Even when one is convinced that the future of marketing is customer experience, that there’s no customer experience without employee experience and that the whole approach has a sound economic value, pragmatism forces to realize that the stairway is long and the steps high.
No company becomes an experience company in one day expect if it’s experience born. I’ll elaborate more about the idea of experience company later since I surprised myself using the word more and more often, even unconsciously. Let’s say that it’s a business that manages its experience like a strategic asset and, so, uses experience as a business model framework. From my perspective it’s a good way to achieve its digital transformation because the concepts are very close and even melt sometimes.
No company becomes an experience company in one day
However, no matter how huge the work is, no one should be impressed or afraid. Changing everything in one day is illusory and the process follows a certain numver of steps that allow a business to grow its maturity.
1Â°) Experience as a marketing and communication artifice
At the beginning one must start from what exists. Products and processes that are not optimized for experience. Before changing the world (and convincing others that it’s worth), one needs quick wins.
So it’s logical and natural to start with communication and marketing to improve the existing without having the time and means to change what’s structuring.
Some may call it window-dressing but, in my opinion, that’s the fist indispensable step that helps to learn and get quick results.
Of course it’s only about looking good and it won’t hide deeper weaknesses for a long time. Hence the second step.
Be cautious : staying at this stage may be dangerous. It’s all about the promise, most of all the perceived promise. It the gap with reality is too big and grows, the tactic will become counterproductive.
Communication raises expectations without improving what’s delivered
2Â°) Experience through services
Changing anything in a product is not trivial, takes time and need investment. Such a decision must be made carefully and we’re too early in the process to do so at this stage.
On the other hand it’s possible to go deeper, beyond communication, by working on the service and the associated services. The service is the way the customer is treated, the services are value added offers that add to the original offer.
Here, the impact is bigger on the delivered value even if the core product does not change.
3Â°) Services integration
Subtle difference with the previous step, products and services are designed jointly. One step upward in the value chain. The product and the associated services are designed as a single and integrated offer. At this stage it’s possible to build synergies, new experiences and change the business model. In many case the product will become a service, its purpose will be to convey services ad experiences. At a certain point the product may even disappear from the financial equation, become free, because it’s the entry door for paying value added services which are the experience the customer is ready to pay for and even subscribe on the long term. What means recurring revenue.
This leads to the well know concept of product servicization
4Â°)Horizontally integrated experience
This stageÂ may happen simultaneously with the previous one or come just after. It’s a matter of maturity. Experience and experience delivery are designed jointly. It requires marketing, HR, IT (at least) to participate in the design process to align outputs with means.
Experience is the result of the product dissolving in the services
5Â°) Experience as a strategic asset
Experience becomes the business model and the value of both the company and the brand. It’s managed at the highest level and irrigates any enterprise process and methodology. It’s nothing more that formalizing the previous step with some new elements.
That’s when the question of valuing the enterprise experience will raise. But that’s only prospective at the time I’m writing.
When we see how much digital can contribute to that in a quick and scalable way (but not only, physical and digital must work together), when we understand that an experience company aligns internal operations with the promise made to the customer, we’re not that far from the definition of a business that has achieved its digital transformation.