03/13/2012 03:55 pm ET Updated May 13, 2012

Why Your Customer Wants to Experience Instead of Consume

You may have the best product or service on the market, but if your brand isn't centered around the customer experience, you will struggle.

Companies like Apple and Virgin design all their products and services with the customer experience in mind. This is why they have millions of raving fans, are worth billions and, particularly in Apple's case, they don't have to offer bargain-basement discounts to get customers in the door.

Your customer doesn't want to consume. In the 1980s and 1990s, known brands did well because customers were more interested in having a house full of labels than having any real experience with the product/service or brand. However, the internet changed all of that -- it gave people more choice, more access and with that comes a hunger for experience, connection and control.

Take a moment to think of the industry leader in your profession. Why are they known, make more sales and have more raving fans? I can guarantee it's because they have put the customer experience at the heart of their organization. They make sure that everything from the website to the receptionist that answers the phone adheres to the customer experience protocol.

A great example is Macy's: You have head of the Macy's Day Parade, right? The parade that brings back all your favorite childhood characters that make their way once a year down to 34th Street. Have you heard of the movie Miracle on 34th Street? Macy's understands that what matters is the customer experience.

I often tell my clients to not compete on the price but rather on the experience, as that will keep you in business.

Spend an hour today and look at your business and ask yourself the following questions:

1. How can you roll out the carpet for your customers?
2. What is the experience that you want your customers to have with your business/brand?
3. What within your business needs to be changed to accommodate the customer experience?

Once you have answered the above questions put together a to-do list and start implementing. You will be amazed at how focusing on the customer experience will change your business.