Few years ago, I needed to enroll my child in a primary school and was checking some schools. I got to one particular school, after talking with their representative and she showed me around the school, everything seemed fine. I decided to enroll my child in the school.
On my way home, I got a text message from the school thanking me for coming. But the moment I read that text, I changed my mind and decided not to enroll my child in the school. Reason: the text message had grammar errors. And that instantly changed my perception of the school.
A moment of truth is anytime in the overall customer experience when your customer is likely to form or change an impression about your organization.
In my experience with the school, the moments of truth were positive until that poorly written text message – a negative moment of truth – changed my impression of the school. And the outcome was that I didn’t return to the school.
Often, organizations lose customers and business opportunities because they failed to pay attention to their moments of truth.
Indeed, moments of truth are important in customer service. But more important is understanding when these moments are happening for your customers so you can pay adequate attention to the interactions that are important to customers – and to the way employees handle those interactions.
Moments of truth can lay anywhere within the customer lifecycle. Hence it’s important to examine the lifecycle from end-to-end to determine where they actually are.
In my school experience shared earlier, the moments of truth were at the acquisition stage of the customer lifecycle. In other instances, they may be at the retention stage where those who experience them are existing customers. Or at the stage of advocacy through word of mouth.
Wherever they are, moments of truth incredibly affect customers’ perception about the organization, which influences their decision later down the line.
Perhaps, that’s why Kevin Stirtz said, “Every contact we have with a customer influences whether or not they’ll come back. We have to be great every time or we’ll lose them.”
Right now, as you read this article, you may have found yourself reflecting on the moments of truth in your organization.
They could be many in a single day. For instance, in a medical clinic, the moments of truth during a routine medical checkup can be:
- Arrival at the clinic
- Waiting for the doctor
- Introduction to the examination by the doctor
- Discussion of finding
Now, what are your organization’s moments of truth? Put differently, in the customer’s journey with your organization, at what specific points can the customer form an impression about your organization?
You could ask your team to help list them. That’s, to list all the opportunities for a customer to form an impression of your organization.
Which of these listed moments of truth are generally favourable? Which are opportunities for improvement (OFI)? In general, how could you deliver extraordinary service in the OFI areas?
The organization that regularly ponders these questions and puts their answers into practice is the one that will keep customer defection to the minimum, increase customer loyalty, and flourish over the long term.