A great customer journey relies heavily on how a business manages a customer’s “moment of truth.” Coined by Jan Carlzon in the 1980s, the moments of truth concept paved the way to a better understanding of the customer experience.
In any business, the customer is always right. Any company’s top priority is providing them with the best experience possible. With an increased focus on customer experience in today’s business landscape, revisiting Carlzon’s concept is imperative.
Carlzon was not all bark and no bite. According to Carlzon, businesses only become successful when they achieve positive outcomes with every customer interaction. Guided by this principle, he grew his company into one of the most admired airlines in history.
Conversely, a poor moment of truth management will result in unfavorable outcomes. This includes lost sales, decreased customer loyalty, poor conversion rates and low ROI.
That’s what Carlzon’s moment of truth concept is here to help you overcome.
In this article, we’ll explore everything there is to know about the moment of truth concept. Finally, we’ll dig into the five marketing moments of truth. The aim is to help residential home service contractors win moments of truth throughout their customer journey.
What is MOT or Moment of Truth?
Before digging into the moment of truth concept, let’s first look at who Jan Carlzon is. He received his M.B.A. in 1967 from the Stockholm School of Economics. From being a product manager, he got promoted to head of marketing during his time at Vingresor. At 32, Carlzon managed to rever economic decline.
In 1978, he became the managing director of Sweden’s major domestic airline, Linjeflyg. Three years later, he became the CEO of Scandinavian Airlines— the Association of National Airlines in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. During his leadership, Carlzon transformed economic losses incurred by Linjeflyg and SAS into healthy profits in just a year.
Because of this, many talks and interviews invited Jan Carlzon to speak about leadership and customer-oriented business strategies.
In February 1989, Jan Carlzon wrote a book called “Moments of Truth.” Despite being a thirty-year-old concept, the moment of truth concept is still a crucial principle for businesses today.
Jan Carlzon defined the moment of truth in two ways:
- Any interaction between a customer and a business touchpoint.
- Any event wherein a customer uses a company’s products or services.
The foundation of every sale and transaction is interaction. Every business on earth, no matter how remote, interacts with customers. At the core of every interaction lies the moment of truth concept. A moment of truth refers to customer interaction with a business — whether in person, over the phone, or online.
Moments of truth are essential for businesses and marketers to keep top of mind. The concept urges entrepreneurs to deliver excellent buying experiences throughout their business touchpoints. When a customer reaches out, your goal is to lead that conversation to conversion if you have the right solution for them. Therefore, you need that interaction to count, regardless if it’s brief or not.
Jan Carlzon defined the relevance of Moments of Truth in businesses using this statement:
“Any time a customer comes into contact with a business, however remote, they have an opportunity to form an impression.“
Have you heard the saying, “first impressions last?” Well, it does. And if a customer experiences a poor encounter with your business on the first try, they will never forget. Usually, there are no do-overs, so make the most of each interaction. After all, if customers aren’t satisfied with their interactions with you, they are less likely to buy what you’re selling.
Whether through the website, sales representatives, or social media channels, companies must effectively curate each moment of truth. Whether customers ultimately buy, define ways to make the interaction delightful. This is the only solution to ensure a distinctive customer experience.
Ensuring positive moments of truth rely on your employees. Your team is the frontline that interacts with customers, which means the buying experience relies heavily on them. Delightful moments of truth are magical when your team shares in your vision, like Disney.
For this reason, a positive buying experience starts by establishing a solid company culture. You need a team that lives and breathes to serve customers at the highest level, following your company’s goals and objectives. Only then will they be equipped and encouraged to pursue positive moments of truth in every customer interaction.
Wizard of Sales® helps residential home service business owners create a strong company culture geared towards excellent customer experience. Businesses can ensure that customer interactions yield positive results through a tight-knit, culture-oriented relational experience.
If you need help, book a call and let’s make those moments of truth count.
How to Win Every Moment of Truth for a Great Customer Journey
Moments of truth and customer experience are inextricably intertwined. In other words, the two are inseparable concepts.
Think about it.
