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Customer Experience Cycle Analysis is a simple and pragmatic tool for generating ideas. Focused on the use of the product, it is in his interest to be customer-centric.


The customer experience cycle analysis is to study the product on “ the entire customer experience cycle “. This experience starts from the moment when the customer becomes aware of the product, until the destruction of the product through its purchase, its use…

Studying all these product / customer interactions helps to bring out a large number of ideas. This will allow “to explore complementary products and services »1 et de « create the need »2.

Definition of experience

The cycle of experience begins with the search for the means likely to answer a need, expressed in the form of “ problem of use “: “ seeks to break through my wall, but I want something to avoid messing up. ” The person will search for a product / service and make a choice. Once the choice is made, follows the different phases of the life of a product that we detail below according to the following diagram.

1. Sale

The bill of sale is the first phase of the product / customer interaction. This begins as soon as the product is exposed to the customer. This exhibition can be both on supermarket shelves and on TV commercials. The challenge is to identify the keys that will trigger the act of purchase. To help us, we will answer the following questions :

  • How long does it take to find the product ?
  • Is the place of purchase attractive and accessible?
  • Is the transaction in a secure environment ?
  • How fast can this purchase be made?
  • What is the delivery time ?

2. Preparation

The preparation phase sees all the steps necessary for the customer to start using the product. We find the unpacking, editing and reading instructions.

The IKEA case is very interesting. Through an in-depth study of this preparation phase, they have been able to design the most limited possible packaging as well as easy-to-assemble products with clear and visual instructions. This allowed them to reduce costs and empower the customer.

We find the following lines of thought :

  • Is the packaging strong enough to prevent the product from getting damaged?
  • Is the packaging compact to keep shipping costs down?
  • Is the product intuitive enough ?
  • Is the notice needed, in what language, what format … ?
  • Can the start-up benefit from training delivered by our services ?

3. Use

The challenge is to study all planned and unplanned uses. Typically, a screwdriver is used to screw, but in some cases can be used as a hammer, to mix the seal of paint … For a robust design, it is necessary to envisage this type of uses which generate problems of reliability of the product.

In the same way, we must study the different complementary products or functions to improve the performance of a product. The Apple case is an example. By launching ITunes, they have been able to develop a whole range of products, generating value and new market shares: IPod, IPod accessories, music sales…

We can use the following questions :

  • Is the product easy to store It folds ?
  • Is external maintenance needed ?
  • Is it easy to wash ?
  • Can it be moved easily ?

4. End of life

Last phase related to the client: elimination. Reflection is on the difficulty of dismantling the product, recycling it or finding a suitable place to destroy it. We can also think here about the replacement of the product.

The method

1. Identify the problems of use

First step, identifying the problems of use. Without answering any problem, a product or service does not exist. Through the analysis of the customer experience cycle, we identify all the issues.

For this step, we must put ourselves in the customer’s shoes. It is necessary to put in situation, with products existing and test the product in group. It is a plus to involve customers. They are the ones who can define the use of the product in relation to their needs.

2. Develop innovative concepts

Always in group, starting from the identified problems of use, one will look for one or more concepts which make it possible to solve them. To resume the previous example, we can imagine a pouch that we will put around the drill bit and that will recover the dust.

During these workshops, we can call on designers. They will have the task of drawing or making a prototype live. This will facilitate communication and the emergence of ideas.

3. Document innovative concepts

Once the different concepts are drawn, the job is to build a first prototype. The project manager will build documentation to help with the choice. This documentation will contain:

  • The importance of the problem with the market
  • The cost price of the product
  • The difficulty level of development
  • Technological issues
  • The full range of the product
  • Competitive issues
  • A concept assessment of the 6 5 utility levers and the customer experience cycle. We will have a visual map of the positioning and advantages of the product.

Source : J. Geterud, S. Tegern (2012) – Business model innovation

Definition according to “la blue ocean strategy1 :

  • Blue circles: They define an innovative positioning 
  • Red circles: They define a normal position

4. Choice of concept

Last step of the usage analysis, the choice of the concept. This choice will be made according to internal criteria of feasibility and profitability. For this choice, the use analysis is useful for having identified pragmatic solutions to meet the real needs of users.

The 6 levers of utility

For each stage of the cycle of experiments, we will use the 6 levers of utility to bring out ideas 5

The performance

It represents the level of performance of the product vis-à-vis the primary features of the product. Does the product help the customer to do something faster, better, or differently ?


Simplicity is the satisfaction of the customer in using the product in a simple and intuitive way. To help us, this search for intuitiveness will be done using the following micro-functions

    • Perception – understanding to see, hear, feel, feel for, recognize, detect, detect, be informed.
    • Reflection – decision  to integrate the perceived, compare to the known, to envisage a possibility, to elaborate alternatives, to weight choices, to instruct the action or decide not to act.
    • Operational action:  to maneuver, manipulate, apply effort, maintain position or action, command.
    • The control assessment to evaluate qualities, gauge quantities, judge the nature of the results obtained, monitor the progress, compare the results ‘discount, decide whether or not to react and correct, instruct the corrective action.
    • Correction – readjustment to modify the current action, to make the adjustment considered necessary, to order a correction, to measure the effort applied, change position, change pace, adjust a diet.
    • Switching  to stop, pause, pause, pause temporarily, wait, get ready to chain, leave on hold, leave outstanding.
  • For example, in the case of Ipod design, the criterion level for the “select music ” function was 3 clicks  This level of criterion, intuitively set by Steve JOBS, is simply the observation of the set of micro function perception – comprehension – reflection – decision.


    Comfort implies all the functions or specificities of an offer to be easy. By this means, the ease of obtaining the product or identifying how it will be destroyed. 


    By this we mean the notions of security with regard to the use of the product but also the security in the payment of the product, or in the reduction of the legal risk.


    The notion of brand images is becoming more and more important. It influences the act of purchase and many marketing strategies exist to improve the image of the products. Apple is a good example 6 .


    The environment must be taken into account in the study of a product. More and more brands highlight this point both on the recycling of the product, its energy consumption or materials used.


    1 – W. C. Kim, R. Mauborgne (2005) – Knowing a winning business idea when you see one

    2 – P. Millier (2005) – Stratégie et marketing de l’innovation technologique : lancer avec succès des produits qui n’existe pas encore

    3. M. Jullien (1978) – Le domaine de l’usage : relations objets/usagers/milieu

    4 – G. Dounes, M. Godeffroy (2005) – Ipod backstage

    5 – W. C. Kim, R. Mauborgne (2001) – Knowing a winning business idea when you see one

    6 – T. Culpan (2011) – Apple brand value at $153 billion overtakes Google for top spot

    J. Geterud, S. Tegern (2012) – Business model innovation

    W. C. Kim, R. Mauborgne (2010) – Blue ocean strategy tools, frameworks and methodology

    N. Islam, S. Ozcan (2012) – Innovation strategy : the case of portable digital music player

    C. K. Prahalad, V. Ramaswamy (2003) – The new frontier of experience innovation

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