Moments That Matter


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I was only 15 when my father died unexpectedly. Even though our father-daugher time was scarce, he managed to give me some long-lasting, life-changing moments.

I was probably nine or ten when my dad, as branch manager for our small-town local utility, invited me to lunch with his ‘big boss’ from the home office. I can still picture the three of us sitting in a booth at the Palomino Restaurant on the outskirts of town. Today, I realize what a powerful signal that “event” sent to my psyche. It said: My dad is really proud of me. He’s made a special place for me at a very important table. Small moment: Big impact. Fast forward to college and time to choose a career path. Both my mother and grandmother were public school teachers, but I felt a different calling — I wanted a seat at the table of business. My heart told me to go for it… afterall, I smiled to myself, “I’ve been there once before.”

Last week, an air conditioning tech climbed down my attic stairs after trouble-shooting a problem with an over-flow valve. “Who did your system install?” he asked. Aware that his company was not the installer, I shared that fact, bracing myself for the competitor-bashing comments and sales pitch I was sure would follow. “The company did an excellent job,” he said to my surprise. Small moment. Big impact. His six simple words instantly reframed my customer mindset away from “Can I trust him?” to “How can he help me?”

Loyalty lesson: Whether your role is parent, repair tech, or something in between, you have the power to build moments that matter. Surprisingly, it’s often the smallest moments that carry the biggest messages. What signals are you sending and receiving? It’s a question worth pondering.

Jill Griffin
Griffin Group
Jill Griffin is a "Harvard Working Knowledge" author of three books on customer loyalty. She serves as public board director for Luby's Cafeterias, Fuddruckers and Jimmy Buffets' Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants. Microsoft, Dell, Marriott Hotels, Ford, Toyota, Wells Fargo, IBM, Subaru are a few of the clients served since she hung out her "Loyalty Maker" shingle in 1988. Jill delivers customized keynotes worldwide. Sign up for her monthly loyalty tip at


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