I know it can feel overwhelming trying to define what differentiates your business from the rest. It can be a significant undertaking. And I recognize that it may not even be something you can control where you work.
But what you can do is focus on you.
You can be part of delivering on differentiators in the customer experiences you create simply by setting yourself apart. You can make a choice to make an impact on your customers, moment by moment.
And isn’t that really how it happens? The customer experience is made up of the moments we create. It boils down to how we make customers feel in the moments we make for them.
What are the moments that set your company apart? What are the moments that customers will experience with you that differentiate you and your brand from the rest?
We’ve all had moments like this, haven’t we? The ones that define your experience as either exceptional or awful.
The employee who seems to care less and brushes you off vs. the one from the shoe department who brings your kid a cookie. The girl who tells you to hurry up with your order to keep the line moving vs. the guy who takes the extra time to walk you through all your paperwork in detail.
The coworker who always does a half-hearted job that you have to fix after them vs. the teammate who goes out of their way to make things easier for you and your customers.
All these things happen in moments. And if we want the moments customers have with us to be exceptional, we have to be intentional about creating them. So, what kinds of moments can we create to help shift the awful or average experience to become the exceptional? What are the moments that will allow us to meet customer’s needs in a way that exceeds their expectations? What are the moments that set us apart?
While I’m sure there are dozens of moments we could make for our customers, I’d love to share three major ones over the next three weeks that can be helpful in differentiating your customer experience from the rest. Today let’s focus on the first type…
Signature moments are the unique things that become recognizable aspects of the customer experience at your brand. Like your signature, they’re specific to you! And the more consistently you deliver on them, the more customers come to know them.
Do they have to be expensive, dramatic, or majorly memorable? Not at all! In fact, signature moments are typically smaller moments that happen consistently over time. That’s what makes them doable and recognizable.
When the Nordstrom bag always contains tissue paper.
When your favorite restaurant always has fresh flowers on the table.
When employees look you in the eye to greet you.
When you walk into Moe’s and hear the employees shout, “Welcome to Moe’s!”
When you board a Southwest flight excited for a comical safety demonstration from your flight attendant.
Of course, Disney is a brand that masters moments in many ways. While we probably know the major magical moments well, I’d argue it’s the signature moments—the ones you may not even realize are intentional—that really set them apart.
Think about the way a child feels about the characters at Disney. Most kids eagerly run up to them as they make their way through the park. We’ve all seen that happen, right? Well, what you may not have even thought twice about is the way the character responds. Most people are in such a rush to get the photo that they don’t even notice what the costumed character does to greet an approaching child.
But that moment they’re trying to capture is marked by a Disney signature. Instead of leaning over or looking down to greet kids, every character at Disney kneels down to get on their eye level. It takes very little effort and absolutely no money on the part of the park to create this moment. It may only last a few seconds even, but it makes a lasting impact on a customer.
It’s these seemingly simple moments that go a long way in differentiating your brand. They’re the signature on the experience that customers come to expect through consistent execution over time. And they’re the things you can deliver on no matter what.