How to transform your customer experience!

customer service

With competition becoming fiercer and fiercer it's critical to differentiate your business through your customer experience. But what exactly does “customer experience” mean in practical terms, and how can it help your business carve out a compelling market identity? Let's unravel these questions.

Welcome to Momentum Business Insights, where we share our 21+ years of experience as business coaches, helping small business owners thrive. Today, we're taking a deep dive into the pivotal realm of customer experience, exploring its power to build a resilient reputation and ensure financial success for your business in an increasingly competitive market.

Jan Carlzon and the Moments of Truth

The philosophy of Jan Carlzon, former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, offers valuable insights to small business owners looking to enhance customer experience. Carlzon believed that every interaction a customer has with a business is a moment of truth - an opportunity to make or break the customer's perception of the company. By positively addressing each of these moments, businesses can elevate their customer experience, leading to a strong reputation and increased revenue.

As highlighted in Carlzon's bestseller, "Moments of Truth," focusing on key touchpoints within the airline industry enabled a transformation from a $17 million loss to a $54 million profit in just one year. Carlzon emphasized that these touchpoints, or 'moments of truth,' could either delight or disappoint customers, significantly impacting how the business is perceived.

Carlzon identified three types of moments of truth:

The basic moment of truth: When the customer uses the service or product and finds out if it meets their expectations.

The decisive moment of truth: When the customer has a problem and contacts the company for resolution. This is a chance to show the customer how much you care.

The invisible moment of truth: When employees take decisions behind the scenes to improve the customer experience. These decisions, though unseen by the customer, have a significant impact on the overall customer experience.

In every business, there are many potential moments of truth, each setting the tone for the customer's perception. For example, consider a visit to a dentist, where the moments of truth can range from:

  • When you call to book an appointment
  • When you arrive at the dental surgery
  • When you're first shown through for your appointment and the dental nurse greets you
  • When the dentist arrives in the room
  • When the dentist examines you
  • When you're escorted back to the reception area
  • When the dentist concludes the appointment and you are escorted back to the reception area
  • When you're asked to pay for the appointment
  • When you're farewelled
  • When you receive a follow-up call from the dentist’s office to see how you're feeling.

These points of contact are critical because they shape how your entire service and your entire business are perceived. It's important to note that the first and last points of interaction – the initial greeting and the final farewell – are especially impactful due to the lasting impression they make on the client's mind.

By incorporating Carlzon's philosophy into your customer experience strategy, you can ensure that your business consistently exceeds customer expectations and fosters loyalty.

Demystifying Customer Experience: Debunking Common Misconceptions

Customer experience encompasses every single interaction a customer has with your business, from the first point of contact to post-purchase engagement. In the words of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, "The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer." His philosophy underscores the understanding that customer experience goes beyond just providing quality products or services – it's about the entire journey of the customer with your brand.

Moreover, customer experience has a profound effect on your reputation. According to a PwC report[1], 73% of all people point to customer experience as an essential factor in their purchasing decisions. Additionally, the same report highlights that 65% of U.S. customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising. This data emphasizes that a positive experience can lead to repeat business, referrals, and positive reviews, further solidifying your reputation in the market.

The 7-Step Blueprint to Enhance Customer Experience and Build a Strong Reputation

Understanding the critical role customer experience plays, how do we enhance it? What steps can small business owners take to leverage it for building a formidable reputation? Let's explore a 7-step blueprint that can guide your journey, incorporating the insights from Jan Carlzon's philosophy.

Step 1: Know Your Customers and Identify Moments of Truth

The starting point is to know your customers intimately and identify the critical moments of truth in your business. These are points where your customer interacts with your business, and they have the potential to either delight or disappoint. Understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points is paramount.

Utilize data analytics, social listening, and direct customer feedback to gain these insights. It's about anticipating their needs and aligning your offerings accordingly. As per a Salesforce survey [2], 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. Steve Jobs, the iconic founder of Apple, captured this when he said, "Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realise it themselves."

