Experiences do not exist in a vacuum; they are consumed and evaluated by people. Which means there is no objective, external arbiter determining whether an experience is good or bad, easy or difficult, delightful or infuriating. The quality of any given experience is entirely within the eye of the beholder, and each beholder will judge the experience through a slightly different lens.
So if all experiences are personal, how can you go about determining whether a particular interaction is “good” or “bad?” Well, one valuable tool that every XM professional should have in their toolbox is an experience review – also sometimes called an “expert” or “scenario” review. This type of review allows an XM expert inside an organization to adopt the point of view of a target user and then walk through a specific interaction – like signing up for benefits or completing a purchase – in their shoes, analyzing the experience from their perspective.
XM Institute’s version of an experience review is called “SLICE-B.”
A SLICE-B review allows reviewers to quickly diagnose issues with an experience and identify opportunities for improvement. One of the benefits of a SLICE-B review is that it’s extremely flexible. You can use it to assess existing experiences, improve design prototypes, embed experience requirements into your processes, compare against your competitors’ interactions, or learn from interactions in other industries. All you need to do is adopt the perspective of your target user, and then evaluate the experience across its six component parts:
- Start. The extent to which a person is drawn into the experience. Here you evaluate whether the target user would know where to begin their journey and whether it’s obvious right away that they will be able to accomplish their goal. People are much more likely to stick with an experience – even if they find the journey frustrating – if they feel confident that they will ultimately be successful.
- Locate. The ease with which a person can find what they need. Here you look at whether it would be easy for the user to find what they need and whether all the information is available to them when and where they need it.
- Interact. The ease with which a person can understand and control their experience. Here you examine how difficult it would be for the target user to understand and control the experience through the given channel, whether that’s online, in-person, over the phone, on an app, etc.
- Complete. The confidence a person has that his or her goal has been accomplished. Here you check success – would the target user be able to fully accomplish every aspect of his or her goal? – as well as whether they receive clear feedback that they were successful, like an email confirmation, a receipt, or documentation.
- End. The transition into the future state of the relationship. Here you look at whether the user would know what to do next, such as tracking the delivery of a purchase or setting up a follow-up meeting with their manager. You also evaluate how the interaction would have made them feel, which is key as these emotions will affect their perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors towards the organization going forward.
- Brand Coherence. The reinforcement of an organization’s brand. Here you determine whether Brand Values were supported through the interaction and whether the branding elements were consistent across the experience. This category encompasses more than just visual elements like logos and colors. It also includes implicit and explicit brand promises, like that the organization is transparent with employees or convenient for customers.
So that’s where the acronym comes from: Start, Locate, Interact, Complete, End, Brand Coherence – SLICE-B. To help you conduct a SLICE-B experience review, XM Institute just published a new tool and training video that walks you through the entire process. This SLICE-B tool includes the SLICE-B assessment form, an observation worksheet, and supplementary materials to help you fill out each section of the assessment form. The training video, meanwhile, describes each of the four steps you follow to complete a SLICE-B review:
- Define the experience, goal, and relevant brand attributes
- Identify your target persona
- Conduct a SLICE-B review
- Prioritize areas of improvement
The bottom line: Use SLICE-B to find and eliminate bad experiences.
Isabelle Zdatny, CCXP, is an XM Catalyst with the Qualtrics XM Institute