Moments of truth are the interactions between customers and your business. Customer experience is the immediate result of those interactions. A poor moment of truth pushes customers away from doing business and, ultimately, buying your solutions. This makes the moment of truth a significant part of creating an exceptional customer journey.
Now, how do we create a positive moment of truth?
There are many things that businesses can do to win moments of truth and improve their customer experience. Some key strategies include:
- Providing high-quality products or services
- Communicating clearly and consistently
- Responding quickly to feedback and concerns
- Using data to understand customer needs better
However, strategies and measures are merely one part of the equation. They are the outward expression of a company’s identity; identity defines activity. Everything that happens within your company will translate and transmit to the outside. In that case, before outlining tactical strategies to win moments of truth, establish a strong company culture first.
So, how can businesses successfully manage every moment of truth? Here are three ways:
Empower Your Employees
More often than not, business owners need to face and manage customers personally. They leave that responsibility to their employees: sales reps, customer service personnel and managers. In other words, employees are the keepers of your moments of truth.
However, while business leaders may have customers’ best interests in their hearts, employees might not. That poses a problem.
If your employees do not share your vision for the company, they will destroy your business from the inside. That is on you if that ever happens, and it’s not your employees’ fault. You have to ensure that everyone else cares about your customers as much as you do. The only way to do this is by empowering your employees.
Remember the quote, “you can only love someone to the degree that you love yourself”? That is applicable in this situation. After all, how can employees care about customers and customer interactions if they don’t feel valued?
One of the most effective ways to empower employees is to provide an environment that nurtures them. Your company culture needs to deliver a happy, healthy, and wealthy environment. That way, employees will feel valued and safe, motivating them to put their best efforts into customer interactions. Offering robust compensation (on top of their paycheck) and protecting and defending a healthy workplace culture are examples to achieve this.
Another solution is to give employees clear and consistent training to achieve company goals. This will help them perform the actions and behaviors necessary to exceed expectations.
Finally, creating a safe environment open to feedback is another powerful tool for empowering your employees. This ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding customer interactions. Furthermore, it also serves as an avenue to identify areas to improve.
When you nurture employees in an environment that values every moment of truth, it will reflect in their performance.
Make the Positive Moments of Truth a Reality
What good are all the employee growth, training, and development if you don’t see them in action? The next step in your master plan of producing positive moments of truth with customers is making it a reality.
At this point, your employees should already share your vision of producing positive interactions at every touchpoint. Plus, they are equipped with the right approach and attitude in dealing with prospects. More importantly, you should have established a culture that prioritizes your customers’ pain points, pleasure points and underlying felt needs.
Once your team realizes the value of each customer, they should be keener to make every moment of truth count. Since these moments happen across all business touchpoints, employees should be knowledgeable in steering conversations to positive ends.
For example, thoroughly understanding your business’s offerings will help sales reps provide relevant recommendations when interacting with prospects. Conversational skills are also valuable in assisting salespeople in investigating customers’ needs and overcome customer objections.
On the other hand, customer service reps should also effectively manage their interaction with prospects. According to Carlzon, even remote interactions could become a moment of truth. In that case, responding promptly to customer emails and direct messages with substantial information is essential. After all, these brief online exchanges could nudge leads into full-fledged buyers.
Every moment of truth matters. Your business is off track when employees don’t understand or appreciate their value of even the briefest customer interaction.
Measure Moments of Truth
Of course, more is needed to apply tactical strategies in perfecting moments of truth. Evaluating your every course of action is essential. That’s where measuring your moments of truth comes in.
Like other strategies, you must step back and analyze how well your plans perform. This will enable your business to recalibrate its approaches and reinforce weak areas in your methods.
Are your moments of truth leading conversions? If not, what are you doing wrong that does not yield favorable results? What improvements can you make to engage customers better and boost your ROI? Answering these questions can help refine your strategy and enhance customer experience during moments of truth.
Other ways to measure the moment of truth performance include monitoring metrics like customer satisfaction, review new and repeat business. These indicators provide valuable insights into how well you deliver value to customers, including areas that need improvement.
Carrying out surveys or focus groups are other ways to gauge your moment of truth performance. This will give you a more in-depth look at where your customers stand regarding their interactions with your brand. Plus, it’s an opportunity for them to share feedback and suggestions that can help improve the overall customer journey.
