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Master Your Customer's Make-Or-Break Moments

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

51% of customers say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences.

Salesforce – State of the Connected Customer 2nd Edition

It goes without saying, there are many reasons companies fall short. B2B companies have hundreds of touch points with complex customer organizations – they can’t afford to do everything right 100% of the time. 

The good news is that not all interactions count the same in the eyes of customers.

You know it intuitively. When you go to a restaurant, there are some make-or-break moments. Were you seated right away? Was the wait staff attentive? Was the food quality as you expected, etc?  Yet there are other less important things like the room aesthetics or the reservation process. If one of the make-or-break moments goes badly – your food was overcooked and dried out – you will remember the entire experience negatively and may hesitate to return.

As in the restaurant experience, B2B buyers and decision makers have make-or-break moments in their journey.  

Make-or-break moments are moments where the customer has a job to do and their interaction with your company is on the critical path to getting that job done. 

Lets take an example, 

In a perfect world, suppliers know Chris’s make-or-break moments and stand ready to act so he can meet his deadlines. And, they are actively managing internal hand-offs to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.  

"70% of customers say connected processes are very important

to winning their business."

Salesforce – State of the Connected Customer 2nd Edition

The sad reality is that many B2B organizations are missing the opportunity to prioritize key moments in their customer's end-to-end journey and manage them collectively to ensure a high-quality, seamless experience.

Individual departments have ownership for different parts of the journey and manage each as an independent transaction. For example, marketing owns the product catalog, sales owns pricing, legal owns contracts, finance owns credit, quality owns complaints, and so on.

But nobody owns the entire journey – making sure Chris is successfully moving through each step. 

"Customers judge companies based on their experience as a whole — not just

interactions with individual departments — and they expect consistency." 

Salesforce – State of the Connected Customer 2nd Edition

Journey mapping is a great way to move toward connected processes. 

I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on a journey map for the business I had worked at for over 2 decades. As the director of CX, I had lobbied internally to engage an external agency to do a customer journey assessment. At the end of their research they delivered a comprehensive report, but what struck me was a one-page journey visual. It summarized the top 10 make-or-break moments for our customers. It was elegant in its simplicity. That simple visual shattered paradigms and made us realize that we were making customers work too hard to play by OUR rules, instead of making their jobs easier.  

We are not used to looking at our business from the customers point of view!

Can you honestly say you know your customer’s top 10 make-or-break moments? What about their performance expectations for each of those moments? Engage in customer interviews and map their journey to find out what is on their critical path.

Once you identify your customers top 10 make-or-break moments, the next step is to master them.

  1. Raise awareness so everyone knows the importance of each step.

  2. Simplify what’s expected of the customer (yes, you heard right). 

  3. Deliver what's expected of you - every time.  

  4. Measure the connections. 

Your Customer Experience leader should be accountable for these steps and for the entire end-to-end journey.  Progressive companies focus attention on their customers’ top 10 make-or-break moments. Be among the best in class at providing connected experiences. 


Carol Pudnos Carol is a Customer Experience Strategist, helping companies transform their operations to deliver seamless experiences. Carol’s thoughts on customer experience are backed by over two decades of B2B business leadership in chemical, food, pharma and medical device industries. “Processes that serve customers the way they want to be served will differentiate your company and drive business results.”


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