Creating A Sensory Experience

2008 | Dec 18 in Home Page News , Management , Lead Conversion , Client Fulfillment

By E-Myth Business Coach,

Sensory ExperienceCreating a positive customer experience involves more than just delivering your product and service "on time, exactly as promised." At every point of contact with your customers — at every "touch point" — your business must be engineered to create positive associations and expectations of gratification. Indeed, the sensory experience of your customer plays an important role in their perception of the value your business provides. The sensory experience of a business includes the look and feel of your business, the location, logo and marketing materials, employee appearance and attitude and the usability and value of your product. By customizing these sensory factors to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers, you can deliver an experience that turns one-time customers into long-term advocates.

Walking in a Customer's Shoes

To best understand how to improve the sensory experience of your business, you will need to step out of your role as owner and think about your product or services from your customer's point of view. It's important to remember that most customers don't really care about your business, its profitability and the costs involved in running it. Their primary concern is satisfying a specific need and getting the best value along the way. Customers expect to receive a great product or service. They want to be treated extremely well and they do not want to pay more then they have to. These are their minimum expectations of any business they buy from.

Understanding these minimum requirements and the options your customers have available to them is an important first step in designing a memorable customer experience. Here a few questions that will help you take an objective look at how well your business satisfies your customer's minimum requirements. Once you've analyzed your answers, you can begin making small improvements to the customer experience that will positively differentiate your business from the competition.

  • What is the primary need my customers want to satisfy by coming to my business?
  • What are the main factors they will consider when making a purchase decision?
  • What are the five most convenient alternatives (competitors) they have for satisfying this need?
  • On a scale from one to 10, how effectively do you feel your business is doing in consistently delivering on your customer's minimum requirements?

Get Feedback

Making changes to your business's sensory experience can be costly and hard to quantify. If you make major changes without first gathering input from your customers, you risk being seen as inconsistent and could possibly alienate your loyal customers. Using surveys, focus groups and feedback forms to collect information from your customers is the best way to learn what improvements to make. Ask your customers a few simple questions about their experience with your business and their needs, and design your customer experience to meet and exceed those expectations.

Gather feedback on the following categories:

  • Location – The physical appearance of your business has a huge impact on the sensory experience. Think about the cleanliness of your business, the comfort level it provides, the professionalism - it's all important, and it's all about first impressions.
  • Employees – The appearance and attitude of employees. We've all had bad experiences dealing with somebody who's cranky or sloppy when delivering their service and it severely impacts how we feel about the business they represent. It only takes one bad experience to turn somebody away - for good.
  • Marketing –The appeal, clarity and design of your company's logo and related marketing material.
  • Competitors – Become a "Secret Shopper" and visit competitor locations, buy a product from them, visit their website and analyze their marketing materials. Talk with your customers about them. The more information you have about where the competition fall short, the better you can do at fulfilling the needs of the market.

Putting it all Together

With some real feedback in hand, create a list of five improvements you want to make to your businesses sensory experience. Prioritize the list and set a near-term time line to put a few of the changes in place. Revisit this exercise at least once a year to ensure your business is always at the forefront in your industry.

Does your client experience match the business sensory experience you intended to create? How has your client's perception of your business changed once you intentionally created a systematic client/business experience? Tell us about it!


  1. .Mark R. says:

    I agree with the prmise of this article. Take a minute and "shop" your business. What does it offer or not offer that can be adjusted. Remember the customers vote for you every time they make a purchase. Thank them for there vote with a positive experience they will share with others.

    Mark www.atomicpenny.com

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 9:31 AM

  2. .Vi W. says:

    It's important to never lose sight of your competitors.

    When I read the title, the first place that came to my mind was Starbucks. There is a company who does an excellent job of creating a sensory experience from the moment you walk in the door.

    Vi Wickam

    On-Site Computer Solutions

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 9:49 AM

  3. .Rob W. says:

    Excellent.  We use automated surveys (sent through email) the day after we have rented our products to our customers.  It has given wonderful insight into our customers' perception of our company.  I'm getting ready to open a retail location in the near future and I'm grappling between making the space look inviting and relaxing to shop vs. making sure that it maintains the "fun" feel of our business while also making sure that we're not giving off the perception that we're expensive (very price sensitive market).

    Funtastic Jumps  - Party Rentals

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 10:37 AM

  4. .evan p. says:

    very interesting, I am an artist and I have never really given much thought to the sensory experience that people are actually exclusivley paying top dollar for.

    The texture of the paint the brilliance of color, the immensity of size.

    All things that I will now amp up to take into consideration.


    Evan Peelle


    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 11:27 AM

  5. .Adam K. says:

    Great work !

      Thank you !

      Adam Krasowski

      Owner of Mr. Bio Ltd. Poland

      <a href="www.biodynamicznie.pl">BioDynamicznie.pl</a>

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 11:34 AM

  6. .Elaine S. says:

    Your "sensory experience" is in alignment with "A Whole Mind" by Daniel Pink.  Pink states that there is so much abundance (so many companies to choose from) that you must provide additional elements to be unique.  Things like design are no longer optional - it can make-or-break your business.  Great book and great reminder here.  Thanks!

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 4:19 PM

  7. .Wendy F. says:

    I have a small religious bookstore. Back in 1999 I had my store redesigned by a professional in my industry. Before that time I looked okay, but the store was getting very old. After I had remodeled, customers who had been doing business with me for many years couldn't believe the difference. I was told I looked very professional. The end result was that I doubled my sales in 1 years time! I can well identify with a sensory experience in one's business. At this time of the year I go all out in decorating, and I burn cinnamon spice liquid potpourri in a small burner by the door. It really makes a big difference!!

