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The Moment of Truth

A “Moment of Truth” in business is anytime a customer comes into contact with your business and forms an opinion of your business. Moments of Truth can be miserable, average, and even moments of magic where the customer is so delighted that they tell their friends and keep coming back for more.

It doesn’t matter how good the food at a restaurant is or where it’s located because without hungry customers, there is no business. Your company culture, therefore, must be so focused on your franchise owners, employees and customers that it creates amazement.

This means creating consistent and predictable WAY above-average experiences. These experiences help create evangelists, employees and customers who are loyal and go out of their way to be your advocates.

Employees and customers live in parallel worlds. Whatever happens on the inside of the company is felt on the outside.

All companies, employees and customers must address the same 4 phases:

1) Uncertainty Phase – The level of certainty varies based on the consistency of the employee and customer experience. Southwest Airlines’ goal is to always have the exact same experience every time.

2) Alignment Phase – Do what you’re hired to do. Ritz Carlton’s mantra is “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”

3) Experience and Ownership Phase – When a good experience is predictable and when an employee takes ownership, treating the business as if it were their own, which reflects on the customer experience.

4) Amazement Phase – When the experience surprises and delights the employee and the customer.

Once a company has mastered the Amazement Phase, there are 10 focus areas that must be consistently addressed:

1 ) Common Sense Focus – Whatever is done should not hurt the company, should not cost the company, should not hurt the employee, and should not hurt the customer.

2 ) Employee Golden Rule Focus – Treat your employees the way you want your customer treated. Or maybe even better!

3 ) Awesome Responsibility Focus – At any given time, your employees represent your entire organization. Our motto is “One Hunk, One Heartbeat.”

4 ) Touch Points/ Impact Points Focus– This includes the Frontline experience like checking your bag in at an airport, and the behind-the-scenes experiences like making sure your bag actually gets on the correct plane.

5 ) WOW Moments Focus – Amazement, surprising and delighting the client like a handwritten letter or bringing dog treats for the dogs.

6 ) Confidence Creation Focus– Do what you say you’re going to do, do it on time, don’t blame others, be accountable, be polite, be proactive with your services and finally under promise and over deliver.

7 ) Service Creativity Focus– Attention to details like remembering a client’s favorite sports team or wine and then providing them something pertaining to that detail as a surprise.

8 ) Amazing Recovery Focus – If something goes wrong, fix what needs fixing, do it with a positive attitude, and do it urgently. Thank the customer for telling you, say “I’m glad you told me that…” Stop and listen to the customer. Tell them what went wrong, explain what you’re going to do about it and win them back.

9 ) Rinse and Repeat – Do it the same or better every single time.

10 ) Bonus Focus and Exercises – Say “Thank You” as much as possible. Do a weekly Employee Exercise where you write responses to the following:

  • An example when you created a great service experience for a customer.
  • What you think our company should start doing, stop doing, and keep doing.
  • What are customer expectations and what can interrupt these expectations?
  • What should be done 100% of the time to prevent anything from going wrong?
  • Finally list some ways to create potential WOW opportunities at each moment of truth.

One final thought: Image is Everything!

You only get one chance to make an amazing FIRST impression. People make assumptions about you and your company within the first 5 seconds of their first interaction with it, and then spend the rest of the time looking for clues to reinforce their initial assumptions.

Do you and your employees and company look TV Ready? If Oprah showed up at your doorstep tomorrow to do a profile on your company, would you be pleased with the way your office looks? The way your employees are dressed? The way things are organized?

You and your staff should always be “TV READY” because you’re on display at all times with your customers and the general public. Don’t assume that people are not noticing just because Oprah hasn’t had you on her show…yet.