Updated: Oct 18
Can you think about an experience you had as a customer recently?
If it was a good experience, will you go back again?
What about a bad one?
Did you tell anyone about it?
And what will you do next time?
We have been doing some research into why people decide to take part in events and activities, and why they don’t. And whilst everyone is different, and different scenarios mean different things, what we found is this: there’s one thing that decides whether they will do it - or not.
It’s the experience that they have.
In the data that we have amassed and in the conversations that we’ve had, almost all of the evidence points to the fact that people who have had a positive experience want to do it again, and those that have had a negative experience, well they really don’t. And it also turns out this is doubly important, as it’s also likely that they will influence other people to do with them, or not.
While this may not come as a surprise to you, it is a question for you. Because even though we are all super busy, and we have so many things to achieve in our work, are you intentionally acting on this? In the experiences that you provide?
Intuition + Evidence
While we may believe that the meaningful experiences that we provide are powerful, it is also important to show that your experiences are not just about the ‘feelgood factor', and that your experiences are valuable in tangible, measurable ways.
Need more people? More often?
In the recent studies we have conducted, there is an obvious and consistent connection between the experiences that are being promoted, and whether people will want to sign up, or not.
We’ve found that at least 85-90% of people state that the experience offered is highly important to them - as to whether they will sign up - and there are always equally high results showing that the experience they had will influence whether or not they will come back again.
More people? Or less people??
Importantly, this goes both ways. There is always a strong association between those that had a positive experience, and their likelihood to come back again - but equally so - there is always a strong connection between those that had a negative experience stating that they would not come back – sometimes ever again.
More people talking about you
It’s just the same when people are asked if the experience that they had would influence what they will say about the event or session to other people. As you can imagine, there is always a solid relationship between those that had a positive experience, and their likelihood to say positive things about the experience.
As you would expect, there is always a strong connection between those that had a negative experience, stating that they will not say good things about their experience.
People will never forget how you made them feel... and they will let you know when they are not happy!
All of this is hugely important, as in almost every survey of how people hear about you it will be from 'word of mouth'. Is that the same for you?
Spending more and earning you more
The value and importance of your experiences doesn’t end there as the tangible influence of the experience keeps coming out in different ways. Like the fact that in many cases people who have a positive experience are likely to spend more, for longer, increasing their customer lifetime value to you.
Plus research also constantly shows audiences often also are more likely to support the partners and stakeholders associated with the experience, giving credence to the halo effect, and giving you evidence of the value that we all look to provide to partners and funders. And don't forget, if your providing a bad experience, no-one is going to partner with you!
And... fewer costs!
There is also support that providing a better experience cost you less, as it takes up far less time to look after satisfied customers than annoyed ones. Rectifying bad experiences can cost time and money, and the less measurable but completely known cost of time and energy which is burnt and used up when dealing with those who haven’t had a good experience, or even the experience they were expecting. And on top of that, there is the opportunity cost of taking you away from investing your time into more productive things, the things that you should be investing your valuable energy into.
A common mantra across many industries is that it is far cheaper to retain your audience than to invest in recruiting new customers. It's also easier acquiring new customers and having existing customers recommending you – only of course- if they are having good experiences. If your customers are saying things about you, good things, your recruitment and retention is being done for you.
Think about that experience you had recently.
Did you talk about it afterwards?
What did you say?
If it was a good experience?
What about if it was bad?
Less stress, more fun
And finally perhaps from our perspectives most importantly, it's not just about them. Providing positive experiences provide value for you and your team at a personal level.
Having to deal less with people having negative experiences creates a whole lot less stress for the people behind the scenes. We have even found in the teams that know they are providing a good experience are getting more back from their work, and that these people are enjoying the experience of providing experiences.
So what you and I believe to be true is in fact the case, it’s all about designing and providing positive experiences.
It turns out that if you’re looking to get more people, more often, making things more manageable, profitable and enjoyable, it feels and looks like the experience is the not so secret key to success.
That is and will be, what matters the most.
So, knowing that the experience matters the most is the starting point.
The trick then is to understand and satisfy your people’s expectations.
So that you can provide an experience that will meet their needs, and achieve the right outcomes for you.
If I can help you understand and design the experiences you and your people need, please do let me know!