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What makes the Remembrance Day experience unlike any other

What makes the Remembrance Day experience unlike any other

Remembrance Day customer experience

Remembrance Day is by no means a customer experience, but it’s an extraordinary one nonetheless.

In previous years I’ve taken a moment of silence while sitting in a cubicle after an overhead announcement has been made. Occasionally I’ve been at ceremonies outside churches or other public places.

This year, now that we’ve pulled our kids from school again, my little family and I stood together quietly for two minutes in our living room, at the end of which my wife played a recording of “Last Post.”

Almost immediately afterwards we heard some planes flying ovehead, and with cries of “War planes!” my kids went running outside to watch. Something was happening!

What’s really remarkable about Remembrance Day, however, is how little happens, and that it happens at all.

We don’t really engage the senses very much, other than the sound of our breathing and the sight of a poppy.

So many years after the two World Wars ended, everyone just stops what they’re doing — a moment that can feel incredibly long and which hardly any other occasion can compel.

While 2020 can feel unique in the extreme impact it has had on the world, I’m so glad we continue to observe Remembrance Day.

By focusing on our history — rather than the challenges in front of us — we exercise an act of collective imagination.

Most of us did not serve, and have no direct experience of war. But by reflecting on what we know of the experience, we give our fallen the gratitude they richly deserve.

This all makes the average customer experience feel pretty insignificant, of course. Yet it struck me that many brands I talk to and hear from have a goal of developing experiences that are not only compelling and positive but also memorable.

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It should be easier, at least theoretically, to remember something good that happened when we went shopping, dined out at a restaurant or stayed in a hotel. If the experience turns out badly, on the other hand, companies will do almost anything to help customers forget.

What truly defines “memorable,” though? With Remembrance Day, we make an effort because we forget at our peril. In the CX world, what kind of experience would be worthy of remembering long after the fact?

Do you give customers anything that would merit a full minute of silent recollection — or even a few seconds?

Perhaps most critically, are you so myopically focused that your efforts to be memorable get in the way of what people should actually be paying attention to? How many brands sent out e-mail messages at 11:00 a.m. this morning? How many cold calls took place?

The race to embrace technology, to personalize marketing, is all about brands figuring out a path into the future. They need to spend as much time figuring out how they’ll fit into what we hold onto from the past.

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