It’s About Time

When’s the last time you heard someone say “we had a great time..” about a service? Probably never.

When’s the last time you stopped and took a photo of your trip to a service or when a service came to you? Check your phone. Are there any? Probably not.

Now look for a photo of the last time you where somewhere where you spent time. If you’re like me, you probably have to choose form a long list.

This brings up a question. What is the main difference between services and experiences?

Time. To be more precise, the use of time. When we look at services, the focus on time is more about efficiency and speed of transaction. This creates a level of time saved by the customer. To put it a different term, its about time well saved. Saved, so customers can quickly move onto their next endeavor. And customer service, the topic of how did the staff help you with your need?

When we talk about experiences, we need to talk about time much differently. With experiences its about time well spent. It’s about manipulating how time is perceived by the customer. The better time is spent, usually means the more money that was exchanged, thus there is an increase of value when the customer spends time better.

The challenge is that a handful of experience designers understand this. They know its more than the physical cues, props and space design, its about time design. Designing the time a customer spends with the business. It takes time to build a positive memory. A memory worth sharing.

So how does one go about determining if their business can be called an experience? First look to the some questions that could help determine if your offering is an experience are a service.

  1. Do you evaluate your team’s performance on sales numbers per day, per customer?
  2. Do you focus on efficiency of delivery?
  3. Does you staff follow a pre-designed set of procedures when delivering your offering?
  4. Do you monitor your competitions’s pricing to stay competitive?

If you said “Yes” to more than two of these questions, you are in the service economy. It doesn’t matter if you evaluate customer interaction on a checklist and then call it a customer experience survey. You’re focus is more on time saved and turnover of sales than on the time the customer spends with you.

Evolving to an experience for business success is growing. Just as the service economy grew from goods manufacturing and goods sales to become more distinct, so too, experiences are emerging to differentiate from that of services. As before, services were able to charge more for the same goods they sold before because of providing time saved to the customers, experiences are able to increase value and price because of the shift to increase time spent by the customer.

Customers will pay a premium for engaging with or by a business if they see the time spent is of greater value. No one ever claimed that the were in and out of Disney quickly in order to do something else. Experiences are about time and time is the new currency a customer spends. And time is limited.

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