Are Moments of Truth Really Worth All The Fuss?

...how a single interaction can make or break the entire customer experience

“Although companies are investing record amounts of money in traditional loyalty programs, in customer-relationship-management (CRM) technology, and in general service-quality improvements, most of these initiatives end in disappointment. According to Forrester research, only 10 percent of business and IT executives surveyed strongly agreed that business results anticipated from implementing CRM were met or exceeded.

Are Moments of Truth Really Worth All The Fuss?

What’s regularly missing is the spark between the customer and frontline staff members—the spark that helps transform wary or skeptical people into strong and committed brand followers.

That spark and the emotionally driven behavior that creates it explain how great customer service companies earn trust and loyalty during “moments of truth”: those few interactions (for instance, a lost credit card, a canceled flight, a damaged piece of clothing, or investment advice) when customers invest a high amount of emotional energy in the outcome. Superb handling of these moments requires an instinctive frontline response that puts the customer’s emotional needs ahead of the company’s and the employee’s agendas.” So says McKinsey & Company.

What does this mean to the middle manager or supervisor who struggles with the day-to-day challenges of his/her operation?

How much effort, and resources, should we place on training for standardized procedures or reciting well-worn scripts within a call center when we forget that all the customer truly wishes for is to be heard and have their issue resolved quickly?

Each employee interaction with a customer sets the stage for all else that follows – these are the “moments of truth”. Click To Tweet

One single comment, a stray eye glance, a wait that is longer than expected or the failure to anticipate the customer’s needs may lead to a collapse of the overall experience. Your moments of truth are the touch points of your business. But, as I wrote in a recent post, do all your touch points need to be perfect? Let’s see…

Think of all the steps in the customer journey within a retail clothing store:

  • The store signage beckons the customer to enter the store.
  • The customer scans the entrance for cleanliness and organization.
  • An employee greets and welcomes the customer within 20-30 seconds.
  • Are the racks of clothing neatly arranged by size and easy to navigate?
  • Are the aisles wide enough to shop and still allow the comfortable passage of other customers?
  • Is there sufficient product in stock for the expected business volume?
  • Are the employees knowledgeable about the products and all their features?
  • Did you schedule enough employees to properly service the customers?
  • Are the fitting rooms clean, trash-free and attended by an employee?
  • Do the employees offer to assist the customer in locating an alternate color or style of clothing?
  • Does the store offer alterations?
  • Is there sufficient space between the end clothing racks and cashier checkout areas?
  • How do the cashiers greet the customers during the checkout process?
  • Are clothes properly folded when bagged?
  • Is the bag/package handed directly to the customer or placed on the counter?
  • Are customers given a warm thank you and invitation to return?
  • Do all the employees smile during all customer interactions?

This is just a sample of some steps between a customer and employee. Each is a “moment of truth” and an opportunity for the employee, as a representative of the business, to create many individual moments where the customer is made to feel welcome, appreciated and valued.

Each opportunity can be a “make or break” situation for the customer – and business.

The customer experience and satisfaction level are most often determined by moments of truth. Click To Tweet

What are your moments of truth? Do you even know what they are and when they happen?

Here’s a great video that explains what a moment of truth is and what the customer expects from them?

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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4 thoughts on “Are Moments of Truth Really Worth All The Fuss?

    • Hi C3 Lab,
      Glad you enjoyed this post. When we identify the “customer journey steps” it’s easy to see where there is room for improvement in the overall service process.

  1. Wow, Steve! Great blog this week! The video was most helpful as well in literally illustrating what shouldn’t happen to our valued – and valuable – customers!

    Even though I have only been back to work since earlier this month, I have noticed quite a few areas that could better for our customers – and this is saying something for a Disney Outlet Store! The latest such reaction I have experienced was when a customer walked by me on the way out and was talking out loud to himself about how “he thought he was in a Disney Store, but the music was inappropriate!”. To be honest, I’m not quite sure what he meant by this, since the CD that was playing was from one of the Disney XD television movies ( geared to tweens and up). I did think on it and came up with the thought that maybe – since he was with his younger child – he expected more traditional Disney music from classic movies (Toy Story, Jungle Book, etc.) and hadn’t yet experienced any of the Disney television programming geared to older children. The other thought was that he HIMSELF was a Disney Traditionalist who just preferred classic Disney songs as being more wholesome and suitable for a Disney Store. I mentioned his comments to my store manager, and she said that he could always contact our Consumer Guest Services to make his feelings known, but I have a feeling he went home and mentioned it to the rest of his family and then others via social media to make his experience known.

    This could be seen as a Moment of Truth, since the store – in his ears and opinion – did not meet his expectations of Guest Service, simply through the choice of background music. I DO see where he is coming from, since music geared to older children seems to some to be a bit more adult, but the store is trying to cater to many ages and tastes, too. Personally – having grown up on Disney music from the time of LPs – I prefer classic songs, too! Maybe the store SHOULD use music that could put Guests in mind of favorite memories of growing up and the great movies and the various Parks, so all could have a happier experience.

    • Hi Lisa, glad you like the post. I love this video and have used it in my training many times.

      Your story about the Disney music is a perfect example of not being able to satisfy every customer in the same way. Your situation is one with no easy answer so the moment of truth could be the communication with the customer to discuss his perception of the music versus the store’s intent. Tastes vary so this one is difficult to beat.

      I like your opening comments about being a new employee but seeing many ways to “fix” some issues. That’s the great thing about new employee – a fresh pair of eyes! Good luck in your new job, give ’em hell!