Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Manage Your Customers Moments of Truth

May 8, 2014

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Once again, I was having a problem with my laptop computer. First, I looked at the manual to see if I could figure out how to resolve it. The answer wasn’t there. But it listed a website that I could visit for troubleshooting advice. When I visited the site, it was very comprehensive but I still couldn’t understand the solution. The site listed a toll-free number for technical support. I called the Toshiba technical support line.

I was put on hold for 20 minutes. But I really didn’t mind, because it was exactly what I expected. When I called, I was greeted with a recorded message that told me how long the hold time would be. So I simply set my phone on speaker and went about my business. When a rep finally answered, I grabbed the phone and told him about my problem.

The scenario I just shared with you represented my own five “moments of truth.”  A “moment of truth” is any instance in which a customer comes into contact with some aspect of your organization and has an opportunity to form an impression about the quality of service you provide. These moments of truth reflect the customer’s experience and each one creates in your customer’s mind an image about your entire organization.

All businesses are judged whenever they interact with their customers.

How the phone is answered, the friendliness of the customer service representative, the appearance of an invoice, the receipt of a bill in the mail, company vehicles, advertising, the ease of parking, how orders are packaged, and the cleanliness of a facility—are all moments of truth.  Each moment of truth has impact. It can be positive or negative, but your direct customer interaction, either by telephone or face-to-face, will have the most lasting effects on customer impressions and will produce the most dramatic results. It is therefore extremely important to master your communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal.

Here are the moments of truth I experienced with Toshiba.

  • Reviewed the manual for information. The manual was professionally printed, well organized and visually pleasing.
  • Visited the website. The Toshiba website is easy to navigate and offers many simple solutions for common technical problems. Contact information was clearly listed and easy to locate.
  • Called technical support. The recorded message was friendly and brief. Once I selected the option to speak to a technical support representative, I was informed that there was a high volume of calls and given an approximate wait time.
  • Spoke with a technical support representative. The young man was quite professional and friendly. He explained why he needed the serial number of the computer before he asked for it. I told him what the problem was and he reassured me by saying, “Now don’t you worry one bit. I’ll help you get it resolved.
  • “Are you sure?” I asked.
  • I won’t get off this line until it’s fixed. I promise.” he replied.”
  • Worked with the rep to resolve the problem. The technical support rep walked me through the process step by step with great patience. He used encouraging statements as I stumbled on some of his instructions. Finally, we got the problem resolved.

At each of these “moments of truth,” many things can go right or wrong to create a strong impression for the customer about the organization. They are so powerful that positive moments of truth are the building blocks of customer loyalty. More often than not, it is the front-line employees who handle these moments of truth. Managing moments of truth means we need to look at them from both the business level and the human level.

We need to examine how our customers “feel” when they come into contact with our moments of truth.

  • How do they feel when they read our marketing materials? Are the materials easy to read or do they cause frustration?
  • How do they feel when they visit our website? Do we waste their time because we’ve added so much splash and unnecessary graphics that it takes forever to download? Is it easy for them to navigate and find the information they are looking for? Do we hide our contact information so it is difficult for them to find a phone number?
  • Most importantly, how do our customers feel when they interact with any of our employees? Do they feel like someone genuinely cares about them or do they feel like robots are serving them?

It is up to you to manage moments of truth with your customers. Make a list of the moments of truth when customers come into contact with some aspect of your organization. Don’t forget to include your internal customers (co-workers). Then identify ways you can manage these moments to create a more positive experience for the customer.

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