The “Story” Behind The Creation Of Customer Experience Labs, LLC

People have been asking us why we started this company and what we’re about, so here’s our story.

In 2004, we started working together on a regular basis – Jay on the inside (as the Director of the User Experience Research Team at Expedia) and Steve on the outside (as the innovative consultant and President of Customer Relevance). After pushing the research limits on many projects together, we started doing some unique hybrid research – for example, combining online usability testing with online focus groups and eye tracking in one project. Over the years from 2004 to 2008, we worked on many projects together. This lead to numerous sushi dinners at Ototo Sushi in Queen Anne where Jay convinced Steve to try shellfish previously deemed inedible at Ototo in Queen Anne.

Over the years we developed a strong bond as researchers interested in looking for a better way to do things. We realized we shared a unique vision not typically held in our discipline. We saw gaps in the field, and knew we could fill them with fresh approaches that would add value for our clients.

In 2008, Jay had to take a medical leave from Expedia to have surgery on his jaw. If you’re the type of person that pauses to look at traffic accidents, then you might enjoy the gruesome pictures here – **warning – blood, guts and more** As his longer than expected recovery dragged on and he neared the time he was scheduled to return to work, he decided it was time to leave his 7+ year stint at Expedia and spend more time with his father who was experiencing health problems.

After some time off, we met up in San Diego to discuss building a future company together and subsequently decided to join forces to build a new company that would focus on providing the highest quality consumer research services available. The mission was clear – to deliver deeper customer insights, more accurate research, and add greater value for our clients.

The end result is Customer Experience Labs – a customer experience consulting and research firm we formally launched in June 2009. Sabrina and Gretchen are seasoned consultants working with us on the Customer Experience Labs Team and we expect our team to grow larger next year.  Our new company offers a wide range of services, including  eye tracking, usability testing, focus groups plus some things that are unique to the industry. We also have a next generation research platform that allows us to conduct web based research in the US as well as internationally.

Thanks for joining us on this journey – and we appreciate the many, many email replies from all of you plus the follow-up meetings we’ve already been having.

We don’t make “sales calls” and we don’t like to pester people, so if we can help you with anything, please let us know – you can use the contact form on our website.

Jay, Steve, Sabrina and Gretchen (aka the Team at Customer Experience Labs, LLC)

p.s. Please sign our Guestbook.

And if you find yourself wanting to become a fan of the site, you can just click the “join this site” button over to the right.

  • Awesome to see how the company came together. Love the concept.

  • Maggie

    Steve and Jay:
    Jay – dude, you have some amazing persuasion skills if you got Steve to try the Geoduck at Ototo! Congratulations on the new site and the new business. I wish you all the best and great success!
    -Maggie Duvall

  • Rock on! I wish you all the utmost success

  • Katherine

    That is a great story and am so glad I’ve gotten the chance to work with you all and looking forward to more studies!

  • Martin

    Thanks for sharing the story, great reading! Except for the jaw part. Best of luck!

  • Justin

    No one told me about the geoduck when I was there, but I assume it’s better than it looks! Congratulations again!

  • Tracy

    Congrats guys! I’ve seen your passion and expertise first hand and I’m confident that you will have great success with this business!

  • Roland Helfenstein

    Jay, good to see that you’re back. I wish you guys a successful start in your new endeavor!