The impressions made on a customer, whether the business provides products, services or environments, are largely based upon the experience. We have expectations. We should be waited on, greeted, our call should be returned, the product shouldn’t break, the facilities should be clean, the food good and hot.  We’re the customer. Right?

In their recent book, Subject To Change: Creating Great Products & Services for an Uncertain World, Merholz, Wilkens, Schauer, and Verba of Adaptive Path, suggest the experiences are based on six distinctly human qualities:

1. Motivations: Why they are engaged with your offering.
2. Expectations: Preconceptions they bring to know how some things work.
3. Perceptions: The ways in which your offerings affects their senses (see, hear, touch, smell, taste).
4. Abilities: How they are able to cognitively and physically interact with your offering.
5. Flow: How they engage with your offering over time.
6. Culture: The framework of codes (manners, language, rituals, behaviors, norms and systems of belief within which the person operates.

“When someone says they’ve had a good or bad experience, what they’re talking about is how a product, service or environment did or didn’t satisfactorily address these qualities.”

The authors suggest that what matters most to customers is the experience they have with your firm, and for that reason you should have an “Experience Strategy.”

The strategy begins with the customer, and should reflect the experience you hope they will have, and the ways in which you plan to provide a desirable experience helping people accomplish what they want to get done.

Not only will this inspiring book make you think about the ways in which your customer’s experience your firm, but also the ones you encounter everyday, as a consumer. The book will help you assess experiences with these guidelines; ones which:

  • truly differentiate themselves
  • ask what matters most to customers
  • should be invested in and managed
  • can be cultivated and nurtured

As the authors write, “Understanding the strategic value of listening to the customer’s perspective is jut the beginning…we must understand people as they are rather than as market segments or demographics…understanding customers is not the responsibility of only research and design but the organization as a whole.”

What’s your experience strategy? Does it need an overhaul?