Do you wonder why people flock to all-inclusive resorts and cruise lines, especially during these dark, cold months of the year? Sure, the idea of lying around being served mai tais by the water's edge is a good fantasy, but wouldn't most people rather plan out their own adventures instead of handing the planning over to someone else?
I've wondered myself, but I thought about it and it makes sense that people want that kind of vacation because they are promised a 360-degree, 24-hour service experience. We all have way too many obligations, meetings, errands, and appointments in our daily lives. What we want to do on vacation is have the details handled for us so we can relax.
People have a lot of resources, and they can go to a lot more potential places to get their goods and their services. It's essential to provide people a special, all-inclusive feeling when they deal with you, at least if you want them to come back.
You may not be offering drinks with umbrellas in them. You probably don't have a sandy beach available. But you can do the 360-degree thing and make clients and customers feel a whole lot more like they're being heard, catered to, even pampered.
It's what I always say: Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. That's how you create an experience people will appreciate and come back for.
I'm not the only one who thinks that this, in a nutshell, is what companies with Silicon Valley pedigrees mean when they talk about "surprise and delight," among other buzzwords. Companies like Uber, Apple, and Orangetheory Fitness have an app that makes it so easy, it's almost fun to shop or order services. When there is a brick-and-mortar business location, it's attractive and pleasant, and doesn't try to hand you sad little styrofoam cups of cold Mr. Coffee. Every aspect of the customer's interaction with them is carefully thought out to provide service, fulfillment, even joy.
A good "experience economy" business model is staffed with people who've been fully trained in communication skills. They seem happy you're there, don't argue with you, and clearly want you to be happy with your purchase or service. Beyond that, they're people who have been given the training they need to excel, have been listened to and respected, and love doing what they are doing.
I started thinking about the many ways to provide that 360-degree pampering and service in my own business--and, of course, yours. Why wait around for some Stanford computer science graduate to figure out a better way to do what you do? You can do that now.
None of that means you have to start all over, move to Palo Alto, and develop an app. There doesn't have to be yoga involved (unless you want it to be). But the start of a new year is an inviting time to think about what you're doing now. Are you too comfortable with the traditional ways you do things? Are your people?
Right here, right now, look at the physical layout of your business. Are people invited in or are your employees too complacent, too uncommunicative, or too rigid, making it hard to be your customer? Look at your web presence. In how many ways are you telling customers, "We want you here?" Can they chat online with a real person, send you direct messages on social media and get answers, or find a FAQ page that answers the real questions they may have? There's no excuse in 2020 for people to have trouble getting every part of their needs met smoothly and easily.
There's too much competition, and people have too many options, for you to be offering them the equivalent of "take it or leave it." If you want people to love what you do as much as you do, you need to show them the love right back. Achieving mutual trust, respect, and love in service of your customers: That's as good as an afternoon on a sandy beach anytime.