Striving for peak moments leads to success

FORT COLLINS — We live in an experience economy, with workplaces, business attractions, product sales and more — all dependent for success upon what the worker or customer believes to be a positive, worthwhile experience.

Dan Heath

Dan Heath, who together with his brother Chip authored The Power of Moments, believes that experiences need not be all about perfection, but about creating moments within experiences that are noteworthy.

Heath spoke as part of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce’s Thought Leaders program Friday at the Hilton Fort Collins.

Using a family trip to Disney World as an example, he cited a range of experiences — some good and some not — that a family might encounter while visiting the Disney theme park. And while the immediate assessment of a day at the park might involve an averaging of those experiences, months later, that assessment changes.

It’s called “duration neglect,” he said. “When we look back on something, we recall moments, not the whole experience. And the moments we recall most vividly are the most positive moment and the ending moment.” If those are peak moments — generally described as great, positive moments — then our recollection will be positive overall.

The four elements of peak moments, he said, are:

  1. Elevation — surprise, delight.
  2. Insight — realizing something about ourselves.
  3. Pride — a moment that captures people at their best or in a moment of courage.
  4. Connection — experiences that tie people together with others.

Business leaders, however, aren’t trained to create peak moments for their customers and employees. They’re trained to fix problems.

He said surveys of business people show that they spend 80 percent of their time trying to eliminate the negatives in their customer experience and 20 percent on making positive experiences even better.

Yet, because the satisfied customer buys more and comes back more often, making positive experiences even better can result in nine times more value for the enterprise, he said.

Peak experiences can be small and still be meaningful, he said.

Creating a positive first day on the job for new employees sends a message that the work matters and that new staffers belong.

He said the “magic perk” in working with employees is recognition, and virtually everyone thinks that it is important. Managers give themselves a score of 80 percent on whether they give adequate recognition to employees, yet employees would score those same managers at 20 percent.

“We have the illusion that we’re doing it, but in reality we’re failing,” he said.

Recognition needs to be personal, not programmatic, but it can be supported by systems. With today’s customer relationship management tools, there’s seldom an excuse for not knowing enough details about a customer to personalize an interaction. Those who do it well make customers feel noticed and valued, he said.

FORT COLLINS — We live in an experience economy, with workplaces, business attractions, product sales and more — all dependent for success upon what the worker or customer believes to be a positive, worthwhile experience.

Dan Heath

Dan Heath, who together with his brother Chip authored The Power of Moments, believes that experiences need not be all about perfection, but about creating moments within experiences that are noteworthy.

Heath spoke as part of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce’s Thought Leaders program Friday at the Hilton Fort Collins.

Using a family trip to Disney World as an example, he cited a range of experiences — some good and some not — that a family might encounter while visiting the Disney theme park. And while the immediate assessment of a day at the park might involve an averaging of those experiences, months later, that assessment changes.

It’s called “duration neglect,” he said. “When we look back on something, we recall moments, not the whole experience. And the moments we recall most vividly are the most positive moment and the ending moment.” If those are peak moments — generally described as great, positive moments — then our recollection will be positive overall.

The four elements of peak moments, he said, are:

  1. Elevation — surprise, delight.
  2. Insight — realizing something about ourselves.
  3. Pride — a moment that captures…