If you go back in time, through the annals of human history, in our earthly experience we started as an agrarian economy. We planted, harvested, and sold items that came from the earth and profit was based on market value. Up until the industrial revolution, the agrarian economy persisted for thousands of years
Then, during the industrial revolution, we started to package and process our goods from the earth to offer something of more value and get a higher price. Soon, that led to the service economy where we offered specific services to elicit an even higher price from our target consumers. For instance, a customer might contact a travel agent to plan a dream vacation. But, when was the last time anyone worked with a travel agent in the age of Expedia, Airbnb, and Kayak?
Today, customers seek emotionally-connective experiences with trusted organizations. Driven by the Internet boom, social networks, and digital transformation, consumer behavior has been rewired. Not to mention, attention spans are shrinking. And, now, the market is consumer-driven. Customers have a myriad of choices, right at their fingertips.
If your company isn't providing an experience worth their time, they will quickly hop over to your competitor. Furthermore, consumers are wary of branding and in-your-face marketing. Instead, they want evidence you are who you claim to be. Also, they want authenticity.
As a result, we have evolved into the experience economy. The term was first introduced by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in 1999. The modern consumer wants to feel like your brand is listening. They don't want the goods and services without the experience to make it that much sweeter.
As explained by the Harvard Business Review, the experience economy is where "a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event." You see, it's not just about your product or your service - it's about the overall experience.
So, now, your organization is competing with every other organization in terms of experiences. Instead of asking "who" or "what," you must start asking "why." When your company can provide a personalized solution, tailored to your customer's needs, and wants right when they want it then you will have offered up a successful experience. Yet, why should your company care? Keep reading to learn more.
Can You Offer an Inherent Value?
In 2020, the customer experience is expected to overtake cost and brand as the most significant brand differentiator. It's important to note that your customer experience does not need to be earth-shattering. It just needs to make sense for your target audience. We are a digital society, and our devices blend our personal and professional lives seamlessly. So, consumers want something different - something that can offer a connected experience or even memorable micro-moments. This is truly an outside-in approach to do business where you put the customer's needs and wants first. Furthermore, they don't want to wait around - they need this in real-time.
To provide the right experiences, you must understand your customer's interests, obstacles, challenges, and needs. The experience needs to be crafted to the recipient; it's not just about saving time as much as it refers to time well spent.
Due to mobile technologies, customers don't need to put in as much effort. It's less about what you do, and more about why you do it. You want to translate your company's unique attributes into compelling experiences.
It's time to rethink business models to remain competitive in the digital economy. Think about how your business can use customer data to improve their overall experience.
Astonishingly, U.S. businesses lose an estimated $75 billion each year due to poor customer experience. To improve your company's competitive edge in the experience economy, you need to have direct relationships with your customers. Send two-way messages, and invite them to become participants. Contemporary consumers have more options than ever before.
You must find an effective solution regarding how to secure data of customers in the experience economy. Now, measure the data of every interaction a customer has with your company. This is called experience management. With the information you receive, your organization can create "heroic moments," such as offering something extra special to a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. In this regard, your company isn't just a machine - it can enable a "human to human" experience.
Learn the Rules and Change the Game
If this seems difficult, consider this: The experience economy gives consumers enhanced flexibility in terms of the goods they use. All your company needs to do is identify products, services, and operating models which can better serve your target customer. Take a look at how Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix changed media. Another example is the impact of Uber and Lyft on transportation.
Nonetheless, you don't have to be a start-up to change your industry. By simply utilizing new business models, you can position your company more uniquely among customers and also acquire new consumers in the process. It will also help to diversify your business and allow your organization to compete based on value over price.
To ensure personalized customer experience, you need to leverage operational and experience data. Put it this way, your company won't know how to change until you comprehend what your customers want to change. Base your adjustments on experience data. Then, build a personalized product - or service- that garners customer loyalty.
There is much food for thought in this experience economy discussion. But, the one main takeaway is this: If you want to be successful in the experience economy, your company needs to give your customers what they want. What else do you have to offer your customer, besides your goods and your services? Can you fulfill a need they didn't have to ask about? If so, you will attract enviable loyalty from your customers who will then be quite eager to share their experiences with others.