Workshop – Experience Center Design & Programming
(with DST, Amsterdam)
Welcome to the TEoC Blog, thank you for your interest in TEoC.
The TEoC Blog is focused on customer experience from several perspectives, strategy, innovation, behavior or anything along the way that seems to be interesting to share.
The countdown has begun. Years of evolving, months of preparation since that moment in the summer of 2017 when I decided to set up a new company. So, without further ado… “Let’s do this!!!”
Over the past several years I’ve had countless conversations with senior company leaders, customers and employees of every department imaginable, talking about their business needs and objectives. I’ve been told sales teams have a tendency to focus too much on product. I’ve been told that customer relationships need to evolve and become more senior. I’ve been told that content needs to be more relevant etc. It’s the same situation time and time again, people of all levels looking for the magical answers to what will help them grow, transform and be ready for the future.
I believe that the real answers to the questions are in the questions themselves. Expertise loves to talk with expertise, it’s human nature, but often times it’s bad for business. That something is possible doesn’t necessarily solve problems, communicating and being able to create an understanding of benefits for all involved, does. But how do you do that?
Through experience. It’s all about the experience… the questions we ask, the stories we tell, the change we become. Experience isn’t a check in the box after the fact, it’s the DNA to the entire customer journey.
I founded TEoC because I believe that companies become more successful through providing positive, memorable and sustainable customer experiences to both their internal and external customers.
By just mentioning the aroma of freshly baked apple pie some of you reading this will begin to salivate. Thoughts rekindled in your mind of the last time you smelled the combination of apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, baked into a crust that crunches slightly before melting in your mouth.
Maybe if you let your thoughts wander further you will think of the scoop of creamy vanilla & caramel ice cream or cup of coffee on the side… or the chill still on your cheeks from being outside, the memory of the environment around you when you last had a delicious slice. Maybe you will see your grandmother sitting on the other side of the table looking through her glasses, adjusting her hearing aid, happy to see everyone together.
If you weren’t thinking of these things before reading this, chances are pretty good that you are now.
By just mentioning simple moments that reach our senses, we access details otherwise forgotten. Whether a smell, a taste, something we feel, hear or see, we are continually receiving impulses, some create reactions, some go past us without us noticing. Listen to a song from your youth and it can take you back to a memory of when you first heard it, you can see the people around you, feel the vibe in the air, you can re-live the moment emotionally, laugh, cry, feel the butterflies in your belly from your first love. Reach the senses and you reach the person.
Marketing focused on connecting to the senses is nothing new, it’s been done on many levels since the beginning of advertising. Whether appealing to the emotional need of being rewarded for something by playing on fears of what could happen if you don’t do this or that (religion driven marketing dates back to 3000 BC), it has been part of our cultures since time began.
Create a vibe and sell to the senses and if possible to the emotion. This is nothing new, it’s Consumer Based Marketing 101… yet when we approach Enterprise Marketing, we reach for the spreadsheets, we talk demographics, we promote problems so we can push solutions into some form of box. We forget the people. We simply bombard them with branding, products, specifications, and if we get lucky there might even be some services thrown in to create more value.
Welcome to the world of present day product driven sales. The latest and greatest, new and improved, fastest, smallest, biggest, lightest, highest quality, longest lasting, most environmentally friendly “wow factor” ever created is now available. We send our consultants, sales or service engineers, but beforehand please fill out this online contact form and tell us when you are planning to buy and what your budget is. We write up our letters, we send the brochures, we set up a date to meet and turn things upside down to make sure our story (presentation) is just right.
Wow factor through the roof… then again, maybe not.
Imagine going on a first date, in advance you send a brochure illustrating how wonderful you are. That through your years of experience, that your research and fitness development has turned you into a high performance machine that is not only efficient, but agile as well. You can guarantee a best of class total cost of ownership (displayed in graph form with a arrow pointed upwards). To sweeten the pot you add a couple of wedding locations that support your “partner based mindset”. You send a letter accompanying your brochure, pleading the importance of open communication, how grateful you are for the opportunity. You suggest meeting face to face so you can present your vision of the future, the wonderful children you will undoubtedly create together. This may sound completely nuts, but look around you… this goes on every day of the week on the upper floors of company headquarters all over the world.
It’s all about branding, all about company promises, products and bla, bla, bla…
No, it’s all about apple pie, it’s about grandmothers and hearing aids, it’s a walk in the park, it’s a song that takes you to 1996 faster than a Tesla Model X reaches 100 kph… it’s about creating a dialogue and experience that is relevant in an environment that makes people feel like they matter on their terms.
Your company’s right of existence is in the stories of your customers, regardless of them being consumers, small & medium businesses, corporates or multi-nationals… an experience center should in my mind be about your customers. It should be a place where they feel comfortable telling their stories, not dog and pony shows shoving yesterday’s news down their throats.
Create an experience that resonates and customers will come.
Make good on the experience and they will never leave.
I’m David Savage, I design customer experience centers and programs, helping customers achieve their objectives by bridging strategy, innovation, processes, environment, behavior and market developments. Looking to create an experience that’s worth remembering?
My father said to me years ago “it doesn’t really matter what you know or don’t know, what matters is that you can communicate both”. My take away from his advice was neither to overwhelm people with what I know nor to BS people with what I don’t, but to communicate both to either convey what I know or be able to find the answers.
I’ve been a certified facilitator of discussions since 1994. 23+ years of learning along the way… the first 5 years focusing more on saying the right things to create conversation, 12 years of providing answers “to convince” and the past few years of understanding the art of the questions that create value.
Regardless of the market segment or level of expertise, I am convinced that questions are often more important than the answers they generate. Everybody wants to feel like they matter, everyone wants to say, “I matter”. There’s no better way of making a customer or colleague feel like they matter than when you ask the questions that are important to them. Even if you are asking them something because it’s important to you, make sure they know you value their answer, that it means something to you and why.
The reason why I call it the art of the question is quite simple. Imagine standing in front of a blank canvas. The questions you ask define the picture being painted. Is it all black and white? Probably not…while we tend to try to push things into spreadsheets and make things fit into business models, it is when we ask the right questions that we will see the bigger picture, to see cause and effect, to see what motivates stakeholders… to understand our internal and external customers.
Where are the customers of your customers going to be in 5 years? Where do your customers see themselves in 5 years? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How you answer what you are going do to help your customers achieve their customer’s objectives will define where you will be in 5 years. Will you still be in the picture or erased?
I love asking customers about their customers. Are the customers you had 10-20-30 years ago the same ones you have now? What numbers were important 10 years ago and what numbers are important to you now? While we are on a roll here, what numbers will be important to you tomorrow? What are the barriers keeping you from your objectives?
Asking questions is one thing, knowing what do to with the answers is another. That’s where experience makes all the difference in the world.