Take your customers’ recommendations to heart because it’s them you are trying to please. Ultimately, measuring moments of truth is critical in creating a stellar customer experience.
The 5 Moments of Truth in Marketing
Countless business leaders and companies chipped in to refine the original moment of truth concept. Their contributions led to the creation of the five moments of truth in marketing.
Understanding these five crucial junctures is necessary to perfect every moment of truth.
Less Than Zero Moment of Truth (<ZMOT)
While the proponent of the overall principle, Jan Carlzon did not pioneer the Less Than Zero Moment of Truth. It was Eventricity Ltd. that coined this peculiar term in 2014, three decades after Carlzon’s book.
Originally, Carlzon proposed that moments of truth should consist of active interactions between customers and businesses. However, in today’s business landscape, interactions could happen even without any form of exchange or conversation. This is what <ZMOT is all about.
According to Eventricity, <ZMOT occurs when an incident happens in the customer’s life, causing them to look for a solution. For example, if customers’ air-conditioning breaks during the summer, they will be forced to look up local service providers.
The occurrence of <ZMOT urges customers to go through the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT).
Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
The Zero Moment of Truth, or ZMOT, was developed in 2011 by Google. This stage served as the successor to Eventricity’s <ZMOT concept. ZMOT is when customers actively research a product, service or business. Following an unfortunate incident in a customer’s life, they look for products and services to soothe their needs.
Under ZMOT, customers will look at every possible corner to find the service provider that can help them. Therefore, business owners should ensure that their online presence remains appealing to customers. That entails customers will visit websites, check social media pages, read online reviews and more.
You can insert substantial website information that outlines your products and services. Creating an easy-to-navigate website complete with contact details is another way to do this. With a positive ZMOT, customers will be interested enough to reach out and inquire about your solutions.
First Moment of Truth (FMOT)
The First Moment of Truth (FMOT) is when a customer engages with your products or services. This initiation could occur either online or in person.
We must understand that customers will only initiate with brands or solutions they deem worthy of their time. When your business reaches FMOT, your customer has done their research, and you fit the bill.
According to Procter and Gamble, it is the first 3-7 seconds of coming into contact with your solutions. Although P&G talks about the importance of good packaging and presentation for your answer, you can interpret this differently.
When customers specifically search for your products, that means they are open to conversation. What sales reps do during that crucial moment will define whether customers choose you or another brand. The goal is to ensure salespeople are there to answer customer concerns as soon as possible. This will keep them engaged and curious to learn more.
Second Moment of Truth (SMOT)
This second phase occurs when customers purchase your solutions and use them. Customers’ experience during the SMOT will determine and influence their purchase decisions.
If your product does not meet all your promises and sales talk, it results in a poor customer experience. As a result, customers might not buy from you. On the other hand, if your solution meets or exceeds customer expectations, they will likely choose your brand again.
There’s a critical moment during the SMOT phase. There needs to be more than just a top-notch solution. Jeffrey Gitomer says customer service is the difference between a satisfied buyer and a loyal customer. That means you should reinforce your excellent solution with unrivaled customer service.
Ultimate Moment of Truth (UMOT)
The UMOT is the pinnacle of all moments of truth in marketing. It’s the stage when customer publishes their feedback content or review of their experience with your brand. However, like SMOT, the UMOT is a two-forked road that could go either way.
You gain positive reviews if customers appreciate the product and customer service. These reviews could be in online reviews or social media posts announcing their enjoyment. Moreover, loyal customers would go out of their way to recommend you to their Realm of Association. That is the best-case scenario of UMOT you could receive.
Conversely, negative experiences could yield negative reviews that tarnish your reputation. Worse, people at ZMOT would avoid your business if they encountered those negative reviews.
It’s crucial to align your promises with your solutions. Any misalignment or perceived false advertising could cause your business some valuable sales through negative UMOT reviews.
Ensuring every moment of truth counts is key to an incredible customer journey. While not easy, it is achievable when employees genuinely value every prospect. That is possible with proper guidance, training and a company culture that nurtures customer-oriented employees.