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“Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills”

Shep Hyken speaks with James Gilmore, co-author of, “The Experience Economy,” one of the best business books of all-time. In this episode of Amazing Business Radio, Shep talks to Jim about his latest book, “Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observational Skills.” Jim shares tips on improving your observational skills and how to gain different perspectives that will help you become more successful at work – and especially with what you do for your customers. You

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Top Takeaways:

  • The economy has evolved over time from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy, then to a service economy and finally to an experience economy, where the experience a customer has is the most valuable component.
  • Service and experience are two different but related things. Service is what you as the company do. Experience is the customer’s time and perception of the interaction and relationship that occurs through that service.
  • Experience goes beyond the product being sold to customers. A good example of this is Starbucks. They are able to sell coffee at a premium because of the ambiance, environment, and relationship they create for and with their customers.
  • Customization and personalization are key components in staging an experience. Customers today want to spend less time with goods and services, but will spend more time with events and places that engage them with a personalized and memorable experience.
  • Today, every business must compete against the smartphone for customers’ attention. It allows customers to instantly disengage from a place, product or service.
  • People are consuming experiences today in smaller chunks, which can be referred to as the miniaturization of consumption. People may not take large vacations, but they do seek out and take “mini-vacations” that last just an hour—or two or three. It may be in the form of a fun afternoon at an escape room or even spending time in a coffee shop.
  • Experiences are inherently personal and differentiated. Challenge yourself to constantly see things anew through the lens of the customer. This ensures you’re delivering the best possible experience all around.


“Time is the currency of experiences. If you get people to spend more time with you, they will spend more money with you.”

“Every business today faces the same number one competitor: the smartphone. If you are not engaging people in a compelling way, they can leave you with the mere swipe of a screen, and then they’re gone.”

“There’s a fundamental difference between time well saved and time well spent.”

“Service is what you do. The experience is the customer’s time.”

“Commodities, goods and services exist outside of people. Experiences occur inside people. They are inherently personal and different from person to person.”



Jim Gilmore is co-founder of Strategic Horizons LLP. He has authored and co-authored several books, has been published in many leading business publications, co-edits Markets of One and teaches/lectures at several colleges and universities.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. What is the difference between service and experience?
  2. How do smartphones affect the customer experience?
  3. How can I improve my customer service and customer experience?
  4. What role does personalization play in the customer experience?
  5. How can I effectively engage my customers?

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