What's your EXPERIENCE?
One of the new buzzwords is the "Experience
Economy," but what, in effect, does it really mean and how
does it apply to your business?
Think About This
If you have a terrible experience at
a store, what do you do? If you're like most people, you not only
vow not to patronize that business again, but you probably tell
several of your friends, family members and colleagues about your
On the flip side, if you have a great
experience, you build an affinity for the business and may become
a raving fan or advocate, encouraging others to patronize that business.
The Experience Economy
So we know why good experiences are
good for business, but the Experience Economy goes much further
than that. This notion pushes the concept of customers being involved
IN your business, blurring the line between customer and collaborator.
I don't believe it's the "next big thing,"
but I do think it's here to stay. So many people are tired of being
marketed "to" and want more say in what they buy and how
they buy it. The "experience" is here to stay.
It's so funny that this is even part
of our lexicon now, because "the experience" was what
this country's communities were built upon. Think about your old
corner store. Think about your barber shop or your community coffee
house. You see, the entire community experience used to be like
the infamous TV show "Cheers," where everybody knew your
name. People had connections - maybe not with products, but with
the people who sold them products.
Why is this important NOW?
Why is it different today? Blame the
Wal-Marts and huge franchises of the world. Now, before you shoot
me off an email, you should know that I'm not opposed to franchises
or large chains - it's a necessity of business in a competitve market
to streamline operations, develop economies of scale, and generally
create systemized business processes so you can sustain the business.
What ISN'T necessary is to lose the human touch. That's where they've
got it all wrong - even those who purport to "greet" you
at the door. Do you think most "greeters" really care
that you're there? Do they remember your name? (I know SOME do,
but as institutions, it's obvious that corporations care more about
short-term profits than creating a customer for life - and that's
what's at the core of the Experience Economy.)
Connection is Key
We crave connection. We crave positive experiences
in this hyper-connected cyber world where people are losing the
And since we're losing that human touch,
we're looking for more "experiences," which push further
into the value chain of an enterprise. Adapt to the "experience
economy" or become a commodity where everything you do is based
on price, rather than value.
What to Expect
Here's what you can expect in the near
future: customers will want more say in how you develop products,
but not only that, they will want connection with communities of
like-minded customers. Customers will influence EVERY aspect of
your operation, from how they are greeted, to how they are treated,
to how you deliver any product or service. Look for ways to include
your customers now or be warned - they'll find a place where they
can INFLUENCE the experience.
From this point on, find ways
to INCLUDE your customers in your business more - they'll surprise
1.) Banish the "sacred
cows" such as,
"that's our policy," or "that's just the way we do
things" from your vocabulary and from your employees' vocabulary.
If a customer has a complaint, asks a questions or makes a suggestion
LISTEN! Ask them reasons why and think about how it could help your
business. Better yet, start asking your customers what they'd like
to see improved, or different or new!
up your business to allow customers
input on things they care about. If you're not quite sure how, once
again, ASK. You'll be surprised how much information people will
give you if you simply ask. Don't get defensive if a customer suggests
something you don't like - it's their preference and they are absolutely
entitled to their opinion or preference - if you don't give them
an opportunity to express it, they'll do it with your competitors
or to their friends.
I'd love to know what
you think about this new "experience economy" and how
you plan to incorporate it into your business (hint: this is one
of your chances to influence mine!).
All my best,