Calculating Moments of Truth

A day at the office for a service management professional, especially one working within an IT organization, is riddled with ‘moments of truth (MOT)’. For a service provider organization the MOTs are embedded, hopefully deliberately and designed, in service encounters that manifest themselves as service requests.

Sometimes the service request is handled automatically by one or more information systems – application software, and goes unseen, or even unreported. Sometimes the service requests are the break-fix type, commonly termed ‘incidents’, and these tend to get the most publicity and attention.   In a related article (the link is at the bottom of this), I discuss the five common types of service encounters.

In this brief article I would like to start the discussion on how to calculate the number of moments of truth you may have, and may have to manage, within your organization.  Its just a start, and frankly I am not sure what the end benefit is of knowing how many MOTs might be out there, except to perhaps remind service management professionals of the challenge of satisfying all the customers, all of the time. The language I use is from the Guide to the Universal Service Management Body of Knowledge (USMBOK™) publication.

Moments of truth happen naturally. Here are a few examples of when they typically occur within a service provider organization:

  • When a customer calls in on the phone for any reason
  • When a customer walks pays the organization a visit
  • When an account representative meets a customer
  • When a customer asks a question or any representative of the organization
  • When a customer makes a purchase
  • When a customer returns a product
  • When a product or service fails to perform to the expected level
  • When a promised improvement doesn’t occur
  • When a purchased item is delivered, and optionally installed
  • When a customer visits the organization’s web site

How moments of truth might be calculated, counted, is service encounter dependent. Let’s take a quick look at how we might count them for some of the five I discuss in the related article, and as I started out, this remains a work in progress…

First Kind – Processed by the service transaction engine

  • Number of transactions processed every day by information systems
  • Number of page views at service access portal websites
  • Number of pages presented to the customer as part of an online transaction
  • Number of communications sent (such as emails confirmations) by the service provider organization to the customer

Second Kind – Request for Help with an Issue, and Third Kind – Request for Information, Access to a Service, New Service

  • Number of employees in customer facing roles who server the customer directly
  • Number of times said employees come into contact with a customer on any given day
  • The average length of contact between the employee and the customer

In the end, the best way to understand what moments of truth exist, or should exist, is to document each customer experience, and the interactions it contains with the products and service of your organization, the ‘customer pathway’ through your organization. In doing so, also map the response and associated work it generates within the provider organization, the ‘service request pathway’, ensure specific outbound moments of truth are strategically positioned along this pathway, acting as points from which true customer satisfaction levels can be measured and managed.