The Short Version: A Must-Read for Subscription Marketers
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact should be required reading for marketers who participate in the Subscription Economy. The book both inspires and instructs us in creating the moments and experiences that foster meaningful connections, in our lives and businesses alike. Oh, it’s also well-written and entertaining.
The Long Version: Why Moments Matter
In Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath taught us how to make our ideas “stickier.” In Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, they showed us how to look beyond the rational mind to find other motivators of human behavior and beliefs.
To these valuable lessons, they’ve now added a third, about creating meaningful moments. The Power of Moments may be the most important of the three books, because it applies equally well to our business and personal lives.
The lessons of this book are invaluable for businesses that participate in the Subscription Economy – or any business that depends on sustaining long-term relationships with customers. Which is to say, nearly any business.
If you practice marketing in the Subscription Economy, you must realize this:
Subscription business success isn’t about the stuff you sell – it’s about the relationship.
Instead of transactions, focus on moments.
Moments Large and Small
Stuck with a magnet to my refrigerator is a photo of a mountainous profiterole slathered in chocolate sauce. Looking at it, I relive a surprising and funny experience at a small restaurant in an outer neighborhood of Paris.
I could tell you the story of the lively discussions with the waiter, the enormous portions of the entrees, the waiter’s insistence that we could split a “small desert,” and the giant tub of chocolate sauce that topped the whole thing off. But the story loses something in the telling. As the saying goes, you had to be there – and that’s the point.
The way that the dessert was delivered transformed the evening from a lovely meal to an unforgettable experience. Experiences like this are special to those who are present, as they happen. These fleeting moments last in our memories and color our perceptions.
We all have important, defining events in our lives: weddings, graduations, births, deaths. The big ones are important, but the smaller ones enrich our lives as well: the memorable exchange with friends, an unexpected gesture, words of wisdom imparted from a mentor. These moments shape our lives and relationships.
In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath suggest that we don’t have to leave these experiences to chance. We can make the time and space for them, and create them with intention. In the business context, we can plan and execute special moments for our customers.
Moments in the Customer Experiences
Successful customer experience isn’t only about smoothing out the obstacles and friction in the customer’s path.
Enthusiastic customer loyalty usually grows from critical moments – when the customer service agent goes the extra distance to resolve a problem creatively, or the business does something unexpected that surpasses expectations, or an employee makes a meaningful connection with a customer.
Those events build the exceptional customer experience – and they are often within our control as businesses.
The authors describe four general categories of special moments:
- Elevation (the unexpected touch that elevates an interaction)
- Pride (a recognition of a customer achievement)
The book offers solid advice on how to build those moments, such as turning “pits” into “peaks,” breaking the script of business-as-usual, and so on. Examples drawn from many different contexts make the book entertaining and instructive.
From Prosaic to Special
In one of my favorite quotes from the book, the authors exhort us to “recognize where the prose of life needs punctuation” and build moments around it.
Prosaic customer interactions can also benefit from moments.
For example, the café chain Pret a Manger empowers its employees to spontaneously give away a certain number of food or drink items every week. Employees can choose the recipients, and the actions are random enough to delight unsuspecting customers.
How much fun would it be to approach business in this way, for your employees and customers alike? What if you can translate routine customer transactions into something more meaningful or unexpected?
Value Nurturing and Moments
If you’ve read Subscription Marketing or my previous writing about value nurturing as a marketing activity, you may recognize the alignment between these special moments and the practices of nurturing the customer’s perception of value:
- If you create moments of pride by celebrating customer successes and transitions, you’re adding value to the customer relationship.
- If you create and foster community among your members and craft moments of connection, you’re adding value through community
Moments of insight, connection, pride, and elevation add intangible value to the customer experience, no matter what you’re selling.
For example, does your business notice or remark on customer transitions or successes? When a customer chooses to unsubscribe, can you mark the occasion with something more meaningful than an exit survey? What if you crafted special moments for transitions, or created reasons to celebrate your customers’ acheivements?
The Power of Moments should inspire you to look at ordinary transactions, customer transitions, and even service failures as opportunities to add lasting value to the customer relationship.