You a "My"?
the personal ownership in a business
about the conversation between two or more individuals. If we talk about
health, you will likely hear someone mention, "My doctor",
or "My dentist". A person is also likely to use, "My
mechanic", or "My butcher". Of course what you first
see as a common point between our four examples is the use of the word
the statements a bit further, and what you will find is that the person
making the statement is actually making a much stronger statement than
what first appears. For you see, what the statements indicate is the
existence of a relationship between a customer and where they are doing
has happened to cause the customer to take a piece of "personal
ownership" in the person or company selling the goods and services.
As this story was first told to this writer by Paul Aleskovsky of the
Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, he went on to ask his audience
about their experience. "Does anyone call you mine?", Paul
often", Aleskovsky continues, "the customer does not take
ownership in where they do business. And that is a problem too many
the book, "The Experience Economy", the authors, Pine and
Gilmore talk about the various levels a customer can experience when
they do business. Looking at our industry for examples, the business
transaction can occur on a very low level. The authors refer to this
as a 'commodity purchase'.
purchase could be for any number of products; a battery for an RC car,
a tube of cement, or any number of items you sell. The transaction is
referred to as a commodity purchase because the customer is often heard
to ask, "What is the price of ...?" And the salesperson recites
the price of the item. In this transaction, the customer sees no additional
value in doing business with this store; no service, information, or
special help. The store is just a place to go and exchange money for
a product or service.
but surely, everything the store sells is reduced to a commodity. When
this happens, there is little need to have quality sales help, advertising,
or any number of other assets you traditionally find with a great, or
even good store.
authors of "The Experience Economy" go on to talk about businesses
that work to move the transaction to a higher level. They mention how
businesses work to sell a product or service. Examples of these two
levels is the customer who again asks for a certain product. Instead
of the scenario we first described, the sales person asks the customer
what they are doing with the product. And upon hearing the answer, we
find that the requested product is incorrect. The salesperson has the
opportunity of directing the customer to the correct product.
And with a service, the sales person asks the customer if they have
all of the necessary accessories for their hobby. Perhaps for the model
builder, the sales person is asking about brushes, Exacto blades, sandpaper,
and any other possible item they could need. You see, this salesperson
is providing their customer with a service.
many times have you made a sale, only to have a customer return an hour
or two later looking for something they forgot or ran out of? And then,
a third visit for another forgotten item? While the customer may be
unhappy with themselves for what they forgot, they may also say, "I
sure wish you had reminded me about getting some ...." In providing
the service, this scenario is reduced if not eliminated.
next level of shopping, according to the authors, is the experience.
Think of a parent coming into your business to buy a birthday gift for
a child. And as you interact with them, they stop at a display and mention
how they remember their interest in models as a youth.
the store that provides an experience, within minutes the interaction
between customer and sales person becomes a lively exchange of conversation.
At the conclusion, the customer is thanking the sales person for the
great time they had, and for the help in renewing their interest in
a past hobby.
the experience transaction, the authors give another example of a business
that sells a t-shirt, coffee mug, or other product on which their name
or logo is imprinted. "Why would a customer pay good money for
something that has the name of the business on it?", they ask.
answer is that they want something to remember their experience by.
They had a good time, a pleasant visit, and as a way to remember it,
they use a shirt, magnet, coffee mug or other imprinted item.
course the first type of this situation that comes to mind is a trip
to an amusement park, or even a theme restaurant.
is perhaps a bold question that can be asked from this situation. "If
a customer does not want to own something that reminds them of their
experience with your business, is it because there is nothing they want
to remember about your business?"
does not mean that each and every store needs to go out and order some
t-shirts. But it should cause many businesses to think about what happens
when they talk with a customer.
we end, there is another level of the transaction that can occur. The
authors call it a transformation. Our example of a transformation is
the customer we just discussed; the one who had an experience. After
their purchase however, we call them to find that all of their purchase
is still sitting in the bag on a shelf in their garage. You see, the
experience may have been great, but they have not moved any further.
it the fault of the business that the customer has failed to do anything
with their purchase? Directly, it is not. But there is little chance
the customer would ever return to make another purchase.
there is an opportunity to do something about it. For what if that customer
did something with their purchase? What if they had a great time and
then decided they wanted to assemble another model? Perhaps within a
year they would see a dozen assembled models on a shelf in their home
we have the kind of customer everyone wants to have! And how can we
create that customer?
can begin with a phone call a week after the purchase to see how far
along they are with the assembly. The shop could also have an evening
class addressing the finer skills of assembly. There could be a monthly
newsletter, print or electronic, sent to the hobbyist from the shop.
of thinking we have done a great job with a sale, we now look at the
job as being complete when we have created an enthusiastic hobbyist.
Can you do this with every customer?
not! But then again, do you want the customer talking about the hobby
shop? Or, MY hobby shop?