret whether they leave “happy or sad,” then you may well be missing the mark. Journeys help you determine whether users easily accomplished their main reason for using your app or site.

As you mature into monitoring your users' journeys and not just their individual experiences, you'll build a powerful dataset that can be used to partner with the business in new and innovative ways. As a monitoring professional, you'll find your career opportunities open because you'll be providing insights as to how your users are behaving and how (perhaps subtle) changes to the underlying apps and infrastructure leave them with an overall improved (or disappointing) brand impression.

Ask yourself whether you're on the path to really embrace your users' journeys. Are you building a practice that is looking beyond SLA's and single-page issues? CA App Experience Analytics is powered by market-leading analytics to help you interpret user journeys--on both mobile and web apps--beyond their experience on a single page, so you can build a five-star journey experience to protect your brand.

To learn more, check out the white paper, The Science Behind Five-Star Mobile Applications or try the product yourself free for 30 days.

Chris Kline is VP DevOps Strategy at CA Technologies
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