Is your customer service creating moments of magic or moments of misery?
Prime the pump
February 7, 2023

Is your customer service creating moments of magic or moments of misery?

Moments of Magic

Recently I came across a story shared by Dr. Alan Zimmerman, CSP, The Positive Communication Pro. It is a great launching pad for our conversation today on Moments of Magic as we conclude our series on Moments of Truth, Moments of Misery and Moments of Magic.

The story is about a guy name Mike McKinley who as a high school child, had a small garbage business. His father would sometimes drive him from house to house to pick up the garbage. It is said that on one occasion, as Mike grabbed the garbage and was returning to his father’s truck, he walked past some garbage out in the yard. His father yelled at him “Pick up the garbage out in the yard” and Mike yelled back “They don’t pay me to pick up garbage in the yard.” His father bolted out of the truck and said to Mike, “Sometimes you don’t get paid for what you do at the time you do it. Now get out there and pick up that garbage.”

The moment of truth was the service Mike was providing to the homeowners. Had he given them less than they were paying him for, he would have created a moment of misery for the customers. Had he given them just what they were paying for, he would have created a moment of mediocrity, but by giving them just a little bit more than was expected, Mike was able to create a moment of magic.

Moments of magic do not have to be wow moments, nor do they have to be extravagant. Moments of magic are created by consistently giving a little bit more than is expected. In case you are wondering how the story ended, it is said that the homeowners were so pleased that Mike picked up the garage out in the yard that they reached out to him, thanked him and gave him a big tip.

Kindra Cooper in an article titled “Shep Hyken on How to Create Moments of Magic in Your Customers”, referred to a comment Shep Hyken – Customer Service Expert made in one of his keynote speeches. He is noted as saying “Fine is the F-bomb of customer service”. According to Cooper, Hyken told the audience during a high-energy keynote at CCW Vegas, “A satisfactory rating means a three on a scale of 1-5 – middling, average, just OK – and yet, organizations obsess over customer satisfaction scores. Rather, they should strive for loyalty. Loyalty is an emotion; satisfaction is a rating.”

Hyken said if “fine” was an acronym, it would stand for Fake smile, insincere feedback, never doing business with you again, emotionless.

Hyken said Moments of truth should never be just “fine.” They should be perceived in black-and-white terms as either moments of magic, moments of mediocrity, or moments of misery.

According to Hyken, there are five ways to create “moments of magic.”

Demonstrate knowledge – Know all there is to know about the product or service you provide so that you can adequately answer customers’ questions or solve a problem. Alternatively, know where to access the information or who to direct the customer to and finally, use technology to get to know your customers.

Be consistent – The product or service provided should always do what it promises to do. When there is a problem, the support given by each customer service representative should be consistently above average.

Ask the extra question – Seek clarification by asking additional questions to manage customers’ expectations. “If somebody says they need something fast, don’t just say OK,” says Hyken. “Ask: ‘How fast?’”

No moments of misery – It’s not if but when a moment of truth will turn into a moment of misery. “Hyken prescribes five steps to restore it to a moment of magic: 1) Acknowledge the problem; 2) Apologize; 3) Fix what needs to be fixed; 4) Own the resolution; and 5) Act with urgency.” According to Hyken, it’s the urgency that really restores confidence.

Be convenient – A customer would rather pay more for convenience. “Hyken swears by the following six convenience principles: reducing friction, self-service, technology, subscription, delivery and access.”

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