Your Business is a Black Box
No matter what your business . .
Profits result from what it creates that's outside of it. That's where your customers are and where they experience the benefits.
Inside the black box, the parts that are invisible to customers, is effort and expense.
Profits Outside/ Expense Inside. Where should your focus be?
So, for the purpose of this thought experiment, let's keep the focus outside by imagining your business is a black box . . . with all that matters being outside of it.
Customers Pull for What They Want: Pullfillment
The word "pull" is a clean label for the actions people take to get what they want from companies. Customers "pull" from companies in order to create the desired Pullfillment: the experience of using the product or service.
I think "pull" is a better word than customer "demand" since demand might be construed as a whim, a mere want that falls far short of action to fulfill it. It is only when that desire turns into action - in particular the willing giving of money, time, and other resources - that it becomes real enough to be "pull".
Pull is action to satisfy demand for a product or service. Even if a company sends a sales force out to push for new business, it only gets the business if prospects pull in response.
We could say “customer experience” (AKA CX) except for the need to relate it to the satisfaction of a particular pull. So pullfillment it is.
With that in mind, let's explore a deeper understanding of pull and the resulting pullfillment. Check out this graphic:
This image shows the pull-to-pullfillment conversion engine "black box" that inputs pull and outputs pullfillment. A good black box makes a lot of pullfillment with relatively little pull. An inefficient black box needs a lot of pull to create relatively little pullfillment.
Consider it a simple vending machine. It's like customers are putting money, time and trouble into that vending machine like a few quarters to get a cold Diet Coke: the intended pullfillment. They might get a regular coke instead. Or it might be lukewarm instead of cold as expected. Or the machine could just eat their quarters and not give them back. Infuriating, especially when the cashier inside shrugs his shoulders and won't give a refund.
There's the anticipated pullfillment and then there's the actual pullfillment. When they're not the same thing, there's a pullfillment gap.
Up next: Understanding and using the pullfillment gap can transform both marketing results and customer experience.