by Kenneth Rudich
I once heard it said that people use products but experience services. For instance, an individual purchases a shovel with the intent of using the product. A reservation at an haute cuisine restaurant, on the other hand, carries the expectation for a fine dining experience.
Whether you agree with that assessment or not, it does bring up an important point. Marketing must consider the role of these two – use and experience – as it pertains to delivering customer value fulfillment and satisfaction. A failure to properly think this through could result in a poorly executed value fulfillment proposition.
Here are five examples of scenarios where customer use and customer experience influence the value proposition:
1. Is one clearly more dominant than the other in importance? Consider the case of the shovel and the fine food restaurant. As long as the shovel serves its intended function, it’s hard to imagine anything you could do to make it a better, more agreeable, or memorable digging experience. The restaurant, meanwhile, sits at the opposite end of that spectrum.
2. Are the two so closely intertwined that fulfillment requires both? A luxury automobile fits into this category. You may use a car to get from point A to point B. But unlike an economy car, the experience of a luxury automobile leaves an indelible impression. Who would pay the higher sticker price if it didn’t?
3. Are the customers who use the product or service different from the ones that experience it? Education is a good example. Students typically experience the education process. But employers, governmental and community agencies, and society use the product. Educators must fashion a learning experience with that end product in mind.
4. Do the customer touchpoints differ between use and experience? A business website falls into this category. A business’s customers tend to experience the website – it’s look, feel, usability – more than simply use it. The business, meanwhile, uses it to drive sales. If the business has outsourced the development and maintenance of the website, it experiences the services of the web provider. In this case, the web services provider must factor in each of these three differentials for achieving value fulfillment.
5. Is the use of the product dependent upon the quality of a related service or vice versa? It’s possible to have a great product but lack the services-based technology to support its use. Imagine how disappointing a streaming video application experience would be if internet access was limited to the slower speed of a phone modem connection.
marketing use, experience, or both
After walking through the use and experience dimensions of a product or service, marketers must then frame their offering to meet the customer fulfillment expectations.