When it comes to building experiences, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Begin with who you are. The experience you create needs to an outgrowth of who you are. Are you the sleek European brand with a long tradition of racing or are you the solid, dependable domestic known for honest transportation?
- Decide what your customers really want from you. This may not be what you expect. Your product or service may be their excuse for coming, but what they are really seeking is status, security, reassurance, excitement or adventure.
- Talk to your customers. Confirm your initial thoughts about the type of experience they expect. Be specific and push for details. Also, be ready to be surprised.
- Involve a third party. There are times when businesses become customer or brand-deaf. They can no longer really hear what customers are saying. Involving a neutral third party can help.
- Begin with a camera. The easiest way to identify clues is visually. Hand out a bunch of throw-away cameras or set several employees loose with a hand-held video camera to film the place. As a group, examine the visuals. Ask yourself, “What doesn’t fit?” based on what customers really want from you.
- Eliminate the negative clues first. Negative clues are those take away from the customer experience because they do not align, they are unexpected, or they are unpleasant. Customers notice these even when you may not. Forget about providing customer “delights” if you haven’t taken care of the basics.
- Make everything align. Just because another store does something, does not mean that it is right for you. Long stem roses may fit in the showroom of the sleek European brand, but be out of place for the domestic. Perhaps a large bowl of candy or fruit would be more of a welcome to your customer.