Step 2: Map the Customer Journey and Focus on Touchpoints

Mapping the customer journey involves identifying and assessing every touchpoint a customer has with your business. From the initial discovery of your brand to the moment they complete a purchase, even post-purchase support - every interaction should be positive and memorable. This is where Carlzon's “moments of truth” come into play. By ensuring that every touchpoint – or moment of truth – is positive, you can greatly enhance the overall customer experience. McKinsey reports[3], that maximizing satisfaction with customer journeys has the potential not only to increase customer satisfaction by 20% but also to lift revenue by up to 15% while lowering the cost of serving customers by as much as 20%.

Step 3: Deliver Consistent Experiences

Consistency is critical. Whether it's in-store, online, or through a call centre, every interaction with your brand should leave the customer with a positive impression. This again ties into Carlzon's philosophy. By ensuring consistency across all moments of truth, you enhance the overall customer experience, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Step 4: Foster a Customer-Centric Culture

Developing a customer-centric culture is pivotal. Every employee, regardless of their role, should understand and embrace the importance of the customer experience. Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, believes, "Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients." By nurturing this culture, every team member becomes a steward of your brand, contributing to a cohesive, customer-focused approach in all aspects of your business. This mirrors Carlzon's idea of the invisible moment of truth. When employees make decisions behind the scenes to improve the customer experience, they contribute significantly to the overall success of the business.

Step 5: Leverage Technology

Embrace technology as a tool to streamline processes, personalise interactions, and provide timely customer service. Use CRM systems to understand and track customer behaviours and preferences, automation to ensure quick responses, and AI chatbots for 24/7 customer support. But, always remember that technology should enhance human interaction, not replace it. A study by Epsilon[4], reveals that 80% of customers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.

Step 6: Embrace Transparency and Remember the Importance of Farewells

Transparency is a cornerstone of a strong customer experience strategy. Open and honest communication builds trust, strengthens relationships, and enhances your reputation. This includes being upfront about pricing, acknowledging mistakes, and keeping customers informed about changes or disruptions. A study by Label Insight [5] found that 94% of consumers are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency. Similarly, farewells are essential as they leave a lasting impression on the customer. They're opportunities to delight the client or risk making them feel uncared for.

Step 7: Continually Improve

Finally, never stop learning and improving. The world of customer experience is dynamic, and resting on your laurels can lead to complacency. Use customer feedback, data analytics, and market research to refine your strategies continually. A Microsoft report [6], highlights that 77% of consumers view brands more favourably if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback.

Conclusion: Building a Legacy of Exceptional Customer Experiences

Ultimately, focusing on customer experience isn't just about enhancing your reputation; it's about creating a legacy. The steps outlined in this article offer a comprehensive roadmap for small business owners to establish this legacy. With consistent effort, your business can become synonymous with exceptional service.


Are you ready to take your customer experience to new heights and build a reputation that sets you apart? If so, Book a Clarity Call with us and let's explore the possibilities.

Or jump over to our online courses…there is a great course just for you: Customer Service Basics

Remember, Momentum Business Improvement is here to support you every step of the way. Let's embark on this journey together, improving businesses and changing lives. In the words of Jan Carlzon, "An individual without information can't take responsibility. An individual with information can't help but take responsibility."

So, let's take responsibility, armed with the right information, and elevate your business through the power of customer experience.

Momentum: Improve your business…change your life!



[1] Source: PwC report - Future of customer experience

[2] Source: Salesforce - ‘New Research Uncovers Big Shifts in Customer Expectations and Trust’

[3] Source: McKinsey & Company - ‘The three Cs of customer satisfaction: Consistency, consistency, consistency’

[4] Source: Epsilon -  ‘New Epsilon research indicates 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences’

[5] Source: - ‘The Label Insight Transparency ROI Study’


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