Moments of Truth in Your Business

The 1989 bestseller “Moments of Truth’ by Jan Carlzon, the former president and CEO of Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is an oldie but a goodie.

Jan defined a “Moment of Truth” as a point in time where your customers come into contact with a part of your business….a touchpoint.

These touchpoints set the tone for how your business is perceived by your clients. They are your opportunities to either delight your clients or to disappoint them.

By focusing on 5 key touchpoints in the airline business he was running he took it from a $17million loss in 1981 to a $54million profit in 1982!

Jan said there were 50,000 moments of truth in his business every day.  That’s because they were flying 10,000 passengers per day who experienced these 5 touchpoints.  One of the Moments of Truth he describes in his book is the moment that you lower the tray table in front of you.  If it’s dirty, what do you think of the airline?  If they can’t even clean a tray table, how well do they service their planes?

There can be many touch points in a business. For example, consider a visit to the dentist. Some of the touch points are:

  • 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 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.

The initial points at which a customer first makes contact with your business or a certain part of your service are absolutely critical. For example, when you first check into a hotel, when you arrive at a restaurant, when you arrive at your dentist’s office and when a plumber turns up at your home to fix a leaky tap.

These points set the tone for how your entire service (and in fact your entire business) is perceived by your clients.

Similarly, the point at which an interaction with a client comes to an end, the ‘farewell’ is critical because of the lasting impression that it leaves in the client’s mind.

Each of these are opportunities to delight the client. They’re also occasions when the client can feel disappointed and not cared for.

What are your Moments of Truth and how are your clients feeling about them?

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