Product Management Tactics — Every product is a service, and every service is an experience

KEY TAKEAWAY

It is imperative to understand how customers actually use the product, so you can build the correct product.

OUR TAKE

If you thought that bottle of water that you purchased at your local convenience store was simply a bottle of water… it turns out that you’re wrong.  It’s not just a bottle of water. You are indeed buying a service… and an experience.

According to Bob Moesta, every product is actually a service.  And every service is an experience. That bottle of water actually is performing a service to you.  You didn’t buy it for no particular reason. You were thirsty. Maybe you just had a long morning run and needed to refuel your body.  Or, perhaps you have been driving for hours on a roadtrip and found yourself parched. Either way, your body had a thirst and that bottle of water was performing a service to quench that thirst.

But… you can quench your thirst in many ways.  You could have stopped at that rusty water fountain centrally located in the park that you just ran through.  Or, you could simply just order a water at the diner that you know you’re also stopping at on your roadtrip pit-stop.  But instead, you chose the bottle of water. Why? Perhaps it was knowing that the water would be ice cold going down as you chugged it.  Or, maybe it was that the bottle provides a convenient way for you to make sure that if you get thirsty again as you get back on the road, you have peace of mind knowing that some water will be right by your side in the cupholder.  

It might seem silly to think of a simple bottle of water as actually providing you with a service and that consuming it is a part of a bigger, more important experience — but it’s all important.  The choices made by the designers of the bottle itself are very important choices. Is it important to have a screw on lid — or a pop-up nozzle? That choice affects the overall experience you’ll have as a consumer.

So, for your product — what is the problem that your customers have which your product solves for?

How do they experience your product?  How do they actually use it? What are other pieces of that experience that you may not think are actually product… but in reality, they are because it affects the experience?  Elements like live chat, marketing emails, app notifications are all parts of the overall experience.

Asking yourself these questions from time to time can help you build a better product (and service… and overall experience).