How to Close the Experience Gap by Upleveling Your Digital Strategy

User give rating to service experience on online application for Customer review satisfaction feedback survey concept.

In order to retain customers, you need to deliver an exceptional user experience that meets their needs and expectations.

You don’t get many chances to get this right: almost one-third of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience.

To attract, excite, and retain customers, it’s crucial to close the experience gap.

Things to know about experience gaps:

  1. What is the Experience Gap?
  2. What Causes Experience Gaps?
  3. How to Close the Experience Gap

What is the experience gap?

The experience gap is the gap between the experience customers desire and expect from a brand and what the organization actually delivers. It occurs when a brand falls short of a customer’s expectations at any point in their user journey.

What Causes Experience Gaps?

Experience gaps stem from simply not gaining insight directly from your customers as they experience your digital product. Specific factors that cause experience gaps are:

  1. Lack of expertise
  2. Using the wrong technology
  3. Misunderstanding your customers
  4. Lack of feedback loops

Lack of expertise as an experience gap cause

Experience gaps often occur when your product designers lack the fundamental understanding of customer experience design principles.

The best products are created by individuals who are skilled in best-of-breed user experience techniques, understand the user flow of a digital technology, and know how to make an experience more targeted, more focused, and more connected to what the user actually wants.

If you do not have UX designers and product designers who are deeply familiar with best practices in UX, user flow, design, and development, your team will be challenged to build an experience that seamlessly meets your customers’ expectations.

Using the wrong technology as an experience gap cause

Experience gaps also occur when you use the wrong technology to fulfill your users’ needs. Perhaps you should be using a mobile app when you’re using a web interface. Furthermore, the web interface may not be very performant and interactive, creating a lag in the experience.

You want the technology your users interact with to be snappy, performant, and deliver an immediate experience. The current landscape of digital technology has raised the bar for performance. Users expect immediate response times.

If there is high latency between your customer’s interaction with your product and the resultant product response, they will be frustrated and end their customer journey. For example, 53% of visitors will abandon your mobile site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

To close the experience gap, your digital product needs to use the right technology and deliver high performance with an interface that is intuitive for users to interact with.

If there is high latency between your customer’s interaction with your product and the resultant product response, they will be frustrated and end their customer journey.

Misunderstanding your customers as an experience gap cause

An experience gap occurs when you fall short of your customers’ expectations for their user experience. This can easily happen when you don’t take the time to understand your customers.

To avoid any experience gaps, your team needs to conduct user research to determine your customers’ goals and desires, their needs and unmet needs. You can gather this information from a variety of sources:

  • Talk to prospective customers: What are their needs? What would the ideal product experience be?
  • Talk to customers who didn’t complete their user journey or transaction: Why did they drop off? What would they change about the brand, product, or experience?
  • Talk to customers who were loyal customers but have now left the brand: Why did they leave? What kind of experience would have kept them engaged and loyal?
  • Talk to happy customers: What did they like about their experience? What was especially delightful? What was unique that they loved?

Gaining a full understanding of your users will empower you with the knowledge of whether the experience you are delivering will meet their goals, needs, and expectations.

Lack of feedback loops as an experience gap cause

You cannot expect to pinpoint where experience gaps exist if you do not allow your users to provide you with feedback.

Feedback can come from your direct, continuous research or from other sources like social media, comment sections, complaint forms, and customer reviews. Establish effective feedback mechanisms so you can continually evolve and optimize your user experience.

How to Close the Experience Gap

There are several ways to close experience gaps, including engaging with technical experts, channeling effective feedback loops, conducting user research, mapping out customer journeys and performing competitive research.

  • Engage with technical experts: Make sure you have the right people on your team who are deeply knowledgeable in design and experience best practices, as well as best-of-breed technologies. It takes skilled experts to identify the right technologies, flows, and strategies to develop and refine your product to create an exceptional user experience.
  • Channel effective feedback loops: Allowing your users the opportunity to give feedback at every touchpoint will give you valuable insights to identify weaknesses and adapt accordingly.
  • Conduct user research: Asking what your users truly want and expect from their experience enables you to strategically craft the experience to meet (and exceed) those expectations. It also ensures you don’t invest your time, effort, and money developing a digital product that misses the mark.
  • Map out customer journeys: Map out the anticipated journey that begins before customers even touch the product and ends after they are done using it. Identify the experience and emotions associated with each step of the user’s journey and pinpoint weaknesses.
  • Perform competitive research: Learn how your brand’s competition interacts with their users to inform your own user experience. Identifying clear gaps where the competition is underperforming can also serve as an opportunity to differentiate your product experience.

How AIM Consulting Can Help You Close the Experience Gap

When your organization looks to bring its big ideas to life, it helps to turn to experts.

At AIM Consulting, our unique capabilities in product design, digital strategy, software engineering, data analytics, and agile delivery enable your company to tap into a distinctive set of capabilities that will deliver you a strong digital product with a delightful user experience – not just another app.

You Have Big Ideas, We Have Innovative Solutions

Delivering a user experience that delights your customers requires not only a clear strategy, with planning, design, development, and testing – but a combination of power and craft.