Convenience vs. Experience

Businesses have specific goals set (we hope) and daily practices to achieve them. They’ve built and taught a company culture that’s embedded into their employee’s heads. Their sales process, customer service, and marketing/communications have each been built around, well, the company. But what happened to molding your brand around your customers and their experience? What happened to the thinking of (as cliché as it may sound), customer first?

The always-smart words of Amber and Chris brought about this thought with their two varying customer experiences. A synopsis to their stories: Amber gave a raving review about her dentist (and spa) and how they not only treat her as a person, but have done many things to make the idea of going to the dentist, bearable. They’ve built a setting that’s far from the norm, and it works, because the focus is on the people. On the latter side, Chris went on a short rant about his dying Macbook and how Apple forces customers to make an appointment with them online. Problem here was, well, Chris couldn’t actually get on his laptop because of the MB issue. So, he either finds another computer to make an appointment on or go in-store to do so. Online processes are typically fast and seamless, but it isn’t always the best case for all customer issues.

These two stories are on opposite ends of the customer rope but what stuck out to me even more was the thought of – convenience vs. experience.

Convenience

Your company has goals in mind and probably already has a process in how business practices are performed. You learn from your environment and what is preached in boardroom meetings and company lunches. You’re taught this the minute you step foot in that company. The bottom line ends up being that all projects and campaigns are done from the eyes of the company. Understandably, it’s easy to think that what you and your team have just created is revolutionary and that your customers will see you in a brighter light than before. Trust me, I’ve been there. The setting where a great product is built but specifically resonates with what we see as an awesome feature, and what we deem as convenient – to implement and utilize.

Then something clicked. Why the hell aren’t we thinking about the people who are actually going to be using it? Shouldn’t we focus our product around the consumer, how they use it, and the type of experience they have with our company? Which leads me to the other side of this story:

experience

Experience

This word can be had for several meanings but what we’re looking at here is YOUR experience; how you felt towards a certain company, product, or dentist. What did they do to make your purchase or visit not only a success, but also spectacular?

Many of us have had extraordinary experiences like Amber has with her dentist office, though there are still many who have yet to do so. There’s an opportunity for many businesses to differentiate themselves and provide that special experience that most other businesses don’t offer. Something that makes you remember them for their customer care and realizing it comes first with them.

But how do we separate convenience from experience? How are companies doing it right and how can others learn from them?

I’m leaving this one open to you guys. Let me know what you think.

9 comments On Convenience vs. Experience

  • Interesting quandary. I actually had this article up for the past two days in my tabs because I didn’t quite know what to say about it. I think you have to do this: Create a convenient experience. The barriers for entry should be low and the possibility for enjoyment should be high…that’s my best approximation of what you should do. On the right track?

  • Definitely on the right track, Stuart. Convenient experience is an even better definition. I understand the company has to do things that best fits their practices but to find a balance between the company and the responsibility they have to their customers, is the key.

    Thanks for the input, man.

  • I guess a lot of us marketers have experienced the same thing… 😉 Sonny, you’ve have hit on something that I often wonder about… Marketers are also consumers, right? So why is it when we work for a company we don’t provide the experiences that we, as consumers, expect to receive when we interact with a company/brand? I think we all know the answers… Part of it, like you mention, is company culture. Another part, I think, is fear (and that comes in all shapes and sizes). It takes a brave company to tap into customers, listen and make changes.

    Great post Sonny!

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  • @Beth – You make a great point. We constantly talk and analyze campaigns and businesses from a consumer perspective, so why wouldn’t that spill over into your own business environment? You make a great point on fear and really stemming on different types of fear, which a lot of us have experienced first hand. Brave, special companies come at a minimum nowadays – but also leaves huge opportunities for small or big businesses to stick out in saturated markets.

    Awesome points, as usual, Beth!

  • It’s so sad that so many businesses stilldon’t understand that user experience (at all levels – touchpoints, product, marketing, etc.) is where the convenience of having a loyal, vocal and enthusiastic customer base is forged. Make customers love you by blanketing them with great experiences on a consistent basis, and your business development pains will quickly become a thing of the past. That’s the kind of convenience that- as a business manager – I would love to have.

  • Hi,

    Most people come back for more because of the experience they had in dealing a Brand, Product or you. I don’t care about the name of a business until I have had an experience in dealing with them. Convenience rarely plays into my decision making process about a product, person or organization.

    My 2 cents on the topic.

  • @Olivier – Great point about business development. Evangelizing your community of core users is really biz dev nowadays. The way you communicate with them, shape their experience, and build that relationships, has a great deal to do how your company will be perceived by others who aren’t buying your products or services, but are thinking of doing so.

    Now I wonder who they’ll want to reach out to – Company A whose evangelists are praising the company and the experience they’ve had, or Company B who has some nice products but issues that the company doesn’t address, other than building out more features that does nothing for them. Take your pick!

  • Sonny,

    This is a very interesting debate and I have had it several times as a CRM strategist, even several times with the same customers. The concept of customer-centricity is easy to grasp, but when it comes to implementing it apparently is more scary than going to the dentist in 1920. It is amazing who people who say they are not afraid to change become horrified at the thought as part of their corporate culture.

    I think that just pulling a band-aid, my experience on this is that you have to do quickly and swiftly. Once the decision is made at the to to make the change, then change management and the ability to change the culture should kick in quickly before they start thinking.

    The best part of change management is that you can accomplish a lot before you deploy a single tool or technology, and that is what creates the success in these projects.

    Thanks for writing this and contrasting both elements. They are like the two sides of the loyalty coin. Either you have convenience and no loyalty, or experience and loyal customers.

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