“Customers are no longer buying products and services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services.” – Tweet This
Those are the words of Gregory Yankelovich, customer experience veteran and CEO of Customer Experience IQ.
As businesses around the world realize they are now competing in highly commoditized markets, we accept that a fresh approach to customer experience is upon us.
Your customers have taken full advantage of the digital world and are now savvier than ever. You no longer have complete power over them with your big-budget TV and radio advertising campaigns.
Social media gives them the power to spread information about products and service – one opinion can be seen by thousands of people across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other websites. Furthermore, customers have the power of choice. Powerful shopping engines give them information about the best products based on price and customer reviews.
With so many choices and so much information available to your customers, what’s going to convince them to buy from you?
The customer experience. This is the way to win over new prospects, keep existing clients and build a business that flourishes well into the future.
Don’t take my word for it. Let’s explore three companies that are selling experiences, not products and services.
1. Apple don’t sell computers or phones, they sell experiences
What makes someone buy an Apple product over a Microsoft product? Why is the iPhone the bestselling smart phone device?
Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why, suggests that Apple stands out from its competitors because it sells an attitude. They make products that are beautifully designed and user friendly.
“Apple is just a computer company. There’s nothing that distinguishes them structurally from any of their competitors,” says Simon. Anyone can sell computers, but Apple focuses on the experience that comes with buying an Apple product.
Think about it. Visiting an Apple store, opening up the product and its superior usability are all part of the experience.
David Lumley, lead software engineer at Client Heartbeat, loves the Apple experience. “Everything they do is high quality, from the manufacturing of the physical product through to the UI of the operating system,” he says.
What can we learn from Apple?
- Focus on being innovative with your customer experience.
- Strive to be different; don’t settle for the same experiences that you competitors are offering.
2. Disney World don’t sell theme park tickets, they sell experiences
There’s a reason why Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is the world’s most popular theme park. Disney focuses on creating an experience based around family entertainment.
The company considers the customer experience with everything they do. For example, their company overview reads, “The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise…”
Disney doesn’t tell their customers they sell theme park tickets or create animations. Instead, they recognize they’re in the family entertainment business and sell their customers the total experience.
What can we learn from Disney?
- Don’t focus on what you do; focus on why you do it.
- Make the customer experience a firm part of your business. Include parts of your customer experience strategy in your vision and company overview.
3. Amazon don’t sell products, they sell experiences
Amazon certainly isn’t the only online retailer. But how do you explain the gobsmacking fact that their sales are now higher than the combined sales of the next twelve biggest online retailers?
Simple. Amazon recognizes that to compete in today’s price-sensitive world, they need to create better customer experiences. In Amazon’s latest earnings release, CEO Jeff Bezo noted they were, “working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better.”
As CEO, Jeff leads from the front with the company’s vision. In recent years, Amazon rolled out their Amazon Prime program, which offers free two-day shipments to customers for $99 a year. This is unmatched by other retailers, adds value to the Amazon offering and makes it hard to justify buying from any other online retailer, let alone offline.
What can we learn from Amazon?
- Continually innovate and try to improve the customer experience.
- If your business model is heavily reliant on online transactions, the experience becomes harder to manage and even more important because you don’t have any face-to-face contact with your customer.
Start selling experiences
I challenge you to start thinking differently about the way you sell your products and services. Customers want more than a bare-bones offering. They want an experience that adds value and goes above and beyond their expectations.
Have you started selling experiences rather than products or services? We’d love to hear how you’ve done it in the comments below.
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