Not all moments are created equal: Rethinking Remarkable Service

Truett Cathy, the Founder of Chick-fil-A, used to talk about the fact that sometimes 10% more effort yields a 100% better result. While I don’t know if that rings true in every area of business, it certainly is true when it comes to creating “Remarkable” moments for customers. During my time at Chick-fil-A, we developed the Second Mile Service program. In the program, we define the first mile as the basics: meeting customers’ expectations with excellence. At Chick-fil-A we would ask first-mile questions like, “What do customers expect when they come to a fast food restaurant?” and we would prioritize meeting those expectations to the best of our ability. Then, we defined the second mile as exceeding customers’ expectations with excellence. They may not know it, but customers want a value imbalance in their favor. So we would reflect on how to give more value and ask second-mile questions like, “What do customers NOT expect when they come to a fast food restaurant?” and “How can we ‘wow’ them at Chick-fil-A?” Just as Truett stated, we found that as we put 10% more effort into “wowing” our customers, it was yielding 100% better results for Chick-fil-A, and creating Remarkable moments for the customers.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that life is measured in time, but it’s valued in Remarkable moments.


There’s more to creating Remarkable moments for customers than just making them feel “wowed”– that’s only the beginning. When you create Remarkable moments for customers, it sets off a ripple effect, and leads to raving fans who become your greatest ambassadors and naturally recruit new customers. It’s the raving fans who become happy to pay full price, come more often, and be the best word-of-mouth marketers for your company. 

The problem for most corporations is that there are numerous areas to grow in, focus on, and improve, all clamoring for attention all at once, therefore coming up with new ways to “wow” customers can easily get overlooked. But when the #1 focus is to please customers, you’re more likely to end up with a 5-star rating–because Remarkable moments outweigh the rest. Imagine if every corporation prioritized spending 10% more of their time creating Remarkable moments for their customers: more companies would have raving fans, which then would lead to financial growth for companies as well.

Not all moments are created equal – some moments have disproportionate power and influence on our lives more than others.

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In psychology, they talk about a concept called the peak-end rule which says that there are two moments in all of our experiences that disproportionately shape our memory and the impact of those experiences. One of those is the peak moment of the experience (its most intense point) and the other is the end, or the last moment. Those two moments disproportionally shape our memory and have tremendous power and influence.

A few years back, I decided to put the peak-end rule to the test on a family trip to Walt Disney World. Every hour we were there, on the hour, I decided to rate the experience. If I’m being honest, several of my ratings throughout that day were a 1 or 2. This was because of long waits for rides, rides breaking down, or things not going according to plan. Interestingly enough, there was one hour in the day that we all rated a 9 because we only had to wait in line for a specific ride for 5 minutes, and it was so much fun. We were thrilled by the whole experience. At the end of the day, while walking back to the hotel after the fireworks, I asked each of my family members to give me an overall rating for the day. Out of all six responses, the rating for the day averaged to 9.5! It didn’t make sense because if you calculated every rating of that day, it would average to a 5.6 rating at best. So it begs the question: how did we end up with a 9.5 rating when mathematically it should have been a 5.6?

It was the most Remarkable moment and the last moment of the day that stuck with our family. That one-day report card we used while at Disney could just as easily have been a report card for a ten-year relationship with a customer. We might only have a “wow” moment with a customer once every couple of years, but it’s so important to have those moments because that’s what’s going to stand out in that customer’s mind (not the time you forgot to put extra Chick-fil-A sauce in their bag!). It doesn’t have to be every moment of every visit, but as long as we create Remarkable moments along the way for them to look back on their experience at the company, it leaves the relationship at a 5-star rating.

Nobody will remember every second you spend with them. But they will remember those Remarkable moments; because life is measured in time, but valued in the Remarkable moments we create along the way.

P.S. – Be sure to check back next month to hear about the Employee-facing side of Remarkable Service; we’ll apply some of the principles we learned here to see how we can create raving fan employees!

I’d love to connect with you on social media, you can find me on these platforms:

Together, we can Spark a Revolution of brands more defined by meaning than money, brands that achieve success in a manner that redefines it.

David Salyers
Founder, Spark A Revolution

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