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The Power of (Product) Moments

by Hank Barnes  |  November 7, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Customer Experience is largely about maximizing moments.   Throughout every aspect of customer experience, there are specific points in time that are truly Moments of Truth–instances that make, or break, the customer experience.  Identifying and recognizing moment of truth opportunities is more important than perfecting every aspect, every interaction of a customer experience.

At the CEB Sales and Marketing Summit, Dan Heath provided a keynote presentation that highlighted stories from his new book (co-authored with his brother Chip, “The Power of Moments“.


Dan’s presentation was compelling and the book is worth the read.    One of the most revealing elements was the idea that people don’t remember, when asked afterwards, every interaction or every moment that makes up an experience.  Instead, they remember the “peak” moment – the best or worst moment – and the last moment.  That combination, rather than the sum of all moments, determines the overall perception of the experience in the customer’s mind.

Creating peak moments should therefore be a key part of most customer experience strategies.  The idea of creating amazing experiences,  may seem to be in conflict with a position taken by the CEB team that effortless experiences matter more than “wow” experiences.

In reality, I don’t think that is the case, but you have to think about it a little deeper.

  1. The effortless experience idea is really about service experiences.  When we have an issue, we just want it to be solved as easily as possible.  If we do that, customers will generally be happy–and they’ll remember it.  We don’t have to design to “wow” and try to get our teams to go above and beyond every time—an approach that is difficult to scale and sustain.     (As a note, so many service experiences are not effortless (like my blog linked above), that an effortless experience can be a “wow” experience.)
  2. Wow experiences  are scalable when they are ingrained in the product and service design.   Rather than being random acts of “wow”, they become fundamental to the delivery.   Since they are designed in the product they may not be totally unexpected, but they’ll still be appreciated.

How do you create wow experiences?  The book shares some ideas and identifies 4 things that great experiences do (you don’t have to do all 4, but you can).   I’ll let you read the book for those.   In my mind, you look for things that are unique.    Imagine creating an onboarding experience for new clients that combines elements of effortless (making it really easy for them to get started) with elements of recognition to make them feel like they are truly valued (leveraging ideas like the John Deere employee onboarding experience that is shared in the book).   Or, identifying a common frustration or challenge for customers and creating a unique, memorable way to address that (like the hotel in the book with white glove popsicle services and free snacks for kids to help parents keep kids happy are a long day at theme parks).

Identifying moment opportunities comes from understanding your customer and your product.  Look for those situations or events that can be make or break.  If its service related, make it effortless.  For other situations, think about how you can design into your product or service a unique, memorable way to address issues (before they become issues) and create an experience that will get people talking.

In both cases, it’s about making things easier for customers and making them feel valued.   Whether you make it effortless or amazing (or maybe effortlessly amazing), moments are the key to great experiences.

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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: customer-experience  cx  design-thinking  effortless  moments  moments-of-truth  product-design  service  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

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