What Defines Your Experience?

Would ten random people in your company give the same definition for your customer experience?

Decide with Clarity of Purpose – Beloved companies take the time to be clear about what their unique promise is for their customers’ lives. They use this clarity when they make decisions so they align to this purpose, to this promise. Clarity of purpose guides choices and unites the organization. It elevates people from executing tasks to delivering experiences customers will want to repeat and tell others about.

DECISION INTENT: Dispense Technology Advice in a Warm and Engaging Manner

When Apple was planning its stores, they were envisioned as a place where people would congregate to experience the products and each other. Ron Johnson, senior vice president of retail, described his vision: “I imagined it as a store for everyone, a place that would be welcoming to all ages and where people could feel they truly belonged.” Johnson’s past visits to the Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons hotel bars, in particular, struck a nerve while he was envisioning the store experience, because they had a sense of community, a warm engaging environment. He was inspired to replicate that same feeling in the Apple Stores. Starting with that notion, Johnson created Apple’s Genius Bars. Apple put their version of a bar in the stores…one that dispensed advice instead of alcohol.

THEIR MOTIVATION: Make Apple Stores a Destination, a Community

The clarity that guided this one decision, to make the stores a place of community and belonging, triggered decisions that have made Apple Stores the destinations they have become today. Why can anyone use the bathrooms in Apple Stores? To establish community and belonging. Why does Apple hire people of all ages and backgrounds? To build community and belonging. Why did they put in the Genius Bars? To build community and belonging. When there is a clear and simple purpose that shapes and guides actions, de- cisions of the organization connect. Clarity has made the Apple Store a beloved destination.

IMPACT: Apple’s Stores Became the Fastest Retailer to Reach $1 Billion in Annual Revenues

What sets companies that customers love apart from the others is that they imagine the experience first. Then —and only then— can they deliver it.

Apple imagined people clustered around a bar in a place buzzing with energy and warmth. Apple built it and people came. Apple’s stores were the fastest retailer to ever reach $1 billion in annual revenues, which was achieved in just three years. During 2007, 102.4 million people were welcomed with those stores and in fiscal 2008 Apple Retail Stores revenue grew to $6.3 billion.

Clarity of purpose also creates and keeps engaged employees serving customers. Of Apple’s 16,000 retail employees, 20 percent per year leave, compared to 50 percent on average for the retail industry. This is due in large part because these folks participate in delivering an experience that is clear to them and that they believe in.

This type of clarity begins at home—inside the four walls of your company.

Clarity Challenge: Define Your Customer Experience

  • How would you rate your ability to clearly define and deliver the experience?
  • How would your customer say you are doing?
  • Is your customer experience so clear that customers rave about what and how you deliver on it?
  • How do your decisions to create a higher purpose for customers compare with the profiled beloved company?
  • Do your decisions compel employees to stay and customers to return?
  • Do your decisions for what defines your experience earn you “Beloved” status today?
  • What do you need to do differently to move toward earning the rave of customers and employees?

Take Action: Define your higher purpose with customers to make sure everyone is on the same page.




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