This CX Mini Masterclass explains customer “Moments of Truth”. Show host and customer experience expert, Julia Ahlfeldt, shares where the concept came from, and how you can use your understanding of Moments of Truth to improve customer journeys and foster loyalty. These moments can make or break a customer journey, so if you’ve heard this term used as a buzzword, but want to learn how to translate jargon into business results, then this episode is for you.
Moments of Truth
Just like the term “touchpoint”, “Moment of Truth” (MOT) is another one of the super popular CX buzzwords. I hear it used to describe all sort of things, often incorrectly. (Check out Episode 16 for an overview of what touchpoints really are!) The good news is that the concept of the Moment of Truth is one that has been around for a while and has a pretty clearly documented meaning. This concept was coined by Jan Carlzon, the former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines. He spoke of these as “any time a customer comes into contact with a business, however remote, they have an opportunity to form an impression.”
Within this broad definition there are especially crucial moments of truth along the journey. These crucial moments happen when a customer has invested a lot of time, energy, money or emotion in a particular outcome, and that outcome is about to come to fruition. MOTs have a significant impact on customer sentiment or satisfaction. We can even think of them as a sort of “tipping point” for the journey.
Within the airline example, the check-in counter experience is a quintessential crucial moment of truth. There are so many steps that lead up to the day of travel. From booking tickets to packing bags, customers typically invest a lot of time, energy and money in their trip before they even get to the airport. All this time, expectations and emotions are mounting. If the customer is greeted at check in with a friendly smile and a complementary upgrade because they are a frequent flier, they’ll be floating on cloud 9 all the way to their final destination. If, on the other hand, the check in agent scowls at the customer and informs them they’ve been bounced because the flight was oversold, it would set a horrible tone for their trip. The interactions at the check in counter take just an instant, but it’s so much more than that to the customer.
Identifying the MOTs
Journeys can have multiple moments of truth. To identify the most important MOTs, start by mapping the customer journey and evaluating the accumulation of customer effort along the way, searching for those points when the effort crescendos into an outcome. Another way to look at this is in terms of “jobs to be done”. Most customer journeys involve little achievements along the way to fulfilling some greater need. Look for these smaller achievements, and you’ll also probably find the moments of truth.
In the airline travel journey there are a good handful of key MOTs. Arriving in your seat on the plane and retrieving your bags upon arrival are two other examples of key moments of truth. Each of these moments presents an important emotional fork in the road. The outcomes could reaffirm the customer’s brand loyalty and make their effort seem worth it, or it could leave them upset and erode their relationship with the brand.
Designing key memorable moments
Once CX professionals identify those crucial moments of truth, it’s time to define what good looks like. Organizations should assess the moments through the lens of what they know customers like or dislike, as well as through the lens of their brand’s aspirations.
The Virgin branded airlines have really nailed this balance. Their check in experience is seamless, modern and highly digitized with friendly service staff on hand to assist. These are the building blocks of a good check-in experience, but they’ve also added great branded touches like sleek kiosks, red carpets and mood lighting to all of their check-in areas to set the tone and mark the beginning of the customer’s travel journey with them. Memorable MOTs will look different for each brand and journey, but CX professionals can take inspiration from these best in class examples.
Want to keep learning about CX?
If you’d like to checkout more of these CX Mini Masterclasses or listen to my longer format CX expert interviews, check out the full listing of episodes for this CX podcast.
And if you are looking to super-charge your CX skills and continue learning, be sure to check out CX University. They have a great array of CXPA accredited training resources available on a flexible monthly subscription plan. Use the code PODCAST10 to get 10% off your first month’s subscription and support this podcast.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business achieve its CX goals, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services (including VOC research and customer insight) or get in touch via email.