We're living in a world today where consumers are facing difficult choices. The normal day to day decisions about a service or product have been replaced with looming concerns about COVID-19, the economy and the future. During this time, companies that focus on experience are standing out and continuing to engage, amid the chaos. Experience matters more than ever and can differentiate you from the competition, gaining coveted business even in our current environment.
We are really excited about the prediction that thoughtfulness is in!
As Forbes suggests, the big push in 2020 will be for thoughtfulness. This is especially true in light of COVID-19. "Customers want to build relationships and emotional connections and will respond to brands that show interest in them and their feelings and then follow that up with a consistent, technology-driven experience." Feelings happen when you build relationships and experience a moment or series of moments together. We believe it's time to create a world where people, both your customers and employees, receive the experience they deserve. We believe in "thinking in moments," creating meaning that leads to producing impressions and memories that will last a lifetime.
A culture of thoughtfulness isn't something that happens by accident. Companies must start by creating a strategy that includes intentionality for having a customer-centric mindset. A philosophy where consumer obsession and a dedication to team experience is evident. An endless number of team members and leaders that continually look for ways to provide the best service and solutions for customers. And if this isn't already a part of your culture, today is the best time to start.
To ensure employees at every level know how their work impacts customers and the overall goals of the company, a systemized experience leadership development focus is critical.
Services Over Products
Success comes from the service that surrounds the products instead of the actual products themselves. This concept is best explained by Joseph Pine, co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP.
According to Joseph, we saw a fundamental change in our economy from agrarian, based on commodities, to an industrial economy based on goods. And today, our economy is built on services.
As goods and services were commoditized, the goods and services themselves were no longer enough. Price was the only distinguishing factor and with the explosion of the internet, the price can almost always be beaten by someone else. Joseph proposes what we believe at Experience First, that we're now shifting into an experience economy. He shares that "staging experiences for your customers" provides a distinct economic offering.
The innovation of the future isn't focused exclusively on changing the product, but on changing the experience around it. This doesn't mean merely a frictionless exchange or interaction with your team and product. Providing an average experience isn't enough. Developing and implementing a process to deliver brand signature moments that are memorable creates your unique selling proposition. It's not about in and out convenience but giving a reason for your customers to spend their time, and money, with you. Be that brand that customers obsess about it and employees wish they worked for!
Brands have numerous options when it comes to competing on experience, including creating experiential concept immersions or stores, teaching customers, providing personalized service, giving back and building a relationship with your community and much more.
The Experience First X1 Framework™ is a proven approach to help organizations shift from a product or service delivery focus to a customer and employee experience focus. The core experience disciplines of mindset, method and momentum and set of signature experience design principles are the keys to successfully developing and implementing an experience plan.
The right blueprint takes an organization through the customer orchestration process, which requires an understanding of what your customers currently experience when interacting with your company. This requires a deeper level of understanding of how your customers engage and what they experience from every organizational level or department. Inconsistent interactions are just as damaging as bad ones, which can be a challenge for many companies that have siloed divisions.
Once the members of your organization, starting with leadership, begin to shift their mindset, customer journey orchestration and experience staging can be developed. This step converts the abstract ideas and goals into a methodology that can be integrated with existing culture and fundamentals. This proven method increases the likelihood of success to completely reengineer the delivery of your products and services and create new, memorable customer experiences for the long-term. To read more about our X1 Framework™, click here.
Culture is Now Number One Over Customers
Customer experience doesn't come without an internal examination. We know from our work with clients that external success has to start with a focus on employees first. Companies that are concentrating on creating a healthy culture and making the sift from engagement to employee experience are more consistently seeing the realization of overall experience goals.
Here are just a few examples of recently recognized companies and the areas they've focused on to improve their employee experiences.
Netflix - Netflix starts the culture experience from day one, by ensuring new employees are feel appreciated by welcoming them to their new job with a desk and laptop that's already in place and set up before they arrive. They're assigned a mentor to help navigate their new role and immediately placed on projects that are significant. This naturally instills feelings of value and support. The CEO also meets with recruits, and an orientation led by executives is provided in their first quarter. At this meeting, new hires gain insight from leadership on Netflix technology and future direction.
HubSpot - HubSpot has been recognized for its focus on empowerment and leadership development. The company invests in the importance of communication by providing training on real-life issues like unconscious bias and how to receive feedback. But it also created a mini-MBA training with an opportunity for employees to go through an intensive one-week experience and learn from executives, Harvard Business School professors and more.
Beyond training opportunities, company leadership spends time learning from companies that are excelling in the areas of culture and has developed teams focused on diversity, belonging and inclusion. Employees have the opportunity to share their feelings on the organization and be heard. While many companies might fear this type of feedback, it's evident that the initiatives HubSpot has put in place are creating positive employee experiences.
Weave HQ - Weave HQ is a fast growing company because of their strong focus on their employess. Forbes recently included them on its Best Workplaces list, as did Glassdoor. In addition to existing recognition programs, the company announced a coaching initiative focused on nurturing mental health and professional development. A cursory review of online employee feedback reveals positive reviews almost exclusively, of the company, leadership and culture. One team member at Weave HQ said it best “Good team, good vibes, good learning”
The experience economy is here. Companies will not only survive, but thrive in the future by being early adopters utilizing our proven method to design unique brand signature moments around the needs of their customers and team members.
To learn more about the X1 Framework™ or to schedule an appointment, click here.