Business Innovation Must Focus on Customer Outcomes

Companies today are not in business to produce and sell products or deliver services. Today, businesses need to think more about selling outcomes.

Consumers are no longer content with purchasing products and services. Today they want meaningful experiences with companies and their wares. They want something beyond the utilitarian functionality. They want to intact with things in new and different ways.

Why does it matter? Because without fundamental changes, businesses are finding that customers are disengaged. Or more accurately, customers are more likely to be engaged with a competitor who is delivering the service they expect.

Take the National Hockey League as an example. The league has invested significantly in recent years in technologies that keep them in better proximity with fans. Why? To increase loyalty, encourage upselling and deliver a heightened experience.

Pretend that our typical hockey fan is a Boston-based guy who just loves the Boston Bruins. He’s told the NHL that the Bruins are his favorite team and that star forward Patrice Bergeron is his favorite player.

The NHL stores that data in its complex database. Our fan then decides to go to a game and of course, he buys a ticket. The NHL know knows that this Bruins-loving, Bergeron-loving fan is attending a game whether in Boston or elsewhere. The NHL can send our fan a thank you for purchasing the ticket and personalize the message, hoping he enjoys seeing Bergeron and the Bruins play. The morning of the game, our fan can receive game notes, a highlight video of Bergeron and team stats.

The league may encourage our fan to spread the word via social media and suggest certain hashtags to use,

The game is over and the talented forward scored two goals, including the game-winner. As our fan is walking out of the stands, there may very well be a congratulatory instant message from the league, along with a discount coupon at the pro shop that’s located conveniently between his seats and the exit. He may even get a special added discount on a Bergeron jersey.

The morning after the game, the fan gets an official league game summary and video.

For the NHL, the business strategy is clear: use the various analytics tools and fan-provided data to optimize the fan experience. Provide inexpensive information that adds deep value to the fan experience before and after the game, too. Encourage the fan to help spread the excitement and thrills of attending a professional hockey game.

The NHL is just one example of how companies are seeing and seizing on the opportunity to use integrated technologies – connected devices, data collection, mobile devices, wireless communication – and combine it with marketing, sales, customer service and branding, to create a heightened consumer experience.

Companies need to consider the ways they collect data from customers, use that information effectively, and leverage opportunities when they happen in the moment of need for customers. In the process, these forward-thinking firms may very well end up with some new fans of their own.