Customer Focus

By Tim Connor, Rodeo! Performance Group, Inc.

Sounds kind of scary, huh? We know the “moment of truth” as being that defining moment, that critical point upon which everything that follows depends. We’ve all had moments of truth in relationships, in jobs, in projects, in the execution of business strategies…but did you know that every customer who enters your organization goes through a series of moments of truth?

It’s true, you know. Any time a customer comes in contact with a part of your company that they later use to judge the quality of your organization, it’s a moment of truth. And, if you want to really manage customer satisfaction within your company, you should know what those moments of truth (MOTs) are for all parts of your company’s processes.

Moments Of Truth

A contact by which a customer will judge the quality of your company. Where would that occur? Let’s look at some examples and some questions that should be asked at each…

The Initial Phone Contact

What happens during the first contact with your company? In what manner is the customer greeted? How is the interaction itself, is there an atmosphere of welcome or one of bother? Is the customer’s question or concern well addressed? If necessary, are transfers speedy and to the right person? How will the contact be remembered?

Walking In The Door

What do they see? WHO do they see? Are they greeted immediately, or allowed to stand there while staff ignore them. Customers tend to understand when they can see staff are busy with others, but it doesn’t hurt to give a smile and quick greeting, and tell them they will be attended to as soon as is possible.

Discussion With Sales Staff

What approach do your sales staff take? Is it pressure for a sale, causing the customer to begin putting up barriers, or is there a real effort to understand the needs of the customer? Does he or she feel “sold to”, or on walking out do they feel that they have a workable solution?

Dealing With Problems

Problems are inevitable in any business, do your staff understand this? Is there a systematic plan for approaching customers who are having a problem? Does the plan include a friendly manner, and do your staff know how to “get on the customer’s side” so he feels the company really cares that the difficulty is solved? Studies have shown that well-handled difficulties make the most long lasting good impressions on customers. Are you making the most of yours?

Paying Bills

This is an important process to the customer, how is yours? Is your billing process accurate, and does the bill arrive timely? Is it easy to understand, and are payment expectations clearly communicated? More importantly, are your staff well-versed in the process and ready to help with billing questions or to help arrange payment?

As you can see, the process of evaluating your business for MOTs is a straightforward one. If you walk your mind through the major touch points your company has with a customer, you can generate your own questions to evaluate desirable outcomes for each MOT. Or, and this is even better, “shop” the process yourself, or have a trusted staff member do it.

This approach gives first-hand data on attitudes, knowledge, and approach of the company in handling each Moment, but obviously, be sure that the one working through the process is unknown to other staff!

What Happens Next?

It’s not the norm, but the best way to use this evaluative process is in a matter-of-fact way, without the aim of punishment or reproach involved. If you and your staff see it as a means to improve each Moment of Truth, AND if it’s done regularly, steady improvement is the almost inevitable result. Be sure your approach involves all staff, and that ideas for improving each MOT are discussed and implemented. It’s also wise to have a good measure for improvement at each point (number of problems dealt with, number of complaints, types of issues, number of sales, comments, etc.) to provide feedback on these Moments of Truth throughout the process. Once identified, such measures should be reported to the involved staff regularly, and should be trended to show either improvement or need for improvement.

Your company has Moments of Truth, why not be known for having good ones?