In every job I’ve had and every role I’ve taken there has been one consistent theme: Experience. It’s the core to every successful 21st century business, but it’s not just limited to UX Design or the loading time of your pages. Experience is a way of doing business.
Experience as a USP
As I just mentioned, experience is at the core of every successful business. Be that the buying experience, the product or service experience, the support experience or somewhere else in the lifecycle. Companies such as Apple, Casper and Uber have built their customer base on delivering a great experience. It’s their ‘Unique Selling Point’, or USP.
But none of these business have done this by purely focussing on what we often assume experience to be about in the technology world - loading times and UX design. They’ve built experience into their businesses at every level, knowing that people are able to tell when experience is core and when it’s just glued on top.
When experience is something that your company and its employees live and breathe, people notice. And, they’re likely to want to be a part of that experience - making sales and hiring easier.
What is Experience
In the technology field, we often limit experience to things such as the location of elements within a UI, the time it takes to load a page, or how many steps there are between somebody starting to use a product and them reaching a “goal” - be it theirs or ours.
In reality, I believe experience is this and much, much more. Experience is about every interaction a customer or employee has with your business. It’s about how the business is formed, how it makes decisions, and the impact these decisions have on the world around the business. In this context, the loading time of a web page or the number of steps taken to send a Snap are small fish.
Experience looks at how business demands and customer expectations can come together to a happy medium. It looks at how business activities impact the world we live in. It looks at the health and happiness of those who work for the business. And it understands how these interplay and how maximising all of these make the business, and the world, better.
Here’s An Example
Let’s imagine for a moment that I own an online store making and selling sports shoes. When I’m looking at the experience, I’m looking at:
- The working conditions of those people who make the shoes, pack the shoes, handle the shoes, make the website, work with customers, etc.
- The impact of my show production and distribution on the economy and environment on a local and global scale.
- The time it takes for a customer to buy my shoes and receive them.
- The experience of using the online store - choosing sizes, finding information, etc.
- The experience of waiting for the shoes to arrive - courier services, etc.
- The unboxing experience once the shoes have arrived.
- The experience of the first try on.
- The long-term comfort of the shoes.
- How easy it is to return the shoes, if anything is wrong.
- The longevity of the shoes.
- What happens to the shoes when they are worn out? - Recycling, etc.
- Much, much more.
All of these individual components come together to form an experience. And whilst some are more important than others - for example, the comfort of a shoe plays a bigger role than how easy they are to recycle - they all play their part.
Consider the Experience
Good companies create and sell good products. Great companies create experiences. Experiences which enhance the lives of their customers in little but noticeable ways.
It may be Apple, who’s product packaging leads to an unboxing experience almost unrivalled in their industry. So much so, that people rush to post unboxing videos online whenever a new product comes out.
Or it may be Converse, who provide an easy to follow 30-day returns process in the box with every pair of shoes you buy online, just in case they’re the wrong size or you don’t like the colour.
Or it could be Casper, who made buying and bringing home a mattress a simple process instead of a nightmare.
Every one of these companies has thought about the experience of buying and using their products. And they’ve honed that experience into something that sets them apart from their competitors. Something uniquely them.
If you wish to be successful in running a business in the 21st century, you have to do the same. Because, it’s all about the experience.