The Psychology of Quality and More
No, it has nothing to with cars. MoT stands for 'Moment of Truth', a term coined by former airline CEO Jan Carlzon as a way to find critical points in a service and contact profile. A Moment of Truth is a key point where a customer may be delighted or disappointed. If you can manage these, then the quality of customer experience will clearly be enhanced.
Below are simple stages that may be taken in the process of identifying, improving and managing Moments of Truth.
List the touch points
The first step in MoT analysis is to make visible all of the points where your customer touches your company. To do this, simply list the touch points. This includes where they phone you up, visit your premises or when you go and talk with them. It may also include times when they are interacting with your products, such as unpacking goods, watching adverts or searching on your website.
A way to identify these points (and a useful trick throughout the process) is to step into their shoes and imagine how they find, acquire and interact with you and your products. It can always help, of course, to ask your customers themselves, though do beware of being cognitively trapped by the viewpoints of a small sample.
Identify key touchpoints
If your list of touchpoints is long, then the next challenge is to find a focus for deeper exploration. For this you can use selection criteria such as duration of contact, known problem areas, and potential for customer disappointment or loss. Where possible use data h ere, for example customer complaints or location sales figures.
Map the touchpoints
Now it is time to get into real detail in the selected touchpoints. For each interaction, slow things right down to capture each step of the way. For example if they are coming to visit you, rather than just covering the bit where you are talking with them, start with them receiving directions and end with them getting home. In this way you can check such things as that your directions are unambiguous, that building signage is clear and that reception has sufficient information to welcome them.
Ways of drawing touchpoints include process maps, timelines and storyboards. Explore these and use what works for you.
Test for satisfaction, disappointment and delight
At each of the steps along the customer's touch journey, ask what they will experience and how they may feel about this. In particular look for points of irritation, such as where they may be confused, kept waiting or otherwise treated with insufficient respect.
You can do this by just imagining what would happen but it is much more powerful to actually follow the customer's route yourself. Put on a naive hat and try opening product packaging. Go to the front gate and walk up to reception. Try calling the service desk and act like a confused customer. You can also ask customers and your people of course, who will add to your understanding.
Within this testing focus look for critical moments, such as entering the building or lifting the product out of the box, where there is particular vulnerability for triggering of experiential emotions.
As well as annoyances, spot the little delights along the way that you want to keep and map propagate, such as particularly clear signs or friendly greetings.
Keep notes of these experiences either directly on the touchpoint map or on a separate keyed list or diagram.
Identify key experiences to improve
Now focus in again on particular moments that need attention. These can include clear failures, such as a lack of instructions, and risk points, such as at reception, where there is plenty of potential for things to go wrong.
Involve the right people in the improvement, as you would in any improvement work, including managers, designers and people involved in delivering the service. Even customers can come up with very helpful suggestions as well as comment on your other ideas.
And of course check it out in practice to ensure it makes a real difference.
Next time: RAG Guidelines and Template
This article first appeared in Quality World, the journal of the Chartered Quality Institute
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