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The New Strategy for Lifetime Loyalty: Balancing 'Products' and 'Services'

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Successful organizations refuse to be pigeonholed. That's why companies like Airbnb are offering increasingly unique, valuable services and products. What was once simply an affordable hospitality service is now the source for expansive, customizable travel experiences.

Airbnb straddled the line between "product" and "service" to improve its growth plan. It took what could have remained a simple platform for booking accommodations and surrounded it with value-added services to benefit the consumer.

Deciding when and how -- and whether -- to expand entails a constant balancing act for companies in any industry, from banking to insurance to retail. But Airbnb succeeded because it didn't fragment what it offered to build out a competitive features list; it focused on providing additional value for its customers based on their core needs.

Related: Check Out the Airbnb Camping Experience for Owners and Their Dogs

Of course, Airbnb's success demonstrates how arbitrary it can be for a company to choose between the labels "product" and "service." A company's triumph in the modern "system" era depends more on customers' experiences than how that company presents its brand. Consumers, then, shouldn't have to decide between the "what" and the "how" of a brand: An engaging, interactive relationship is what's needed to make customers feel that they're a part of the organization.

Nike, for instance, doesn't........

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