moments of truth

Moments of Truth: Differentiation in Enabling the Customer Experience

There are certain moments when our brand or product is tested, our prospect or existing customer faces a key decision, or when our company confronts a customer service opportunity to differentiate.

We call these critical customer touchpoints our Moments of Truth.

Optimizing the customer experience requires us to identify and fortify the Moments of Truth across all the lifecycle stages in our customer journey – Awareness, Knowledge, Consideration, Selection, Purchase, Satisfaction, Retention, and Advocacy.

To place our customers at the core of our business, we want to:

-Survey customers and understand their priorities and perspectives.

-Identify critical Moments of Truth at each customer lifecycle stage.

-Optimize those Moments of Truth leveraging process and technology tools.

So, when talking to our customers – and, yes, this does require talking to them – what kinds of Moments of Truth can we expect to find? Well, it depends. The customer journey and accompanying Moment of Truth can vary wildly from one company to the next.

That said, most complex B2B organizations can relate to the following use cases in leveraging technology to enable the most memorable Moments of Truth. (Hat tip to Proctor & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley, who coined the term back in 2005, and Google, for spinning it forward to the digital age in 2011.)

Moment of Truth #1: A prospect seeks basic product information while considering different solutions to address a business issue or opportunity.

Lifecycle stage: Knowledge and consideration.

Lever: An organized website that allows prospects to find what they need when they need it – from information that offers a solution to the customer’s issue or opportunity to product or service specifications to indicate the “right fit.”

Customers have never invested so deeply in understanding their options before engaging in a sales process as they do today. Therefore, web content is especially important in early stages of the customer lifecycle.

How important? Google and Shopper Sciences Agency found that potential buyers consulted 5.2 content sources before engaging way back in 2010. That number jumped to 10.4 in 2011. Just imagine what it will be in 2018.

Moment of Truth #2: A new customer has the need for updates and timely communication.

Lifecycle stage: Purchase and satisfaction.

Lever: Proactive and personalized customer communication, potentially via text or IM or phone call when necessary.

Every purchase comes with challenges – from unexpectedly incompatible systems to access outages and missed opportunities to surprise and delight your customer. Communication in the format that the customer prefers is key during trouble resolution. You have to say something even if it’s simply: “I don’t have an update yet, but we’re working on a solution.”

Of course, that communication will increasingly happen through instant messaging or text embedded in your support forums or online help documentation. According to Forrester Research, 80% of people search for an answer online first when confronting a problem.

Moment of Truth #3: A customer has matured into a regular user of your product or service.

Lifecycle stage: Retention and advocacy.

Lever: An invitation to learn more about a leading technology, a quarterly business review, or access to the company’s executive leadership.

We all know it costs less to retain an existing customer than to sign a new one. That’s why customer experience leaders implement loyalty programs that identify and reward their most valuable customers.

What does a loyalty program look like in B2B? While you can’t offer a punch card for a free product, free “stuff” builds loyalty if it’s allowed within your customer’s gifting policy. A B2B loyalty program might include a meeting with the company’s top executive or a quarterly business review or merely the opportunity to allow the customer to provide input as to your product or service strategy.

By Maria Trysla – Marketing Strategy for B2B Companies.

Are you ready for a deeper dive into Moments of Truth and how to optimize the customer experience? Check out my article on Why Customer Experience Matters or send me a message on LinkedIn.

About CMG Partners

CMG enables complex organizations to realize their market potential, becoming more agile, and more focused on growth. We’re strategists and practitioners in equal measure, backing up our thinking with a sharp understanding of execution. Clients from Fortune 500 powerhouses to startup ventures trust CMG to lead category-changing marketing strategies to success. We deliver strategy, go-to-market, agile and analytical programs with speed and dexterity.