“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.
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”.
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.
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.
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?