Where do CX practitioners go to get inspired? Customers, colleagues, peers in other companies, other industries, online communities like CustomerThink—all can share fresh ideas that keep us out of the CX slump. Books are good, too—especially when one comes along that not only has the power to change our perspective on CX, but also to change the way we do our jobs and lead our teams.
One of those books is The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. I was so impressed by the Heath brothers’ take on CX that I asked all my team members to read it. There was some initial pushback—“You’re adding assigned reading to everything else on my plate?”—but by the end of the exercise, everyone was thanking me for turning them on to the ideas in this powerful book.
Published in 2017, the book has reinforced many of the things we are doing for CX at the B2B software company for which I work. But we are also using its principles to make some changes for the better to our CX program.
Creating peak moments for customers
The book’s premise is that all great experiences hinge on peak moments, and one bad moment—one pit—can ruin years of steady loyalty for a customer. It’s these moments, the brothers say, that good CX teams should focus on, fixing the potholes, of course, but also creating more opportunities for stellar peaks.
I love what they have to say about “whelming” customers. A company can go for years keeping customers moderately satisfied with service, but unless you’ve really made them happy—overwhelmed them with some peak experiences—you’ll never move the customer satisfaction needle in any significant way.
I realized that the structure of our CX team aligns with the book’s recommended approach. Our CX Catalysts are made up of managers and other department leaders who contribute 20-25 percent of their time to CX activities. Our Catalysts use the journey mapping we continually do and the internal channels we’ve developed to ease customer frustration points—to fix the potholes, so to speak.
Earlier this year, we hired a Director of Customer Engagement to go beyond the “find and fix” work of the Catalysts and take our CX program to a new level of innovation, bringing more surprise and delight to the customer journey. After reading the Heath brothers’ book, I’ve added new language to the director’s job description: She’s in charge of creating more peak moments for our customers. It’s a description that gives new clarity to the goals of the director—one that is more customer-focused and results-driven than “bringing innovation to CX.”
More than new language, a new perspective
Our annual team planning meeting was different this year because of The Power of Moments. Our team is diverse, each member exceptional at what they do, from our data analyst who ensures we get good data and a “single version of the truth” from the many surveys our global company conducts, to our two extroverted Customer Advocates who work directly with our best customers to nurture their loyalty. I wanted to find a new way to bring them all together, something more than the traditional dinner with discussion afterward and then everyone going back to their hotel rooms and their specific CX niche. I wanted to create an experience they’d remember.
We went to Topgolf, a sports entertainment venue, where we were able to have some fun before dinner that evening and our formal planning session the next day. By the time of the gathering, everyone on the team had read The Power of Moments, so we kicked off the planning session by dissecting our Topgolf experience the night before—the potholes that included a technology glitch in a timing device, and the peaks, most notably, the innovative, climate-controlled hitting bays where we could choose our own music playlist, test our accuracy by hitting specific targets in the bay, and get to know each other through a unique team activity in a relaxed atmosphere before our work began.
Impact on customer onboarding, milestone celebrations and more
We then turned the discussion to how we wanted to use the book’s concepts in our own work. It was a terrific way of uniting each team member’s goals under one umbrella with a single goal: creating peak experiences for our customers. Throughout the course of the meeting, our discussions were energized by the book’s ideas. How do we go from merely “whelming” customers to overwhelming them with our dedication to their satisfaction with us? How can we make the survey experience more enjoyable? How can we reward loyal customers in ways that will really wow them?
One of the key learning points for our team was the book’s description of things that characterize an individual’s peak experiences. Some are moments of elevation, where you are lifted above the everyday routine; others are moments of insight that rewire your understanding of yourself or your world. Some are moments of pride in achieving something you didn’t think was possible or in being recognized for your work or your talents; others are moments of connection, where ties are deepened with other people, either individually or a group.
These specifics gave us a recipe for how to make peak moments for our customers. We discussed creating moments of pride and connection by celebrating the milestones our customers achieve with our solutions—when they install their first product, for example, or when they complete training, any peak moment that we often let our customers miss in our rush to get the job done. In addition, as we discussed ways to bring more moments of insight to customers, we agreed to gather “aha moments” or realizations from previous work with customers and share them with new customers in a collection of best practices during the onboarding process.
We also discussed revisiting our customer journey maps with the new perspective the Heath brothers had given us—from onboarding through the entire lifecycle—to see where the opportunities were for elevation, insight, pride, and connection. As we focused on ways we could improve our employee connections with our customers, we considered a project I have always wanted to do: Mapping the employee journey with our company, beginning with the very first day on the job. The goal will be to get a better handle on how we can improve the employee journey in ways that will have a positive impact on the customer journey as well. I’ll share our progress on that in a future article.
A guide for the coming year
Like many CX teams, we love what we do and are proud of the customer focus we help our company maintain every day. Part of our success lies in our willingness to try new things, new ways to improve this thing called customer experience. How we’ve embraced the Heath brothers’ book is an example of that.
In fact, one of the book’s authors, Dan Heath, will be the keynote speaker at our user conference this year. A gifted co-author of many books, he’s also a gifted presenter. In this video, you can hear his take on the psychology behind memorable customer experiences. We are excited about giving everyone in our company family an opportunity to meet him, and to be as inspired by his book as the members of my CX team are.
Wonderful article, Nancy! I couldn’t agree more. To truly make a difference, we can’t just make our customers happy. We have to WOW them.
Thanks, Jessica! In today’s market, customers want to be WOW’d with consistent and responsive service. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?