Kay Van Slooten
Kay Van Slooten
Customer experience (CX) has become a critical focus area for businesses seeking to connect with their customers in meaningful ways and differentiate themselves from their competitors. So popular is the topic of CX, it has its own global day (“CX Day”) to celebrate brands that create great customer experiences.
While most organizations recognize the importance of CX, many are still hesitant to embark on a CX journey. The trouble is, they simply don’t know where to start and find it overwhelming, as there are so many aspects to consider, from legacy platforms to outdated processes to frontline capabilities.
My advice to them is: You don’t have to wait until “all the right things” are in place before you can embark on a CX journey. An organization can make a tangible and meaningful difference to their CX with much smaller, purposeful moments. These moments are designed to evoke emotion—from frontline human-to-human interactions—which builds bonds with brands. Carefully crafted yet simple moments of interaction can elevate an experience out of the day-to-day and into something memorable and differentiating.
The key to crafting purposeful and consistent moments in a manner that they can be adopted is to create something that is:
Not tied to any given process (that may not be consistently adopted): Purposeful moments can be completely agnostic, meaning they’re not tied to an organization’s process, technology or systems. For example, even if varying Starbucks locations follow different processes or have different systems, there’s nothing stopping a barista from writing a customer’s name on a cup and calling out the name to match the customer with the beverage.
Not dependent on a particular skill (that may or may not be in existence in your frontline staff): While effective in their own right, purposeful moments based on a particular skill requires training, which takes time and costs money. Instead, you can create purposeful moments based on set behavioral expectations. Consider these small touches: A pizza place where employees open the pizza box and ask the customer if it’s to his/her satisfaction, or a hotel staff members getting in an elevator hit a button that’s higher than the guests’ floor, so guests exit first.
Not onerous to deliver: If purposeful moments are going to impact operations, take too much time, or be too troublesome, employees will resist adopting these moments. Craft moments that are easy and straightforward for staff to deliver on. For example, a car dealership can leave a thank-you card and some mints on the passenger seat once the car has been serviced. It takes a matter of seconds to accomplish, but makes the customer feel valued.
Motivating for staff to deliver: Purposeful moments should feel rewarding for both staff and customers. For example, Pret a Manger employees are empowered to give away free hot drinks—whether it’s to cheer someone up, thank them for their loyalty, or apologize for the wait.
So, how do you begin to create moments that matter?
Since your frontline staff is at the heart of purposeful moments, and they know their customers well, they should play a key role in crafting those moments. Take a co-creation approach and involve frontline employees in the process. They can tell you about their interactions with customers and identify moments where interactions can be elevated into a purposeful moment. They’ll also be able to tell you when they think something won’t work.
When it comes time to roll out your initiative, it’s important to explain the "why" of the purposeful moment so that frontline staff know why they’re being asked to do something and why that moment is important to the customer. For one small time period in their day, a customer can feel like a unique, individual who has meaning and value—and this sense of personalized recognition will connect people to your brand. Though purposeful moments may seem small, they can have a big impact.