Measuring the customer experience
The most important things I’ve learned from this course are the methods for researching customer satisfaction in as objective a manner as possible. As the course progressed, I felt more and more comfortable with our three primary methods – mystery shop evaluation, peak experience interviews, and social media monitoring. I know that there are many ways to go about measuring customer experience satisfaction and I find it oddly satisfying that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Instead, each component of the tour required specific considerations and I appreciated that our approaches changed as we experimented with new ideas such as additional components in the mystery shop or methods of organizing our social media data.
Objective methods aren’t the only methods
I found the emotional journey method a very interesting component of this course. Although we attempted to develop objective approaches to evaluating customer satisfaction, sometimes feelings just don’t match up with the numbers. When we compiled our performance scores and emotional scores, we found a distinct difference between the two customer journey maps. I am looking forward to taking a closer look at this data and brainstorming potential reasons for the seemingly different results.
Tell a story
Travel, and packaged group travel in particular, is about conveying a particular story to the travelers. The story ties together seemingly separate parts of the journey and creates a cohesive and memorable experience. As we prepare the final paper, I am hoping to delve further into the story that this trip tells and see how our data can be used to make decisions which strengthen that story. “Tell a story” is also a reminder to us that we really need to step back from the data and look at the big picture in our paper. What are we trying to accomplish with our research?
Bonus: Pura Vida
The three topics above are my biggest takeaways from the course, but I can’t conclude this blog post without discussing my biggest takeaway from Costa Rica. “Pura vida,” or “pure life” embodies everything about Costa Rica and this phrase truly shaped our experience. I’ve pushed my boundaries on this trip and enjoyed every moment of the adventure. Here at the end of my graduate school program, I needed a dose of pura vida to remind me that there’s a whole world outside of the classroom to explore. Thank you for an incredible experience!