Guess who your customer is comparing you to? Your competitors? Partly. They are comparing you to everyone. It’s the same as you do. We are all snobs. We have experienced the Rain Forest Cafe with their entertaining way of delivering their commodity – American food. We have experienced Starbucks with their commodity – coffee. We go to these places to feel something we hope to get with whomever we do business with. The commodity is secondary.
Imagine your customer walking around with a giant tattoo on their forehead which reads, “Wow Me!” Because they have been wowed before, they are looking for their fix again. They are wondering if you will give them what they want.
However, wowing someone takes imagination. A lack of imagination makes doing business a transaction. Transactions are boring, irrelevant and without loyalty. When you get gas, is your store clerk engaging and remembering your name? What if they remembered everyone’s name? That would be a new experience. However, because the store clerk and the store owner lack imagination, they just do transactions. They never rise above mediocrity. The customer goes to the closest gas station because it just doesn’t make a difference. The store clerk never gave her a reason to think otherwise.
Watch kids and you will see wonderful imagination. They put stories on top of their play. They take blank sheets of paper and draw wild, crazy and imaginative figures.
Watch adults and you will see boring and mundane. They do the same story and hesitate with a blank piece of paper. No wild, crazy exploration.
Perhaps kids should advise businesses. They would be giving the “What if..” advice. What if we gave 5 minute free massages to tired people? What if our web site was an interaction rather than a pretty picture? What if our lounge was like the lobby of a Westin hotel?
Imagination is daring. Perhaps that is why so few businesses venture towards imagination. They like conventional and fear failure. All the while, the customer is not committed to your business or is not noticing you.
If your commodity is common among you and your competitors, then what is the true product? It is the business itself. It is how you do business. It is how you engage the customer from step zero of the process. It is how you thought through what the customer experiences before they visit your store or website.
How you do business matters a hundred times more than your commodity. Having a good product or service allows you to be in the game, nothing more. How you present it, service it and deliver it to win your customer differentiates you. Lacking imagination on how to connect with your customer and delivering a wow experience is detrimental. You risk being obscure and missing the great opportunities which come from delivering wow experiences.