Moments of Truth

“A moment of truth is an episode in which a customer comes into contact with any aspect of the company, however remote and thereby, has an opportunity to form an impression.”

How it can be utilized to improve revenue growth and profitability

The concept of the Moment of Truth was introduced in the 1980s by Jan Carlzon when he was instrumental in the business turnaround at Scandinavian Airlines in the early 80’s.

It was Carlzon’s position that if you managed every interaction to create a positive outcome, the business would be successful. That theory proved right for his airline, which eventually became one of the most admired in the industry.

50 million Moments of Truth

Carlzon focused on improving the customer experience for business travellers, moment by moment, and through that philosophy attracting customers from competitor airlines. Jan’s plan was to make Scandinavian Airlines the best provider of service in the market. The service experience would be outstanding for the customer and the internal service experience between staff and departments would also be outstanding. This profound link of internal and external service ignited positive change and gave all staff a sense of interconnectedness. 

Each year 10 million customers came into contact with approximately five Scandinavian Airline employees and this contact lasted an average of 15 seconds each time, meaning 50 million “moments of truth” that would ultimately determine whether the airline would succeed or fail as a company. The impact of mapping and improving the customer experience, and the improved empowerment of staff to best decide on the delivery of those moments brought results.

The Moment of Truth concept is powerful. And, it has now crossed over into sales and marketing as others have embraced the term to describe different customer and consumer behaviors.

Some 20 years later, in 2005, A.G. Lafley, Chairman, President and CEO of Procter & Gamble, came up with his version of Moments of Truth. Rather than customer service, these were focused on consumer sales. Basically, he said there were two Moments of Truth, and he later added a third:

  1. The first Moment of Truth is when the customer is looking at a product. This can be in-store or online.
  2. The second Moment of Truth is when the customer actually purchases the product and uses it.
  3. The third Moment of Truth that he added is when customers provide feedback about the product. They share it with the company as well as their friends, colleagues, family members, etc.

Changes in the decision making process

It was in 2011 that Google came up with another Moment of Truth:

“Customers now complete around 60% of the decision-making process before they even speak with a sales person from a potential supplier.”

Google call this phase prior to the first contact the `zero moment of truth’ (ZMOT)*……..9 out of 10 decision-makers start out their decision-making process on the internet.

“If you’re not serving the customer, you better be serving someone who is!”

Karl Albrecht, Service America

How many “Moments of Truth” and “Zero Moments of Truth” determine your customer’s experience?

Related courses

Consultative Selling