And here we are on our final of 3 types of moments to define our differentiators! And for sure it is last but not least…
When someone is frustrated, troubled, or disappointed in the customer experience, we’re in the unique position to do something about it! In those critical moments of response when something goes wrong, we can be a part of the solution. We can take the negative and turn it to a positive. We can create solvable moments that differentiate the experience for the customer on the other end.
If there’s one thing I know that’s inevitable about the customer experience, it’s this: Problems will come. A process will break down, an order will be wrong, a package will be lost, a wait time will be long, an employee will put in the wrong order. Mistakes are bound to happen. I mean, we’re all human after all! Missteps just come with the territory.
But as a person looking to make an impact, we can approach every problem we encounter with the mindset of empowerment. We can be intent to find a solution. From the mess-ups, we can make solvable moments.
At the Ritz Carlton, the leadership not only encourages employees to step in and solve problems, they make a way for them to actually do it. The way co-founder Horst Shulze set it up, every employee knows they can spend up to $2,000 per guest per day to make things right when they’ve gone wrong for a customer. In other words, they’re given access to resources to make solvable moments a reality.
At one location, a young couple was staying at the Ritz for their honeymoon. After enjoying a day on the beach together, they came back to their room only to realize the husband’s newly acquired wedding band was left out in the sand. The couple rushed back out to search the beach, but of course, finding a small silver band in miles of sand isn’t an easy task. Devastated and defeated, they called it a day and went to eat dinner in the hotel’s restaurant while they ordered a new wedding band.
Seeing their faces, the wait staff recognized immediately something was off. When the couple shared what happened, the servers knew right away they could help solve the problem. Their team used the funds provided by the Ritz to purchase two additional metal detectors and scoured the beach for this groom’s ring. The next morning at breakfast, they presented it to the couple after hours of searching in the sand. They didn’t create the problem for their customers, but that didn’t stop them from solving it. After an experience like that, I can’t imagine that young couple ever choosing another hotel! The solvable moment they had at the Ritz made a lasting positive impact.
Of course, I know we aren’t all working with the Ritz budget. We don’t all have the generous resources or the encouragement from our leadership to do whatever it takes to solve the problem. But that doesn’t have to stop us from doing what’s in our power to make the moments happen for our customers.
I heard another story recently about a child who left their favorite toy behind at a Disney hotel. They didn’t know it until they arrived home, but when they realized their beloved Slinky Dog wasn’t in their suitcase, you can only imagine the tears that followed. Desperate to bring this toy home, the parents called the hotel to find the missing Slinky Dog. Luckily, the hotel staff had the toy and were able to send it back.
That in and of itself would’ve been enough. But rather than leave it there, the hotel staff took the chance to make the moment better. They went above and beyond to make a solvable moment fun. Included in the package with Slinky Dog were several other Toy Story toys and a note that read:
"It seems like Slinky wasn't ready for his trip to the Boardwalk Resort to end! We found him and some old friends playing around the resort, and we hope you don't mind but they wanted to join Slinky on his journey home."
When customers experience problems, we’re on the frontlines to find the solution. And in doing that, we’re the ones responsible for executing the solvable moments that set us apart. We have the opportunity to turn a frustrating experience into a memorable moment for a customer.