11 Mar 2014 | Audience Development, Marketing
You've probably read about the growth of the experience economy in business circles. That is, the notion that you can sell an experience alongside a product.
Of course this is exactly what theatre, tourism attractions, ice venues, sports arenas and the like have provided for years - an experience. But there is an important distinction here of selling an experience, versus selling a memorable experience.
You can probably already guess that a memorable experience is the better one, as it creates loyalty and repeat customers. Creating memorable experiences comes down customer experience management.
Experience management goes right from awareness, to attraction to interaction, purchase, and post purchase retention. Creating memorable experience for customers isn't just about seeing a great show, a wonderful tourist attraction or attending a great sporting event, it is about the whole package: from when a customer first thinks "I want to . . . " to searching, to finding your website, sharing that website perhaps, calling or booking tickets, receiving those tickets and on and on.
A truly memorable experience is one where even those things such as transportation to the event which may be out of your control, contribute to the overall feeling and memory of the event itself. And here is the thing, bad memories get shared more than good ones.
So what do you do? How do you create powerful, memorable patron experiences?
Get the basics right.
Go through the entire thought process and purchasing process for your customer. Get out a magnifying glass, where are the holes, where can you improve? Maybe you need a to look at responsive design for your website because many of your customers use their mobiles, etc. Take a look at the big picture and see where you can improve. To be fair, you probably do a lot of the big things spot on. It is in fact the little things that can push positive experiences for you patrons.
There is an example from Danny Meyer, famed American restaurateur. If any of his staff hear, even in passing, that a guest is having a birthday, the manager comes over to the table to specifically say happy birthday to the guest, on behalf of Danny. This is a brilliant way of showing customers they are valued and adding to a memorable experience. Picking up on subtle small details about customers and acting on them makes all the difference.
Addressing your patrons by name when they arrive to collect tickets is another example of focusing on the details. Again the little things add up to the overall experience to the customer. A warm and friendly, "Hello, Mr. Fadden I have your tickets right here, and I see you have ordered the gluten-free, vegan meal as well - excellent choice." The small details make your customer feel special - and that matters.
Do you have a lot of older patrons who might appreciate some extra help getting to their seats? Do you provide boosters for your younger patrons? Again all of these little things add to a memorable experience that drives more future sales.
Show your appreciation.
Pre-sales, discounts, special vouchers and the like all give you an opportunity to show your appreciation to your customer. Is there anything else you can do to show your customers your appreciation? Anything unique or unexpected?
Delighting your customers and giving them a memorable experience isn't just one thing, but a series of little things that focus on the details. If you can make it unusual and unexpected, it will keep customers coming back again and again.
Do you have a memorable experience to share? How do you create memorable experiences for your customers?