Six Serving Men Blog

Six Serving Men Blog

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Digital Moments of Truth!

Stef Elliott - Friday, November 27, 2009
Moments of Truth - Book cover In the late 1980's Jan Carlzon published "Moments of Truth" one of the defining management books of the late 20th century. It details the transformation his pholosophy to customer service made to the profitability of the Swedish Airline SAS.   

In it he highlighted the importance of "Moments of truth" - The times when their customer came into contact with SAS employeees. "SAS is not a collection of material assets but the quality of contact between an individual customer and the SAS employees who serve the customer directly"

On the assumption that each their 10 million customer came into contact with five SAS employees fr aproximatly 15 seconds at a time it created 50 million "Moments of Truth" The moments when SAS had to prove to their customewrs taht SAS are the best alternative.

In the book there is no mention of the internet, websites, social media, iphones etc. but as we move towards 2010 the principles discussed have even greater resonance or should have !

Continuing the Airline Analogy further, two recent examples of how companies have not covered themselves in glory are highlighted by United & American Airlines.

Frustrated with the (lack of) client service following the mishandling of one of their guitar's at Chicago airport between flights the band "Sons of Maxwell" promised the last person to finally say no to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that they would write and produce a series of songs about the experience with United Airlines and make videos to be viewed online by anyone in the world.


6 million views later this mishandled moment of truth has come back to and continues to haunt United. 

Big business and Social Media rubbing up against each other are highlighted further by American Airlines who recently fired a blogger who responded to a comment relating to the poor usabilty of the AA website. "A Clueless company flailing" headlines resulted and exposed weaknesses in the silos in the company

As the communication channels open to and preferred by customers grows the number and importance of moments of truth grows - if not handled properly it's no longer just one customer lost.        
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