Richard Maun – Moments Of Truth

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Moments Of Truth

26 March 2017

‘Well now,’ said the service assistant at the other end of the telephone,’we don’t open until 8am, but you could leave your car in the next garage and post the key through their letter box and we will go round and collect the car for you.’

I liked the sound of that. I find car servicing a pain because it always seems to fall in a busy patch of work, when I either need the car, or need to be elsewhere. This often makes dropping off and collecting too difficult. The garage will provide a hire car, with enough notice, but that doesn’t help if my client is out of town and I’m not due back for a couple of days.

Hatching a cunning plan last week, I realised that if I could leave the car with them super early, I could walk into Norwich and see my client and then walk back at the end of the day. The snag was I knew I needed to drop the car off before they officially opened and although I flatter myself that I’m a pretty good driver, even I haven’t mastered the art of squeezing a Volvo through steel security bollards.

The service assistant was patient and alive to my diary issues and was happy to help with a neat solution – one of the reasons I’ve had Volvo cars for 10 years. Other cars are available I’m sure and yet I like the comfy Swede and the consistently friendly service on offer.

A moment of truth occurs every time we interact with a company, or every time we interact with a client. Interaction can be an email, a telephone call, our attitude on arrival, our invoicing routine, or our complaints handling procedure.

The option for me to park next door to the garage was a classic moment of truth …which confirmed my loyalty to their brand.

My recent experience reminded me of the incident, 35 years ago, when my mother saved up and purchased a new Mini Metro. At the point of handover, she beamed, the sales man beamed back and then stuck out his hand and said ‘Many thanks for choosing this dealership’ …to my father. Yes my dad. Not my mum, who looked shocked as the dealer ignored her and shook his hand. A lesson in how moments of truth can leave an indelible stain if we cock them up. My parents, who had been loyal customers for 10 years, never went back to the garage.

There is no margin for error in business, when it comes to being on-message, being brand aware and treating our customers with respect. What can take 10 years to build can be shattered in a moment, with one crass handshake and a witheringly patronising manner.

However glum we are feeling and however much of a nuisance the customer might feel to us, we have to remember that a) they are putting food on our table and b) reports suggest that every dissatisfied customer goes and tells another 20 people. Or they Tweet, blog and Facebook their annoyance and reach another 1,000 people.

This week, really notice all of the moments of truth for you, both as a customer and as a supplier. What really made you feel great? What did you learn from your observations? Who really scored top marks this week in your ogranisation?

Next week: Asking For Help


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact