The businesses of physical objects and heuristic personal services can no longer be seen as separate entities. The human experience of acquiring an object is inevitably part of that object’s value to consumers, and this funnels all the way down to a business’ bottom line and its broader sustainability regardless of whether services play any part in their overt offerings. It is not enough to make a good product. The journey to acquire it must also be a positive, memorable, and customer-centric experience: The new social contract in business.
Take Starbucks, for example. Why were they able to corner such a large segment of the coffee shop market? There were many other competitors offering coffee at a comparable quality level, but Starbucks outperformed on a different metric: The customer experience. Every detail from the branding, the consistency and elegance of shop design, service, ambiance, and feel was executed on at a degree higher than the rest. So powerful was the in-shop customer experience, that a green mermaid cup in someone’s hand crossing the street became a status symbol. This wasn’t just caffeine, my friends, this was Starbucks.