“Moments of truth” are those crucial points in your firm’s interaction with a customer.
An article published in Harvard Business Review states that “the most important interactions [with a customer] are ‘moments of truth,’ those few points of contact that hold the greatest potential to delight — or alienate — an organization’s customers.”
Why is identifying the ‘moments’ so important?
It’s usually on the customer success teams to analyze the potential touchpoints and decide:
- How could the interaction be better?
- What changes could be made to the existing processes, etc?
Take an example of renewals. Instead of just sending out the renewal notices at regular intervals, it would be great if you can also make them feel appreciated for the partnership that they’ve given you. Highlight the ROI or the value that they received or the positive impact that your product was able to offer. Reimagining the way processes work can tremendously improve customer experience.
This way each touchpoint with your customer-whether it’s through marketing, or sales, or product team- is an opportunity to make that impression. Consider surveying your customers at significant points in your interaction with them.
Invite customers to help you out with their journey.
To be honest, most of the CS professionals out there struggle with building their customer’s journey. At the same time, customers face incredible challenges while using your product and deriving value out of it. As CCO/CS leader you should be thinking of ways to accelerate value for the customer without losing peace over it. The best of doing it is to enable your CSMs to ask some questions like:
- How can you create more value for your customer?
- Where should be the focus to unlock the accelerated value?
- How to communicate the value to your customers?
This would be a good starting point for you in mapping out the journey. It basically ties back to the earlier point of establishing a clearly defined customer journey.
Finding your firm’s moments of truth
The most effective way to understand the touchpoints that your firm has with your customers is through the process of customer journey mapping. This tool is incredibly helpful in identifying opportunities for your organization. It helps you in understanding how they affect your relationship with customers. It should ideally start from the point of view of customers. Since CS and sales teams work closely with customers, they’re an indispensable part of the journey mapping process.
But who should be held responsible for identifying these moments? Is it the CSM (Customer Success Manager) or a CS leader or the team/personnel who supports the customer? Let’s find out.
As a CS leader, you must…
Find out the moments of value in a customer journey. Generally, it’s the responsibility of a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) to establish that journey. Also, it is super critical for him/her to oversee the execution part as well. Thus the two vital functions of a CCO are:
- Mapping out the journey and
- Identifying who owns and supports those moments.
The execution part becomes the responsibility of not only who owns that moment but of those who support it also. Let’s say a customer needs the ‘professional services’ personnel’s help at a specific point in their journey. Hence, the CCO should be able to identify the PS personnel and also the CSM who will support that moment and interaction.
No need for you to spend days or weeks mapping out your customer interactions. Especially if it’s your first one. Even if you map out just a couple of the most obvious touchpoints, this will provide many benefits to your firm, such as:
- It will throw some light on the most influential ‘moments of truth’ with your customers.
- Your organization will start approaching the business from a customer’s perspective.
- You now know where to start for future interactions.
Weighing the relative importance of these “moments of truth” in the journey should be done once the mapping process is complete. It is because not all customer touchpoints are equal. Probably only some of them are critical much more influential on your relationship with your customer than the others.
However, you shouldn’t sit idle once the map is created. Undoubtedly, you must update your journey map yearly. BUT if your business does any of the following, then know that it’s time to update the map.
- Acquires a new product, or
- Invests in new tech, or
- Is at a fast-growing stage, or
- Gets merged with another firm, etc.
The reason for doing this is the simple fact that these impact customer perception of value.
‘Moments of Value’ Triggers
Wayne McCulloch, Chief Customer Officer at WalkMe and the author of "7 Pillars of Customer Success," beautifully describes these triggers in his book.
The ‘Moments of Value’ triggers are the potential opportunities to display your strengths to your customers. These opportunities are the triggers. In his book, Wayne explains them in detail. He divides these triggers into 5 broad categories.
Lifecycle stage triggers
Customer Event triggers
Scheduled event triggers
CSM defined triggers
- Drop-in Usage
- Release readines
- Sponsor change
- Monthly check-ins
- Annual customer events
- Low NPS
- Customer Webinars
These ‘Moments of Truth’ triggers can happen at every level of touch basing on the customer. The CSMs should identify where these triggers lie so that a positive relationship can be established. A customer success playbook (irrespective of the level of interaction) incorporates these triggers. So it becomes extremely important for the CS teams to design the best possible outcome that leads to renewals and retention.
Every single opportunity, whether big or small, you should be taking advantage of that. If you prove value, customers will be happy that they found you as a vendor. Someone who understands their problems, appreciates their feedback, etc. always deserves customer loyalty.
It’s a wrap-up
Providing a positive customer experience can happen only if you put your customer first.
Start with the customer journey map. Creating a customer map is not difficult but not easy either. Ask the customer what is that s/he wants from your product. Get them involved in the process.
Review and update your journey map regularly. Then, identify potential triggers or opportunities that disguise themselves as customer interactions. Weigh in their influence as not all interactions are vital. Once done, establish who owns those moments of truth at every level of touch basing. When done perfectly, from Onboarding through renewals, these become ‘moments of value’ to your customer.
Sruti Satish is a Content Marketer with SalesGear