Moments of Truth in Service Management

wouter wyns

Several years ago, I had an annoying issue on a website of mine due to a configuration error in a system managed by my internet service provider (ISP). I contacted my ISP’s support center and was sent from pillar to post. The problem dragged on endlessly. After that bad experience, I told everyone how horrible the service from that ISP was. After a while, I realized that maybe my criticism was a bit too harsh. After all, I had received impeccable service from my ISP for over ten years and never had a problem before. I had just experienced a Moment of Truth and it changed my entire perception.

Moment of Truth

The term Moment of Truth was introduced in the early 1980s by Jan Carlzon, then CEO of Scandinavian Airlines. This concept states that customer satisfaction with regard to a brand is determined by those short moments when you come into contact with the organization behind the brand. When you can convert those Moments of Truth into a positive outcome, you can turn dissatisfaction into customer satisfaction, a key success factor in building a successful business.

For me, this concept was an eye-opener when thinking about customer satisfaction in the context of service management. When you have provided an excellent service to a customer for many years, that perception can be broken with just one poorly handled issue. Every ticket registered in a support organization is a point of contact, and when something goes wrong, the whole perception can be turned upside down.

But how to successfully implement a Moment of Truth strategy in a service management environment? A typical mid-sized support organization receives hundreds or even thousands of tickets a day. How do you efficiently manage these vast numbers of tickets that could all become Moments of Truth? Well, the good news is that you only need to focus on a small number of all the support tickets received.  After all, in a well-established service management environment, the processing of the majority of support tickets goes smoothly. It comes down to pinpointing the ones that lead to negative emotions.

Identify and Manage Moments of Truth in 4me

The 4me platform provides excellent functionality to discover Moments of Truth and manage them: the end user can express dissatisfaction (or satisfaction) with just a simple click. And be assured that your customers will do so when they are dissatisfied!

The service desk manager is automatically notified when a customer reports dissatisfaction. In addition, there is also the ‘Requests with Dissatisfied Requester’ report, which not only provides insight into the number of requests with a dissatisfied user but also shows how many of them have been addressed.

The process you need to implement is simple: make sure that the service desk manager (or anyone of your choice) tracks all the dissatisfied responses. For each dissatisfied response, the service desk manager will determine the best way to conciliate the customer. In many cases, he or she will directly contact the customer: just listening will already remove some dissatisfaction. Once the customer is satisfied with the resolution, the service desk manager can set the satisfaction status of the request to ‘Addressed’, which will remove the request from the follow-up list.           

With this built-in functionality, the 4me platform allows you to identify your customers’ Moments of Truth and act upon them. Doing so will make a tremendous difference in keeping the customer satisfaction level above average while it will take the organization just a limited amount of time and effort. Just make sure that your service desk manager has the right skills to perform conciliation. Because one should never forget that service management is first and foremost a people business.