February 25, 2013

Turning the Ordinary into Extraordinary!

Commoditized. No organization wants that word applied to its goods or services. Merely mentioning commoditization sends shivers down the spines of executives and entrepreneurs alike. Differentiation disappears, margins fall through the floor, and customers buy solely on the basis of price.

Consider, however, a true commodity: the coffee bean. Companies that harvest coffee or trade it on the futures market receive (at the time of this writing) a little more than 75 cents per pound, which translates into 1 or 2 cents a cup. When a manufacture roasts, grinds, packages, and sells those beans in a grocery store, turning them into a good, the price to a consumer jumps to between 5 and 25 cents a cup (depending on brand and package size). Brew the ground beans in a run-of-the-mill diner, quick-serve restaurant, and that coffee-making service now sells for 50 cents to a $1.50 per cup.

But wait: serve that same coffee in a five-star restaurant or a cafe such as Starbucks – where the ordering, creation, and consumption of the cup embody a heightened ambience or sense of theatre – and consumers gladly pay $2 to $5 a cup. Businesses that ascend to this fourth level of value establish a distinctive experience that envelops the purchase of coffee, increasing its value by two orders of magnitude over the original commodity.

The preceding paragraphs come from The Experience Economy, Updated Edition, written by Joseph Pine and James Gilmore in 2011. The book (an excellent one, by the way) establishes the concept of the experience, and why it is so important to organizations of all types today – ChurchWorld included.

After reading the first release of The Experience Economy in 2002, I became fascinated at the lesson of the coffee bean and how it could be applied to ChurchWorld. In particular, how Starbucks was creating an experience.

At Starbucks, an ordinary commodity – coffee – is transformed into an EXTRAORDINARY experience.

ChurchWorld can learn a lesson or two – or three or four – from Starbucks.

You can turn an ordinary process – welcoming Guests – into an Extraordinary Experience.

To learn more about the secrets to EXTRAORDINARY customer experiences at Starbucks, I began investigating Starbucks (now that’s research I have really gotten into!) to see what ChurchWorld leaders can learn. Throughout this 40 Day Guest Experience, we will be visiting Starbucks several different times, taking a look at these four areas:

  • Product
  • Place
  • Process
  • People

You will be amazed at what you can learn for application at your church!

Day #6 in the 40 Day Guest Experience Journey

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