Decision Times and When to Pull the Trigger


In brief: automate everything, except strategy. Your focus should be helping people make better decisions. And faster is relative to what and why.

As more of our experiences and interactions with services and brands move online through browsers and applications we become familiar with the issue of latency. Yes, we do want sites to load up quickly so we can get things done. However, as users we also have delight in the novelty of serendipity.

Chief Martech Scott Brinker has a great diagram [shown above] that illustrates the mental trade off between expected and delighted. Like in all relationships, it's a moving line that should adapt to people's behavioral triggers: their motivations, intent, and tasks they want to get done, at each stage.

Insert here the conversation around promises made and promises kept and you now have guideposts to help you fine tune the business rules to serve up the right kind of information at the right time — so you can keep an eye on how you're doing in closing that gap. 

Latency is about reaction time

The time that elapses between a stimulus and the response to it.


Business intelligence/data warehousing industry analyst Richard Hackathorn
uses the concept of the value-time curve. [hat tip Marshall Kirkpatrick] Automating data capture,
analysis, and scoring based on smart, predetermined business rules gets you
from business event to action taken faster.

However, when to pull the trigger on the action is a matter of consequence. So while you may want to automate the model, you still want to put some thought into understanding value thresholds for users.

When we build apps and Web experiences, we want to focus our efforts
on design that is both appropriate for users and valuable for the
. At the most basic level, we explore what people want to do and
how we can help them accomplish it simply.

Make an application
that skips too many steps or automates too much, and you create the
impression the user is not in control. The best experiences help
focus us on making better decisions, they don't take the decision-making away entirely.

Beta users and customer feedback are very powerful tools for helping you fine tune site performance and app features. In my experience, users are much faster in hacking experiences to make them work better for them — and sometimes they will surprise you on what "better" means.

When to pull the trigger

Companies decision times are based on culture, which is the one thing you cannot really automate. Data capture and information availability increasingly play a significant role in helping bring even the most conservative organizations up to decision speed.

Often, it is a matter of running the right query set on what you measure — and value. For example, as shared at D11 the three key metrics Apple CEO Tim Cook tracks to understand whether they are shipping the best
possible products, and customers are happy

  1. sheer usage
  2. customer satisfaction
  3. eCommerce transactions

More user action, greater business value. For a more in depth analysis, you can count on Horace Dediu of Asymco.


[images credit Scott Brinker, JD on EDM]


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover
the value of promises and its effect on relationships and
. She is also frequent speaker at
conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her to speak click here.