Picture this: You need a new dishwasher, so you go to the nearest appliance store to buy one. When you get there, the sign is faded, the sidewalk is full of cracks with weeds poking through. Would you still walk into the store? You’re already there, might as well. Inside, the floor looks dingy. The lights are making a distracting buzzing noise, and there’s a funky smell pervading the showroom. A sales rep approaches you, chewing on a sandwich that’s dropping crumbs all over his wrinkled shirt.
Even if this store carries the exact dishwasher you want, would you buy from them? Or would you run out of there and find a different store?
Chances are, you’d be willing to travel farther and pay more for the same dishwasher if you could shop in a clean, organized store, with clean, knowledgeable staff and a minimum of funky odors.
What if the store was clean and the sales rep is professional, but the store’s website is outdated, messy, and lacking important information? You might gather that this store does not have their act together, and never even visit at all.
It doesn’t matter how great their location or product is, because their website has told you not to bother going.
Or, consider a fine dining restaurant that seats you at a table directly between the door and the front desk, despite the many empty tables in better locations. You have to eat almost literally underneath the reception staff and listen to them answer the phone. Other customers waiting to be seated crowd around you because you’re essentially in the foyer. Every time the door opens you’re blasted with cold air. Does it even matter if the food and service were good?
The practice of customer experience recognizes that what you’re offering goes well beyond product. If no one wants to be in your store, it doesn’t matter how great your products are. In fact, the experience is will get your customers to return again and again, more than the actual product or service. Better to think proactively about what message you’re sending so you can be intentional about it.
Disney understands this and focuses assiduously on the experience they provide, noting that “Everything Speaks”. They know that rides are not the primary reason people return to their parks – it’s the experience. Their team orchestrates a symphony of sounds, sights, even smells to create a very intentional experience for each part of the park.
It’s important to consider every aspect of what you provide to customers. Not just the product, but the ambiance, the service, the website, the sales process – every interaction, every part of the experience. Because everything speaks, and your customers are listening.