Use it to explore the customer surface of your organization, looking
for problem and issues that need resolution.
Use it to understand the overall customer experience and hence
understanding your real brand.
Use it to focus in and identify specific aspects of the customer
experience that need improving.
Use it to understand experiences of people other than customers (e.g.
employees, partners, visitors and so on).
How to use it
Identify the customer surface
Customers interface with companies in many different ways and places,
both formally and informally. The full customer surface is made up of all
moments where the customer has an experience and associates this with the
name of the company. Thus, the surface includes using products, phoning
the company, watching adverts, visiting the company or its
representatives, and so on.
Select the critical areas
Investigating the whole surface is impossible in a single project or
session, so it is necessary to find a way to focus on areas where you can
make a difference.
A useful focus is in interfaces where customers are in a vulnerable
state and the company has a critical opportunity to impress or disappoint
the customer. These 'moments of truth' are often forgotten events, for
example when they walk through the door to a reception desk or when they
first unpack the product and try to get it working.
Slow down time and watch every moment
Play through the customer experience during this time in 'slow motion',
watching for any moments in which impressions may be formed. If possible,
study actual experiences, perhaps even recording them for later study.
'Mystery shoppers' are a way of gathering supporting data.
You can also do it yourself: just try playing at customer for your own
products. Phone the hotline. Go to the local discount warehouse and ask
for advice. You may experience a moment of truth or two for yourself.
In a MoT analysis of our customers, I find that when they call our
accounts department to arrange payments, they are being give the
'telephone runaround', with the person answering the phone not knowing who
can answer questions. After the professionalism of the call center, the
accounts people seem very unprofessional.
How it works
The term 'Moment of Truth' was coined by Jan Carlzon, who managed the
Scandinavian SAS Airlines. He used the term to mean those moments in which
important brand impressions are formed and where there is significant
opportunity for good or bad impressions to be made.
Moments of Truth often happen when they are not thought to occur, in
odd interfaces with staff and moments with products. First impressions are
often critical moments. When customers have certain expectations and they
are disappointed, then they can form very negative impressions or feel a
sense of betrayal that sends them into destructive desires for
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