Do you have companies you buy from or stores / places you visit, where they make spending money with them an enjoyable experience for you?
I’m sure you do, and this post will give you some of the reasons why you feel the way you do, when doing business with those rare providers, who “get it” when it comes to the business of business.
It will also give you some food for thought, about getting people to feel that way about spending money with you and your business.
The Apple experience
One of the best examples of the value of creating a great buying experience is The Apple Store. Your experience, from the moment you enter an Apple Store until you leave, is deliberately designed to appeal to Apple’s core target market. You will experience cleverly designed retail spaces, packed with beautifully designed products and staffed by people, who enjoy their job and love their products. This creates an overwhelmingly enjoyable and positive experience.
At a time when other computer retailers have gone broke or seen profits drop significantly, the Apple experience has helped Apple Inc post record-breaking profits. This, despite the recession and the fact that their products are often twice the price of PC-based alternatives.
The coffee experience
I was prompted to write this post, after going out for a coffee yesterday and seeing a wonderful example of the benefits of creating the right buying experience. There were 2 coffee shops within the same part of the shopping mall I visited. One was a Costa Coffee and the other an independent shop. I walked past the independent coffee shop and it was almost empty. However, Costa Coffee was full downstairs and almost full upstairs too.
I have used the independent coffee shop before (they make great smoothies) and their coffee is great. Their coffee is also slightly less expensive than Costa Coffee. However, their floorspace is over-filled with cold looking wooden tables and wooden chairs, which always makes it feel cramped. Costa Coffee has a mixture of wooden tables and chairs, along with big, soft sofa’s / couches and comfy chairs that almost hug you as you sit down. It looks and feels comfortable and welcoming.
What experience do you offer?
So, here’s the question: What kind of experience do you offer to your existing and prospective clients / customers?
Customer service is a key part of creating the right buying experience, (and developing a successful business in general), but it’s just one part of the experience. For example, the people standing outside the busy coffee shop had no idea how well they were going to be served and those who ignored the independent coffee shop also knew nothing about the service there either. In fact, the independent shop offers a much better level of service; especially if you have a young child with you as I often have, as they bring your order to your table!
The kind of positive, commercially valuable experience I’m talking about here, needs to penetrate your marketing, your delivery, your customer service, your design – everything. If those beautiful Apple Stores I mentioned earlier were full of ugly products or the customer service was poor, it wouldn’t have worked for them.
Your employees are also a massive part in this development of a buying experience. I bought my wife a new phone this Christmas and the lady that served me really did not want to be at work that day. How do I know? Because she told her colleague, when he asked her why she was so miserable looking!
When we look at improving business, I believe we need to look at the whole business – everything. We need to ensure that every element of our offering is consistent with creating the best buying experience possible.
What’s your take on this?
What do you think are the most overlooked areas, which let businesses down? What tips or ideas do you have, for people who want to create a better buying experience for their clients or customers? Which companies do you think offer the best buying experiences and why?
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