Are you an architect of moments that matter?

Are you an architect of moments that matter?

When was the last time that you did something remarkable for the first time?  The answer to that question will probably make you realize that our lives are measured in moments.  And the defining moments are the ones that we most deeply remember.  Research has found that in recalling an experience, we ignore most of what happened and focus instead on peak moments – whether negative or positive.  These peak moments can happen unexpectedly, but they can also be deliberately engineered.

Creating booksmarks in people's brain
In the Sateré-Mawé tribe in the Brazilian Amazon, when a boy turns 13, he comes of age by wearing a pair of gloves filled with angry, stinging bullet ants.  With this very painful experience, this tribe wants to make the start of puberty not only harder, but also more memorable. 

On a positive note: imagine that every company in the world would offer new employees an unforgettable first-day experience. Or that you would send a hand-written thank-you-note to new customers.  Or imagine that a CEO of a big company would send a book to one of his or her employees with a special note: “I can personally advise you to read this book if you want to take yourself and your team to a next level.  Enjoy reading and all the best!”.  These actions are highly unexpected and can create positive bookmarks in people’s brain: a moment, or an experience, they are unlikely to forget.

Focusing on milestones
One aspect of thinking in moments is focusing on milestones, which is relevant in many contexts.  The app Pocket, which stores articles from the Internet on your phone for future reading, informs you when you have read 1 million words.  Fitbit presents users with awards such as the 747 Badge, which users receive for climbing 4.000 lifetime flights of stairs (which is about the altitude that a 747 flies).  So paying attention to milestones can have a big impact on these users. 

Thinking in moments is certainly also relevant in a customer service context.   Lots of companies have the ambition to create a complain-free service rather than an extraordinary one.  They spend the biggest part of their resources trying to improve the experience of seriously unhappy customers.  However, is that the best choice?  Probably not (always).  According to research of Forrest, the happiest customers in any industry tend to spend more.  This has a specific consequence: moving people from customer satisfaction level 4 to level 7 will generate more additional business than moving another group of unhappy customers from level 1 to level 4.  In "The Power of Moments" Chip & Dan Heath state: "If you elevate the Positives, you’ll earn about 9 times more revenue than if you eliminate the Negatives".  However, many companies go for the second scenario. 

It would be better – in whatever context and whatever business – that we target specific moments and ask ourselves the question: how can we elevate that moment?  How can we boost it?  How can we transform it into something special?

Fixing problems is important. Making moments memorable probably even more. Extraordinary minutes and hours and days are what make life meaningful. You have the power to create them. Think in moments – moments that matter.
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