Description of the Four Realms of a Customer Service
Technological innovations and the shifting needs of customers have increased competition in the hospitality and tourism industry demanding the tourism enterprises to concentrate on offering personalized experiences that customers can participate. In regards to this, Pine and Gilmore (1999) provided a basis for comprehending and assessing customer experiences as it is the major product in the tourism industry. The authors theorized the fundamental elements of customer experiences as 4Es: Educational, Esthetic, Escapist, and Entertainment experiences. These proposed 4Es are based on the active or passive participation of a customer and on immersion or absorption in the experience. Active participation portrays Escapist and Educational experiences while passive participation exemplifies the Esthetic and Entertainment experiences (Pine, 2011). An active customer normally takes in educational and entertainment experiences and engages in escapist and esthetic experiences. On the other hand, a passive customer does not directly influence these experiences. The figure below illustrates the 4Es as suggested by Pine and Gilmore (1999).
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Note: Realms of a service experience by Pine and Gilmore (1999)
Entertainment experiences involve watching performances, events or activities of other people. In this case, the customer passively participates in the production of the entertainment, however, their mind is actively involved as they enjoy the performances or events (Pine and Gilmore, 1999). Educational experiences entail enhancing customer's skill and knowledge by actively involving their intellect. It is often perceived as a serious experience. Esthetic experiences involve customer satisfaction through an improved, distinctive physical strategy (Pine, 2011). It is through this experience that the customer appreciates for being involved in the business. Escapist experiences entail the active participation of customer in the occasions of a virtual or real context. The customer determines or facilitates the experience, which provides the customer with a means of acquiring a new identity.
Application of the Four Realms of Customer Experience in two different Companies
Companies may focus on creating one experience or a combination of all four experiences. For instance, Starbucks Corporation and Walt Disney offer all 4Es.
Starbucks is an American coffee corporation and coffeehouse chain. The company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee across the globe. The company's mission is to cultivate and stimulate human essence with one individual, one cup and one area at a moment (Grill-Goodman, 2018). All over the world, Starbucks is well known due to the unique experience it generates for the customers.
Starbucks asks customers to have active participation by ordering coffee and interacting with the staff. At the same time, the company generates a sense of immersion in the actual sensation of each store. Customers inactively immerse themselves in the comfortable, innovative interior of the store (Kim and Cho, 2017). In fact, it is a calm and comforting environment, with lots of unique features, where individuals can relax and forget their troubles while enjoying the coffee. This experience goes hand in hand with the friendly pricing of products in the company.
In Starbucks, customers actively participate in the preparation of the coffee where they can be enlightened about the preparation strategies and recipes. The company allows customers to customize their cup of coffee and make them feel like it is their won, however, they do charge them for having such experience, hence, leading to increased sales and revenue. These charges do not really seem to frustrate the customers as they love their mind and bodies being involved in the operations at Starbucks (Kim and Cho, 2017).
Besides, the company hosts performances and events, where the customers can inactively absorb the performance while taking a cup of coffee. When customers walk in the Starbucks store, they smell and taste the coffee, hear the performances, see the performers and images on the walls, making the experience much better (Grill-Goodman, 2018). This attracts many customers from diverse contexts who like having a great time as they watch or hear performances, music, or movies.
Recently, Starbucks unveiled a cross-media multi-layered campaign that was meant to drive consumer engagement with the product and creating a moment of escapism (Kim and Cho, 2017). As such, the customers can immerse themselves in the campaign as they are given chances to go participate by requesting their favourite music and even winning prizes. The campaign generated a perfect environment for a moment of escapism for customers.
If there is a company that has enhanced customer satisfaction and experience, it is Walt Disney – a diversified global family entertainment and media enterprise. While delivering a great customer experience might appear like an easy task, Disney uses much more to satisfy the consumers. The company aims at making magical experiences and generating happiness through these experiences.
Similar to Starbucks, Walt Disney's value chain comprises the four realms purposed to create value and cost benefit to the business. The most notable customer experience provided in Disney is the entertainment. The customers passively participate in the creation of the entertainment, nevertheless, their mind is actively involved as they watch the events, programs and performances at their homes, or theaters (Gilliland, 2017).
Disney is much more than just entertainment as it enables consumers to entirely immerse themselves in its world. It provides hotels for customers to enjoy the services the moment they wake up to the time they sleep. The esthetic experience has significantly helped the company to generate high revenue and enhanced customer satisfaction. Earlier this year, it was announced that Disney would open a 100 per cent immersive hotel, where guests would view and participate in subjected layers throughout their vacation.
With numerous people attending Disney parks daily, generating a special connection with customers is an essential component of Disney's business strategy. The company utilizes technology to deliver escapist experiences, especially tools that help to both enhance and streamline the hotels and parks. For instance, the MyMagic+ system actively involves customers to plan and access information and perks at any place (Gilliland, 2017). The system acts likes a room key, alternative means of payment and a parking ticket. The system is still advancing, with reports signifying that the technology will be compatible with smartphones in the coming days.
Most importantly, Walt Disney is a perfect place for learning and growth in addition to the entertainment. The company offers a wide range of opportunities for learning about new things, places and people (Gilliland, 2017). Customers' minds are actively involved in the resorts and parks, which offer some special learning opportunities.