Dr. Sales column “customer experience”: Business spectacle, “work is theater and every business is a stage” – Companies

A business is a game. If the client manages to complete their quest there, their experience will be epic. To help that, a good program is essential, and a nice staging…

As management consultant James H. Gilmore writes in The Experience Economy (untranslated): “Work is theater and every business is a stage”. This is not a poetic metaphor, but a real parallel whose ideas we will explore for the benefit of the experience you want your customers to have.

As management consultant James H. Gilmore writes in The Experience Economy (untranslated): “Work is theater and every business is a stage”. This is not a poetic metaphor, but a real parallel whose ideas we will explore for the benefit of the experience you want your customers to have. These know more or less what they come to “see” when they come into contact with you. But from the very first moments of their experience, it will be wise to revive their desire. At the theatre, the audience in the program will find a summary of the play, a few excerpts from reviews, the inspiring portrait of the actors distributed at the entrance. His mind can project and deduce how exciting the show will be. Likewise, in any customer experience, it is helpful to anticipate the final outcome through exposure, photos, testimonials, or even the display of certifications or awards from the practitioner or craftsman visited. The program has another unsuspected psychological interest: it allows for a reassuring framing of the process. The audience knows how long the play will last, how it is structured, when the intermission and the end of the show will take place. This agenda, inevitably recalled just before the curtain goes up, causes calm, relaxation and a diffuse impression of control for the spectator, as well as for a client for whom the course and timing of a service is explained in a simple and structured way. before its start. The framing has a very positive effect on general satisfaction. As in the theater, the customer experience is also a series of tableaus, of interactions with the elements of a business or service, divided into “actions” and “scenes”. SMEs and VSEs all too often view their own customer experience as one long sequence plan. Breaking down each step of a customer’s journey improves each of these interactions. This is the principle of “servuction”, developed in the late 1980s by marketing professors Pierre Eiglier and Eric Langeard: connecting the stages of the customer journey with the actions of the staff and the physical elements of the commercial space to create a “service plan. “, which orchestrates every element of the consumer cycle. This division into “actions” also makes it possible to evaluate the client’s emotional response to each step. As in the theatre, the client-spectator will especially remember the highlights of the play. So be interested in the most extreme emotions, good and bad, in each action of your customer journey, because our brains do not capture the average linear quality of an experience, but “its peaks and valleys”, as explained by consultant Jon Picoult in the excellent book From impressed to obsessed (not translated). Imagine for a moment: If I invited you to a show that offered you 50 minutes of pleasure for only three minutes of joy, would you accept? Probably not! Yet this is what all customers at a theme park voluntarily do in the middle of summer, multiple times in the same day, with queuing times in discomfort, congestion and oppressive heat. We do not perceive the total experience, but the intensity of its strongest moments… Ask yourself how to magnify these peaks, these high points of the customer experience to get a “wow” effect. Because in the end, it is largely on these moments that their enchantment will be based. Just like in the theater, pay special attention to the finale. Unpacking, discovery, handling, moment of consumption, so many magical moments when your customers’ expectations become reality. It is the final moments of your performance that will remain in the memory of your audience-customers the longest and will establish their overall satisfaction and loyalty. It will also be useful to ask yourself how you will fill the gaps and downtimes, the moments of the customer experience that will not be pleasant. Filling out forms, standing in line, waiting sitting in a room or in a car are all negative experiences. Again, a little creativity and staging can make all the difference. The use of nudges, these little nudges that “gamify” and engage, can be of great help here. Consider, for example, General Electric, which has redecorated its pediatric MRI machines and rooms by turning them into pirate ships where young patients must hide and remain motionless to escape a fearsome buccaneer. Or for the children who, at the Chirec delta, can go to the operating room by driving a small electric sports car themselves. And while some of these negative experiences can’t be cured, they can be alleviated. A link to a video tutorial can thus accompany a boring form and help the customer in this formality. Thus a pleasant waiting room, brightened up and enhanced with a few small suggestions such as “use these few minutes to write to someone you are waiting to hear from, decide what you want to eat tonight or the next surprise you want to do to someone close to you” can diametrically change the quality of this lost moment. Don’t overlook the power of surprise during the performance! Even for a well-known play, the director likes to create something new and surprise. Surprise is a key element of delight in the customer experience! What makes galette des rois, Kinder eggs or Pokémon blister packs always so popular? The bean, the little toy, the rare card… the promise of a surprise! However, this is neglected by VSEs, with only 3.7% of respondents in our Trends-Tendances and VOObusiness survey saying they use it to satisfy their customers. Ask yourself how you can pleasantly and simply surprise your customers, like the inspiring story of “Johnny the bagger”, this employee who, while packing goods from visitors to his supermarket, started adding a little note to them with his thoughts a day, and thus gradually change the behavior of his business partners and the general customer experience of his entire store! Finally, unlike the theater, never forget that the client is not a mere spectator. He must be part of the experience. The more he will be invested, participating, the more he will appreciate the offered product or service. If you allow them to customize their order, share their own favorites, inform or help other customers with their expertise, you’ll have a player on your side committed to improving the overall experience. If our businesses are theatres, think of our client as the hero of the play. In this story we help him complete his quest. If they achieve this through us, their customer experience will be epic. Otherwise it will end in tragedy. But without him we would have no reason to exist. Its place is always at the front of the stage! I recently thanked a local grocer for the service, kindness and personalization he orchestrated in his store. He confided his secret to me in a completely involuntary and perfectly perfect telescoping of expression. He told me: “here, you know, we put all our customers on the same pedestal”. An article by Laurent HJ De Smet #DrSales

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