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 5:26 PM

  8. .Chris Munday M. says:

    My own experience confirms exactly what you saying, we sell a franchised painting & decoring service to existing painting contractors already in thier own business. Whilst we offer a strong brand identity and logo awareness in Australia, it is the sensory feel orf our marketing tools and service policies which truly become the brand and creates the perception that drives referral business. 

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 6:14 PM

  9. .frank j. says:

    am still in love with the e-myth team and your entire methodology.Michael Gerber is a BLESSING for our generation. from Naija

    Submitted Dec 18, 2008 10:17 PM

  10. .christen s. says:

    Great Article.  I liked Rob W. suggestion of a follow-up survey.  It is an excellent opportunity to determine what is perceived to be important by the client.  I will borrow this idea.

    Thanks. www.,morogroup.net

    Submitted Dec 19, 2008 6:46 AM

  11. .martin t. says:

    It is so easy to be succesful in business today! All you have to do to achieve a succesfull business is become the customer and deliver a service that the competition lacks. Perception, branding and delivery of your product and or service are the three main elements your customers experience, so as I said before become the customer and improve your experience. Great article.                                        Martin, Sydney AUSTRALIA Business Growth.

    Submitted Dec 19, 2008 2:52 PM

  12. .Ken N. says:

    This article talks about "creating a positive sensory experience" and there's a junior-high level grammar error (then/than) in the first sentence!

    I counted another then/than issue and two other fairly basic grammar errors in this article. How does that create a positive sensory experience for those of us who are wordsmiths--or even have solid grammar skills at the high school level?

    I see a LOT of this these days and it's a relatively easy fix! Just make sure that before information goes out from your business, either in print or on the Web, it gets proofed by someone who is skilled in these things.For some of us, failure to do so indicates carelessness  and a lack of attention to detail.

    Submitted Dec 21, 2008 7:49 PM

  13. .Louise C. says:

    One of the important points brought up in this article is how important it is to ask your customers about their experiences with your competition.

    Recently we had the opportunity to ask a client for some in depth info on one of our competitors and what they shared was extreamly helpful. We now have a better vision of what our customer experience should be and how to really differentiate ourselves from that competitor.

    Submitted Dec 23, 2008 10:53 AM

  14. .Charles J. says:

    I'm a therapist who hasn't thought about business in quiet the same way ever since I've become increasingly more and more familiar with Michael Gerber's work.  This article is indicative of this last statement.

    Thinking about the look and feel of my business has prompted me to construct a feedback form and ask my clients some probing questions. The feedback I've received has helped me understand business success at a very visceral level - a level that I previously thought tangential to the success of a business like my own.

    Submitted Dec 23, 2008 1:56 PM

  15. .Erica L. says:

    I agree with the premise of this article and as a Thai Yoga bodyworker, strive to maintain the same sensory experience for each clients, down to my uniform, email confirmations, lighting, and music (I have a personally selected Melt Therapy playlist). 

    One time, my iPod speakers broke and I couldn't play the music -- clients noticed right away, causing me to quickly rectify the matter! 

    As a result of a consistent, predictable sensory experience, my clients constant remark on the "professionalism" of my business.



    Submitted Dec 30, 2008 2:16 PM

  16. .Leon T. says:

    Yes, I agree with the document. However, I have a problem with converting these somewhat soft concepts into the realities of a manufacturing environment.

    I have a client that manufactures bodies for large commercial vehicles. The factory entrance is not pretty, the factory floor is noisy and busy and the office is barely acceptable.

    How can we turn this into a sensory experience that the client will enjoy. I would appreciate comments and advice from the e-myth community

    Leon Theron

    The Better Business Trust, South Africa 

    Submitted Jan 2, 2009 2:04 PM

  17. .mjjj m. says:

    have a sensory look to you business and have a simple system in place and ready to sell franchise . i wish i colud do that

    Submitted Jan 10, 2009 10:12 PM

  18. .Charles M. says:

    I Like the idea of wearing the client's shoes. It creates a paradigm shift in the business.

    Submitted Jan 13, 2009 4:02 AM

  19. .Brooke H. says:

    We are a Benjamin Moore Signature store.  Thanks to their support, our store has a new look and indeed, as they promised sales in every department have improved.  We have employee meetings once a week.  At this time we are focusing on customer feedback.

    Submitted Feb 10, 2009 2:17 PM

  20. .Reginald D. says:

    Never underestimate the "VOC" (Voice of the Customer). It's a term that we use in six sigma to emphasize the importance of understanding the customer's needs and wants; oftentimes from direct validation by the customer.

    Customer surveys are a powerful means by which to validate what is important to the customer. We've heard it said that perception is reality. Taking this to heart, we should understand that if the customer thinks for a moment that we are not genuinely concerned with with what's important to him/her, our relationship with that customer is in jeopardy. The mere fact that you engage a customer on how you can improve their shopping experience begins to show that customer that you value his/her opinion. Imagine if you take it a step further and provide direct feedback to customers on the changes that you have implemented as a result of their input, and gave explanations for ideas that will not be implemented.

    The customer should always feel that you are valuing his/her needs and desires above all else. As business owners, we can always guess about what is important to the customer, but it is much better to ask the customer, directly. This helps us to minimize the chance of making unwise business decisions that waste time and resources and might actually hurt sales instead of helping sales.

    To your continued success,


    Submitted Sep 16, 2009 9:50 AM

  21. .Bobby A. says:

    Yes, We also do a follow up survey via email. Helps build up good reviews and customers often give you new leads in our case Birthdays coming up in their family. Just my .02   


    Submitted Jun 29, 2011 12:17 PM

  22. .Todd C. says:

    We find it challenging to put together an email survey and to come up with a list of improvements to constantly work on.


    Submitted Apr 30, 2012 8:50 AM

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