In the world of customer service, the phrase “defining moment” can be defined as any moment in time when your customer has the opportunity to evaluate how well you have met their expectations.
In this omni-channel world, your customers’ journey can start anywhere: on the web, when they call a contact center or when they walk into your place of business. If you want to truly own that experience you must make sure you are executing on five areas:
- Break your service interaction into a series of defining moments. Let’s say you are a woman’s specialty retailer. Your customer pulls into your parking lot, can she find a space? She walks into the door, is she greeted? Once she’s gathered a few items in her hand, is she asked if she wants a dressing room started? These are all defining moments. If you meet her expectations, those moments will be neutral, if you don’t they will be negative. Only if you exceed her expectations will these defining moments be positive. There are a lot of DMs in just one visit to your store. Ask yourself, who is responsible for these moments? Do you know if they are positive or negative? If not, you have work to do. Map your customers’ journey from start to finish to fully understand the experience.
- Determine which of these moments are most important to your customer? You can’t manage every defining moment, and frankly they don’t all have the same level of importance to your customer. So, determine which defining moments are critical, which ones, if managed well, can set you apart from your competitors. The only way to do this is to ask your customers.
- Manage those key defining moments down to the smallest detail and leave nothing to chance. Now that you know which defining moments matter most, put all your efforts into making these experiences extraordinary in your customers’ eyes. If greetings are important, don’t just greet your guest, hand them a bottle of water when they enter your business. If the experience at the dressing room is where she needs help, create a staffing model that will provide 100 percent coverage at this spot. If written communication to confirm an order matters most, put great care in making that notice positive and memorable. This is where you will want to go the extra mile.
- Now do it repeatedly and consistently. Inconsistency is the kiss of death. Once you set the bar high you need to keep it there. If you dazzle your customer on their first visit, they’ll be expecting that on their second. If you fall short, it will sting even more. Make sure your associates know that stellar service is not for days with low call volume or slow traffic, but must be an everyday, all day thing!
- Get feedback and make course corrections. The problem with expectations is that once they are met, they become the expected, and it won’t take long for your competitor to catch up. So seek continuous feedback from your customers, and be prepared to raise the bar yourself.
By focusing on these five areas you will take greater control over your customers’ experiences and differentiate yourself from the competition. Never forget, in the game of customer service, the customer always bats last.