The Experience Economy – are you on board or lagging behind?

A few years ago my boss at the YMCA gave me a Christmas gift that most people would think was a joke. You see, I love to read, and so my boss got me a book called “The Experience Economy”. It changed forever the way I look at what I do.
The authors write about how when we purchase a service we are paying someone to do a task for us or to give us access to something (dry cleaning, cutting our hair, washing our car, membership to a gym etc.). There are so many choices for us as consumers that for a business to stand out they need to do something different, they need to offer an experience. And people are willing to pay more for those experiences.

Earlier this week I blogged about my experience in completing the Emperor’s Challenge, this amazing, beautiful, grueling race. The next day I was talking to my training partner (who is now hooked on running) and she said that she was looking around to see which race she wants to do next. There is a half marathon close to where she lives (in Northern BC) and as she researched the course she discovered that a bus takes you 21km out of town and then you run back on that same road. Not much of an experience there! So now she is looking to fly all the way from Northern BC to Vancouver Island for the Victoria half marathon this fall. All because the race in Victoria looks like it would be an incredible experience.

What experiences are you creating for your customers/clients/participants? Creating amazing experiences is not just for the business owner; it is also for all of us who deliver a service. If you are a fitness instructor, how do you create an experience like none other in your class? As a personal trainer what is it that you do differently that will have your clients raving about how much they love training with you? If you are a Life Coach how do you go above and beyond for your client?

Next time you are paying for a service take note of the small things that they do that adds to your experience (hair salons that offer lattes, banks that have bowls of fresh fruit on the counter, sushi restaurants where the chef sends over a free sample of a unique dish, etc). What do you experience that you could adapt to work for your customers/clients/participants? It is no longer enough to just offer a service, we need to create and offer experiences. That is what will set you apart.

The Experience Economy – Joseph Pine, James Gilmore (1999)

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