Creating Better Experiences

No matter what you do for work, delivering a high quality experience to your customer is part of your job.

This isn’t a new idea, it has been talked about a lot by a lot of people, but it is easy to forget because you need to focus on the end result you are delivering.  But you can’t get lost in it because your customers experience of that end result is going to be radically different based on the journey they took to get there.

The classic example of this is Starbucks. While most big coffee chains were delivering a affordable cup of coffee and focusing on the product, Starbucks made it an experience. They created better service, a better enviroment, more consistency, and an ascetically pleasing experience. Improving the experience of drinking a cup of coffee actually makes the cup of coffee more valuable.

Choice

If you walked in the door at Starbucks and they handed you a latte and said “Have a nice day” you probably wouldn’t feel good about it even if you like lattes. You like to take the time to think and decide what it is you truly want. Sometimes when you have a very specific offering.

When you are delivering a service, the first class level of excellence is delivering a highly curated choice, and using your expertise to guide your customer to a decision that will make them happy in a way that does not reduce their experience of agency over the situation.

Environmental Details

Starbucks is a coffee company, but they put great effort into designing cafes that are comfortable, good for work and socializing, that are ascetically pleasing. They realize that it is not just the coffee you are paying for, but the whole experience of it.

The chair you are sitting in while you are drinking the coffee is part of the service they are providing. Obviously you have limited attention and resources and need to focus on the critical details. Having nice chairs, but shitty coffee won’t work. But it is important to understand the experience trade off’s you are making.

Investing in the details that are somewhat unrelated to the core offering, but change the experience can create a lot more than marginal improvements to the core product. Investing $50,000 in top of the line espresso machines that take your coffee from 9/10 to 9.5/10 is probably not going to make your customers more happy than spending $50,000 on chairs that take seated comfort from 5/10 to 8/10.

Understanding/Empathy

This builds on the environment and details and is a crucial part of the experience you give to your customer. There is a great expression that I first heard from Gabor Mate; that doctors see patients for disease, and patients see doctors for anxiety. This is true in lots of professions, but we overlook it.

Lots of customers are buying a service for anxiety. They FEEL uncomfortable about a current state are are looking to your solution to ease that feeling. You as the service provider have a specific focus on what you are providing your customer, but a lot of time what your customer is looking for (at the base level) is to feel better. If they are anxious about the project the whole time it is ongoing, no matter how good the final result, they will question using you again. If you ease their fears and make them feel comfortable, heard, and understood throughout the project, they will feel good about it even if the end result could have been better.

For more about creating an exceptional experience check out this video by Dan Sullivan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMCgkOIyqqg

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