Defining Moments are moments when a customer has an opportunity to judge how well you have met their expectations. If you are a business leader, do some quick math. How many defining moments are your employees having with your customers? Are these moments positive, neutral or negative? If you don’t know, you could be in trouble.

Too many businesses assume no news is good news, but nothing could be further from the truth.

It is a no-brainer that you want to avoid negative defining moments. Our research shows 93 percent of customers will defect from a business after fewer than three bad experiences, and more than 1/3 of them report posting their dissatisfaction on social media.

But negative defining moments aren’t your biggest threat; neutral defining moments are. If you are not exceeding your customer’s expectations and building customer loyalty, customers feel free to roam the competitive landscape.

So how can you assure that your employees are managing defining moments and exceeding your customer’s expectations? Follow these three tips:

  • Create a customer experience roadmap. Map out every touch point a customer could have with your organization and determine who is responsible for making sure these defining moments are positive.
  • Ask your customers how you are doing. Not in general terms, but rather ask them how well each function is meeting their expectations. Remember your customers’ loyalty rests on your weakest defining moment.
  • Make sure your people have the skills to deliver the four things that our research tells us that customers want:
    1. Respect — Customers expect caring, individual attention in all interactions. They want to know you care about them and you have their best interest at heart.
    2. Solutions — Customers expect an employee to make an honest effort to resolve or help them resolve their issues, whether by correcting mistakes, offering options or flexing policies in approved ways.
    3. Simplicity — Customers dislike complex processes and generally want to be spared the details of internal activities and issues. Yet many customers do want to hear about high-level next steps to meet their needs.
    4. Responsibility — Even if interpersonal skills are the foundation for positive defining moments, a customer experience sours quickly without timely delivery of exactly what is promised.

If you can constantly deliver on these four customer expectations at each touchpoint, you will be creating positive defining moments that will differentiate you over your competitor, build customer loyalty and avoid death by neutral defining moments.

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