May 8, 2014
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.
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.
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.