Dave Capuano I was sitting back these past two weekends with my 11 year-old son watching a great product – the NFL playoffs. For those of you who watch professional football, these past weekends have been some of the most exciting in years. There have been heroics, disappointments and fierce competition. All of which have helped the NFL exceed my expectations. Watching, we felt revved, excited, happy and sad – all in one game!

Now, realistically, the NFL could have delivered the game by just reporting the score, showing one or two camera angles, and having plain, humdrum announcers, right? They could say the goal of their job is just to televise and report the games – deliver the product. But they’ve done their homework. They know their customers. They know viewers prefer excitement and action that is up close and personal.

So the NFL provides commentators and reporters that help inject emotion into the game. They take a great play and show it over again. They give you expert analysis, excitement and enthusiasm during the telecast. If you think that customer experience is just about delivering a product or solving a problem, you’re missing a great opportunity to create an emotional imprint upon the experience your customers have.

Now don’t get me wrong, products play a huge role in the customer experience. In the end, that’s what the customers will interact with. And today, great products are hard to build and even harder to differentiate – particularly if you don’t take into account the overall customer experience. But, today customer experience is the foundation of every business. We must understand how to support the customer experience and use it to grow value.

So what can you do to make sure you consider the customer as you craft your product?

  1. Identify the customers you are trying to engage.
  2. Create a product experience strategy that ensures your product or service is designed and marketed with the customer in mind.  The product experience is an extension of your brand, so do your homework. 
  3. Don’t think solely about technology.  Consider what the customer is ultimately trying to get out of the experience with your product.
  4. Assess your organization's ability to deliver the product experience.  Marketing needs to be a part of the product planning process.
  5. In the product development process don’t overlook the fact that the associated experience is about managing the customer’s side of the equation. To create the product experience you want for your customers, you need to have a good understanding of your business and marketing objectives. 

So what do you want your customers to FEEL after experiencing your product or service? Don’t miss an opportunity to create a positive emotional impression.  Next stop for me and my son is San Francisco vs. Baltimore in the Harbowl. I’m looking forward to the experience!

by Dave Capuano

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