How Your Business Can Ensure Success in the Experience Economy

Way long ago in 1998–yes, that long ago–B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore published a piece in Harvard Business Review (link at the end of this article) that the experience economy had arrived. And, sure, in 20th Century terms, it had. As they explained in their article, the progression began with families buying items, such as Betty Crocker, because there was less kitchen time to prepare the ingredients for a child’s birthday cake. Then parents started going to the bakery store to pick up cakes for their kids and no longer making the cake at home. And, eventually in the late part of the 20th Century, with more work and other demands, families started to outsource the entire birthday to soup-to-nuts groups that did everything, such as Chuck E. Cheese and the Discovery Zone.

And now we’re in the 21st Century, and experience matters even more and companies are beginning to try out different technologies, for instance, virtual reality and augmented reality. Major corporations, such as Facebook and Apple, have made substantial investments into those technologies because the future is coming quickly and I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2018 we see some other global experience, such as Pok√©mon Go.

Smart marketers understand that creating an experience–with technology–is essential to being able to sell a product or service in today’s world. So, how do you do it?

Customer Experience Continuum

An essential activity to create an excellent customer experience program is not only to have excellent customer service but to go further and understand what your customer experience is from start to finish. From the moment a prospect sends you an email, places a call to your office or messages you in some way, what is the experience your company provides? Understand the entirety of the customer experience from the moment they initially reach out and to what happens after the purchase.

Words Matter for Customer Experience Principles

Once you understand the experience that occurs, and more importantly what you want to make sure your leads experience, you have to ask yourself (and your team) to help you develop principles that will guide the experience from start to finish. In this case, words matter. For example, are you looking for your clients to have “fun” while they partner with you? Are you looking for “excellence in communication”? Whatever the words are that matter to you, develop principles around them and ensure everyone on your team is onboard.

Data In and What Comes Out?

When you’re talking about data, your CRM is everything. You want to make sure your CRM captures everything that is essential to know about your leads and clients. If your team isn’t inputting every touchpoint with your customers, accurately, then you’re not going to be able to anticipate their needs. Part of the customer experience is to know what your prospects and partners are going to want, even before they want it. As an example, in one of my companies, our former partners get reminders at regular intervals about scheduling their next fundraiser with us.

Provide a Sensory Experience

Everyone is used to having many experiences throughout the day. If they’re scrolling social media, your leads and clients are being “marketed” to with live streams, videos or images. Corporations are moving toward providing people virtual experiences and with technology tools. Granted, we’re in the early stages of these types of moments, but it’s already started. If you want to buy a diamond ring, you can see the ring virtually on your hand by supplying a photo. You can also see how furniture will look in your home with apps and a VR headset. Think out of the box and discover creative ways to bring your products and services to market.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

If you’re not using it already, consider looking into your Net Promoter Score, or NPS. This measuring tool goes beyond simple customer satisfaction. The index calculation, based on the responses of your customers regarding how likely they would be to recommend you to others, helps you understand and predict future revenue growth. The best type of sales you can make are those based on the recommendations of others, particularly if you can predict revenue growth.

Humans haven’t changed since the publication by Pine and Gilmore in the HBR article. The only thing that has changed significantly is how technology has transformed our lives and the world writ large. Humans, however, have always wanted the same thing in a product or service. Consumers want the experience they have with your business to match the expectations they had in their mind when they first inquired about your product or service.

Is This Your Year To Have More Impact?

It’s a new year, which means an opportunity for new beginnings.

The beginning of more impact for you and your business.

Impact is more than a mission, more than a purpose.

Impact is where your uniqueness, your unique voice, meets the needs and desires of the world. It’s where only you can uniquely contribute in a meaningful and powerful way.

Having impact isn’t an accident. It’s a decision.

A decision to bring out the best in yourself. To bring out the best in your business.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite a long time, almost 22 years. It’s been a great journey of discovering myself, even while I was serving my clients. But it wasn’t until I made the decision to focus on impact that I started to have results that really mattered, to me, to my clients and my business, and to the larger world.

