The following post includes excerpts from Jeanne’s new book: Would You Do That To Your Mother.
Professor and Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman is considered the “memory guru” by many. His writing and research have clarified the importance of memory and why it elevates companies and their people when they embrace memory creation as pivotal. People don’t “choose between experiences,” he simplified, “we choose between memories of experiences.”
Companies that stand out and earn organic and word-of-mouth growth do so because they think about the experiences they want their customers to remember—and come back for. They go out of their way to understand where their customers are emotionally. And they give employees the education, opportunity, and ability to act on those emotions.
For example, consider the emotionally charged memory that an insurance company customer has when he’s told that, unfortunately, his claim has been denied. There are two memories that the customer can walk away from in this situation. Memory one: “That was painful, they denied my claim, they don’t care about me.” Memory two: “That was disappointing, but they took the time to let me know why. I’m not glad about the outcome, but I feel taken care of and honored as a customer.”
Memory two took someone deliberately starting with the customer and his emotions and how he would feel in being turned down. While the claim outcome for the customer is the same in both situations, memory two leaves the customer with a positive memory about the company and its people. Do you deliver memories you’d want your mom to have?
The sales experience of insurance can be approached similarly down two convergent paths. One path delivers an efficient sale; the other engages and delivers a memorable experience embedded with empathy and care, initiating momentum for future purchases where relevant and word-of-mouth, organic growth.
Purchasing insurance, by definition, is an emotionally charged experience—and, frequently addresses vulnerabilities that people face or are concerned about.
What Memories Will You Deliver?
This is our opportunity to craft experiences that earn their place as positive memories in customers’ lives.
Would you celebrate your mom’s birthday with a check, but not a call or a hug? By sending her a check you assure her that you remembered her birthday. You meet the expectation of acknowledgement but miss the opportunity for emotion and memory. Companies miss that nuance sometimes. Execution without customer connection is adequate, but a missed the opportunity to give customers remembrance of the moment.
Consider these opportunities below to examine if you’re not only “transacting” customers, but also delivering memories that will pull them back to you and encourage them to recommend you:
- When you meet to understand customers’ life aspirations and dreams: Are you processing them, or delivering a memory?
- At the times in their lives when things change or shift: Do you deliver empathy and care that is uniquely your own? For example, Mercedes Benz has a 4-point process they deliver to families of lessees who have passed away, including sending a letter of condolence, to create a memory of their brand by going out of their way to make it easy to return the car or pass it on to a family member. In your life insurance business, for example, how do you reach out to families when they experience a loss?
- At the occasions in customers’ lives that they have entrusted you to help serve or protect them (getting kids to college, planning for retirement, etc.), do you commemorate them?
Our opportunity is to wrap our humanity around the interactions we have with customers. THAT is what will set you apart. Memory creation is in fact, a choice. In every interaction with customers, you can choose how you’ll deliver a memory. The great news is that often that choice comes at no cost. All it requires is that people act on the power they have to deliver a memory. When you focus on your operation and people on memory creation, not just executing tasks, customers will remember you. With those memories will come the opportunity to earn the right to business growth.
This idea and practice were adapted from Jeanne’s 35 years as both a chief customer officer and her practice consulting companies on behaviors on how to earn the right to growth. It is a key idea expressed in her book: “Would You Do That To Your Mother? The “Make Mom Proud” Standard for How to Treat Your Customers.” You can find her at customerbliss.com.