Magic in the Moments

Image via Choreograph on istockphoto

What was your first day at work like? Did you show up to an empty cubicle or worse, one filled with someone else’s stuff or a computer with cables hanging out in all directions? Were there drawers filled with old pens and rusty paper clips? I have been that new employee on day one and it really makes you wonder if you made the right decision.

Think about the effort we put into finding the right employee, finding the next customer, or getting a new wine club sign up. What do we do after that? Do we make the experience special for the person engaging with us for the first time?  Most of us just move on to finding the next one.

I have just finished reading “The Power of Moments : Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact” by Chip and Dan Heath and it really makes me think. It reminds me of ideas shared by Seth Godin in “The Purple Cow”.  Everyone in business has an opportunity to do something remarkable for others and to create memorable special moments.  The book shares an example of John Deere’s “First Day Experience” for its new hires.

“Defining moments rise above the everyday.  They provoke not just transient happiness, … but memorable delight.”

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

Wineries have so many opportunities to make a new guest or first-time visitor feel special. Do you take advantage of that opportunity? I hope so. My first visits to wineries in Napa Valley were awkward and scary at best. I didn’t know how to act, what to do with that silver pitcher on the bar ( I thought it was filled with water, having never seen a spit bucket), or what to drink. I didn’t know how to hold the glass, when to drink the wine being described (did I sip while they described it or wait until they finished), or even if I should tip the hospitality professional. And I sure didn’t know what to do with that “Alluvial Fan” people kept talking about.

Maybe there could be a special spot for wine novices to go inside your winery. Have them rate their knowledge of wine before they arrive so you can hand them a starter kit and a special T-shirt as soon as they arrive.  How about a bumper sticker : “I know how to use a wine spit bucket.  Do you?”  (This is why I am an accountant, not a marketer.) 

People who get it right:

  • Domaine Carneros. They send a pop up card with a thank you note for being a club member for a year.
  • Napa Valley Vintners. Have you ever received one of their invitations?  It’s an experience in itself.

As an accounting firm, we have the same opportunity. Do you think we bring out a brass band and celebrate you and your first tax return? Send you confetti along with that amazing financial statement?  Maybe we should create moments to celebrate the start of our (very personal and private) relationship. You share your deepest financial secrets with us and in many cases we know more about your financial situation than your spouse — and yet we don’t even give you a ring.  Clearly, we have work to do. 

How to create moments

According to the book,  successful moments include:

  • Elevation – stand out experiences
  • Insight – transformative experiences
  • Pride – recognition
  • Connection – deepened relationships

I think it’s time we all take (or make) more Moments.  Don’t you?

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