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The smallest moments can have a large impact on sales success.
The smallest moments can have a large impact on sales success.

The importance of ‘micro-moments’ – or, why you should sweat the small stuff

When it comes to customer service, the smallest details can be the difference between making the sale and losing a customer, writes JEANNIE WALTERS.

All day long, we are interacting – with each other, with our environment, with devices – and those small moments of interaction affect how we perceive people, brands, products and experiences.

So, what happens if you don’t pay attention to the details of the experience customers are having with your brand whether it be your store, staff, website, or social media?

As an example, what would you think if there was a spelling mistake in a sign outside your child’s school? It is an honest mistake, and it doesn’t necessarily mean your kids aren’t getting a good education.

But it does indicate that somebody didn’t care enough about the details – which can lead you to wonder what else the school may be overlooking. Your trust has been eroded.

Similarly, a poor experience with a brand is not likely to ruin somebody’s day, but it can be enough to, at best, lose the sale, or at worst make a customer lose faith in your business.

The tiny details aren’t just about obvious issues like spelling; they can also be subtle. For example, one day, I went to withdraw some money from an ATM.

When I put my card in, the screen flashed the message, ‘WE ARE DEALING WITH YOUR REQUEST’.

I have no doubt that this was written with the intention of being direct and descriptive, but when you combine the tone of the language and the all-capitals typography, the effect wasn’t positive. I was dealing with a negative ‘micro-moment’.

Micro-moments matter

You may think that these examples are tiny and insignificant. I’d agree with you on the first point but not the second.

Have you ever had one of those days that starts poorly and keeps getting worse? At the end of the day, you recount to your spouse an inventory of micro- moments – little things that accumulated to ruin your day.

“Anyone can have a good experience when everything is going right – but what about when they’re feeling distracted, overwhelmed, or frustrated?”

When working with businesses, I ask managers and sales staff to imagine their customer going through each step of their purchasing journey on their worst day.

Anyone can have a good experience when everything is going right – but what about when they’re feeling distracted, overwhelmed, or frustrated?

When a customer goes into a sales interaction with negative momentum, businesses must create a positive experience to counteract it, or at the very least halt the negative pattern.

Let’s look at another example. Not long ago, I tried to sign up for a brand’s mailing list –but when I filled out the form, I was met with the message, “There was an error. Please try again.”

What was the error? They left it to me to figure that out.

It’s all too common to see technology acknowledge there’s a problem, but neglect to offer any information on how to fix it. After a few minutes of trying to edit different fields of the form, I gave up.

I walked away feeling frustrated, and the business missed out on a potential repeat purchaser and brand advocate – the most valuable type of customer. Yet they were never even aware that an opportunity was missed.

How many sales opportunities is your organisation missing without even realising –not just through technology, but through other ways customers interact with your brand?

Creating positive micro-moments

Now that you’ve seen examples of negative micro-moments, it’s time to look at the positive.

If you’ve ever typed in the wrong address when trying to access a website, you’ve probably landed on a 404 page.

A 404 error essentially tells you that the webpage you were trying to visit does not exist. You’re looking for something, you’ve hit a dead-end, and that’s frustrating.

And no matter how well-designed a site is, 404 errors will happen. One solution is to make the 404 error page helpful, with a search bar or links to pages people most commonly look for.

It can even be made fun, as Google does with its Chrome browser; by pressing the space bar or tapping their phone’s screen, the user can play a minigame with the ‘error dinosaur’.

Every micro-moment is a chance to smooth the sales process while increasing customer loyalty and brand value.

My business’ logo is a paper crane, which was inspired by a man I once met who loved origami. He would gift paper cranes to strangers to brighten their day.

While it may mean very little in the grand scheme of things, receiving a paper crane can be the difference between a terrible day and a good one. Everyone who encountered that man remembered him and remembered him fondly.

It’s proof that tiny gestures – micro- moments – count.


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Jeannie Walters

Contributor • Experience Investigators

Jeannie Walters is founder and CEO of Experience Investigators. Learn more: experienceinvestigators.com

Peter W Beck Pty Ltd

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