Having impact is a decision to take that extra step that impact requires: to step up and out into the world and contribute your best to others.

As I wrote in The Impact Manifesto, I believe that impact is grounded in love. Love for yourself, for others, and for the world in which you live.

Having impact, being a positive influence in the world, touches a deep human need to contribute and change lives for the better.

You can influence how things unfold at that level. And the ripple effect of all of us taking positive action means we can collectively influence the future for the better.

So I invite you to be the change you wish to see in the world. Is this your year to have more impact?

What would that look like, for you? What change do you want to see? How could things improve? How could your business be a vehicle in making that improvement?

You have the opportunity, as a business leader, to be a contributor to meaningful and positive change. You have the opportunity to have impact, maybe on a bigger scale than you’re ever imagined.

I invite you to look inside your business, for ways you can have more impact. How are you showing up for your clients? For your team members, even for your suppliers? How can you show up for the people who partner with you to deliver your product or service, so you can together have more impact?

How can you show up in your marketing, in a way that reflects your unique voice? How can you authentically be present for those you serve?

I invite you to look outside your business and see the tremendous opportunities there, for yourself and your business. And even beyond that: for the community and the larger world.

Your impact isn’t limited to your business and the influence your business has. Your impact is about your whole life. How are you showing up for the people in your life who matter to you? How are you showing up for the causes that are important to you?

Are you showing up in a way that honors your best, that honors the deep impact that only you can have?

Consider how you can show up as your best, in your business and your life.

We live in interesting times, as the Chinese proverb says, and it can be scary because we don’t know what’s coming.

You can empower yourself at times like this by focusing on where your best can have impact.

You matter. What you do matters. And what you contribute is a gift to all of us.

Ursula Jorch is a speaker, business coach and consultant who helps entrepreneurs grow a successful business that makes a difference in the world. A 21-year successful entrepreneur herself, Ursula helps you define the difference you want to make in the world and develop strategy and marketing so you have ever-expanding impact.

How Companies Are Reducing Spend With Expense Management Software?

The concept of an organized, planned program should be the base for increasing profits through cost reduction. There can be no basis for determining and evaluating costs unless adequate records are maintained through a proper accounting system. Simply slashing any and all expenses un-methodically cannot be a justifiable answer to reduce cost. Instead, businesses must understand the nature of expenses and how expenses inter-relate with sales, inventories, cost of goods sold, gross and net profits. Reduction of specific expenses doesn’t imply reducing cost, but you can achieve greater control by managing them effectively. Today, with businesses trying to get control over their expenses they need to try to get beyond the traditional ERPs. This is exactly what the CFOs of major organizations are trying to achieve. So why are CFO’s looking to do that? Major reasons being:

Reduce Spend and Stay within Budget
Reduce Cost of Processing (A/P, Procurement)
Reduce Occurrences of Malpractices, Frauds, and Non-Compliance
Have Timely & Accurate Closure of Expense Accounting
Build a good & professional relationship with employees, suppliers, auditors and regulatory bodies

Having an ERP today is just not enough and businesses need a software to manage and control expenses that also compliments the ERP. This is where the need for an expense management software steps in. There are many types of software which provide expense management solutions which cater to different needs of the industry like travel expense management software, employee expense management software, pay to procure software, invoice management software with other categories and sub-categories.

Over the years, organizations have been looking for ways to cut on their unwanted expenses, such as employee expenses, travel expenses, etc. Through employee’s expenses management software, this goal can be successfully achieved with the higher turn around time.

A complete expense management system incorporates the following features.

The Purchase Orders automation
DoA implementation
Budget control
Vendor invoices checks
Supplier invoices preparation

Expense management software integrated with the ERP has helped businesses cut on all their expenses and has offered many benefits such as:

The management can approve bills even without logging
They can claim input credit for GST with ease
Can track paper receipts easily
Provisioning of expenses is now accurate

In today’s business dynamics, ERP’s have limited ability and cannot handle the complexities of managing different expenses. Many businesses have realized that they require specialized ‘post-modern ERP’ solutions which take care all the activities in one go, helping them in reducing spending, cost of processing and risks to a great extent.