“Experiences are inherently personal existing only in the mind of an individual who has been engaged on an emotional, physical, intellectual and even spiritual level.” ~ Joe Pine & Jim Gilmore, The Experience Economy
Many businesses today are intentionally designing and staging Experiences for their customers to engage in new, meaningful and lasting ways. It is no longer enough to strive for a long history of transactions – this may create repeated interaction with your people, brand or business, but is absent of the depth of connection, support and trust needed to create a lasting company-client relationship. True customer loyalty is forged between company and client when a business goes beyond the motions of customer satisfaction to staging personalized Experiences that “engage individuals in an emotional, physical, intellectual and even spiritual level.” People may not be able to always measure the quality of one business service compared to another, but an exceptional Experience leaves such an unshakable imprint on those who are immersed in them that lasting customer loyalty becomes the natural extension of a memorable Experience.
Yet designing and orchestrating exceptional Experiences is both a simple idea and a complicated undertaking. It is not just an amped-up version of customer services but a PROGRESSION and PERFORMANCE that has entirely new and different requirements. In our over 20 years of work in this field, we have found that by answering the six questions below the aspiration of world-class Experience Design can become a reality.
- What Orchestrating Element Will We Use to Connect All Aspects of The Experience? When you have a theme for the Experience, it ties all the operational activities together. It helps divide what’s in from what’s out. (Intentional)
- How Will We Efficiently Customize the Experience for Each Person? The Experience connects the themed activities of the company to the preferences, hopes, dreams and aspirations of each customer. This personalization helps create meaning for the customer and loyalty to the company. (Individual)
- How Will We Cohesively Expand the Experience Beyond the Four Walls of our Facilities? It utilizes the tools of technology (RFID, websites, call centers, even hospital televisions) and partnerships to expand the touch points. (Interactive)
- How Will We Interpret the Experience Through Physical Place Making? By connecting to the story structure of the Experience, not just the physical structure of the building, the mundane space transforms into memorable place. (Interpret)
- How Will We Make the Work a Cause? The Experience that starts in Intentional spreads to magic stories, powerful ceremonies, signature moments and rich traditions that go beyond the “what” and the “how” of traditional management to the emotion-laden “why.” (Inspirational)
- How Will We Vibrantly Teach In this New Way to Everyone? The Experience designed in Intentional, Individual, Interactive, Interpreted and Inspirational needs to be instilled as “the way” in the hearts and minds of all employees. (Institute)
With these questions answered, a quality of relationship is forged between client and company that changes not only the business, but all the individuals involved because Experiences engage us in a PERSONAL and PASSIONATE way. A deep sense of connection, support, and trust is created and the work changes from being generally transactional to personally transformational. The end result of all of this Experience work is a uniting of head and heart and the realization that our clients, company and our lives will never be the same.