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Design: Segmenting your customers by experience

This is part 3 of a 5 part series on Design.

There are a large number of ways to segment your customers to better understand your business via important metrics like CAC and LTV (see our series on Segmentation). For design, the characteristics you typically use for such segmentation are less important than how they use your product. Ideally you want to segment customers by their experience, but how?

Similar to Lifecycle Analysis, to do effective Experience Segmentation you need to look at the actions customers take when using your product. If you can identify important sequences of actions that represent specific usage patterns, those become your segmentation criteria as you can group customers who follow those same patterns.

As an example, let us consider a fictional GPS driving navigation app. Below is the usage patterns of five different customers over the course of a single day:

Examples of different customer experience profiles

There are some common segments we can discern from these usage patterns, knowing nothing else about the customer:

  • Segment 1: Commuters. Customers 1 & 4 use the app only twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. They are likely commuting to and from their office, perhaps trying to avoid traffic.
  • Segment 2: Transportation. Customers 2 & 3 are using the app constantly, indicating that they drive for a living. They might be doing deliveries or giving people rides.
  • Segment 3: Food Delivery. Customer 5 only uses the application in the evening, but uses it often during that time. This might be a pizza delivery driver.

Obviously, the user experience is radically different for all of these segments and the design problems you need to solve to make them happy are very different. By creating Experience Segments in this way you can isolate those design problems and focus on the distinct needs of these different types of customers.

While it is a simple matter of mathematics to identify customers with similar usage patterns, it can be hard to understand why those patterns exist. The only real way to find out is to talk to those customers about why they use your product the way they do. Luckily, since you’ve already done your Experience Segmentation you only need to talk to a few customers from each segment to understand that segment’s usage.

Quote of the Day: “Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.” ― John Keats