‘Experience’ to me in this context means the intimacy and value you deliver in exceeding the individual desires and needs of the other person.‘
This applies within business in our approach to the market, our customer engagement, our leadership style, and within the DNA of our cultural operating practices. Companies intending to be more relevant today must learn the art, behaviour and science of creating ‘experiences’ that genuinely engage markets, customers and people. We have seen the evolution of customer sales that have migrated from Commodities, to Products, to Services, to now more bespoke Services. The key challenge within each of these customer offerings is that they involve some sort of customer sacrifice. Choice-fatigued consumers, who are frustrated with having to make sacrifices, are not looking for another product or service that hasn't taken their true needs and desires into consideration.
They are looking for companies that are credible, trustworthy and who understand the values of intimacy, emotional connectivity and individual engagement. They are looking for companies in which to believe and give their allegiance. They are looking for ‘experiences’ that cater to their deep-seated desires. As we look to innovation to resolve or solve some of the harsh business realities of today, I suggest there are three areas of innovation we need to focus on: technology, product, and ‘experiences’. For this article I will stay with ‘Experience’.
If we want to truly transform our businesses we must start that ‘experience’ each and every moment (yes moment) a person has an interaction with us as a business, as a leader and as an individual employee. This ‘experience’ touch point has the highest value to customers and to employees because it has deep personal meaning. Let us look at what we mean by meaning in our World of Work!
Customer connectivity— In our Sales engagement we have to look beyond offering customers products and services to first building credible, trusting and intimate relationships. Secondly we have to truly understand and satisfy their needs and unfulfilled desires and give them an emotional experience that is positive, enlightening and changes their personal world of work!
Leadership—Our People engagement cannot be just about value driven connectivity, authenticity, diversity, and trust. These must be the platforms on which we build for the future. We now need to live transparency with a mind-set of active equal status participation in employee engagement that allows freedom, decision making, innovation, and passion to grow unabashed!
Culture—To me these are the sets of beliefs, values, and norms, together with symbols like dramatised events and personalities that represent the DNA of the business. These are the unique character of an organisation which provides the context for action in it and by it. Our culture must have the enabling ‘Experience’ led DNA with the energy, knowledge, capability and motivation to make each and every connection a transformational 360 experience.
Remember, customers don’t interact with an organisation. They interact with an individual or a product or service. It is how we shape that ‘experience’ with meaning that will determine whether it’s a memorable ‘experience’, which leads to a positive story. The winning formula for consumer and employee engagement is storytelling. It sounds simple, but we only need to look back through history to see the impact that stories have had on shaping our lives: how we live them, why we live them and what it means to be human.‘Experiences’ result in stories (good or bad).
For a business to appeal to its market, consumers and employees, and build an emotional engagement, every interaction must tell a story, one that draws us in, broadens our horizons and delivers added value to our lives. This leads to the emotional type of customer and employee loyalty that is just invaluable to our business. Competing in the market today demands innovative, emotional engagements. Creating complete, 360-degree ‘experiences’ is the only way to be relevant and visible in a glutted marketplace.