In 1987, the then president of Scandinavian Airlines, Jan Carlzon, published a book titled “Moments of Truth” in which he presented the changes that he had implemented in the company to better their results.

The reference may seem outdated to you, but in this book he was talking neither more nor less about Customer Centricity, a subject definitely in style today in 2014…

Jan Carlzon decided to reinvent the business model of the company, orienting it towards the client 100%. His message, as much as inside as outside of the company, was clear: “the only true assets that we have are our satisfied clients.”

It rings a bell, right?

To make his philosophy more tangible, understandable, and applicable, Carlzon developed the concept of “Moments of Truth”. For him, each contact with a client was an opportunity to do the right thing and make a difference. He completely focused on customer service and made sure that each one of the company departments and employees were connected and conscientious.

It was, and still is, a model to follow for every organization. As a pioneer of CEM, Carlzon understood perfectly the importance to promote loyalty among his users and realized the power of word of mouth…

This happened thirty years ago…one could wonder how things have evolved since then…

Well, frankly, not very well I think. Or not as much as they should. I will tell you a little personal story to illustrate what I mean:

Like many citizens, I have health insurance. A private service for which I pay a fee, which is a pretty penny. What my plan covers is entirely another issue.

It turns out that I have to complete medical tests that my health insurance company needs to authorize. So far, so good. I call customer service and explain to them what I need. They tell me that I have to send a copy of my affiliated card by email to the department, together with a report from my doctor explaining why I need such tests.
Okay. My request was out of the ordinary and the protocol was different. I understand. I scan all of the documents, I send them by email and…nothing. Already a week has passed and I have received nothing. No email confirming me the receipt of my request, nor a response since then, nothing. I don’t know if they will reply and if so, then I don’t know when.

The truth is that this seems unacceptable and very sad to me. I don’t understand how some firms let their customers have such bad experiences. Even more when the situation is simple and very easy to control.

Everyone wants to be treated individually…

… Jan Carlzon said. Well of course. And more people everyday. The contact points are multiplying, the competition intensifying, and the expectations of the people rise.

This being said, from my humble position, I recommend to every business that, if they want to survive, grow, or better yet, shine, they need to review their philosophies, modify their strategies, and apply the modern methods of management.


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