I have previously spoken about the critical importance to our businesses of providing truly exceptional customer service and really making this sit at the heart of the business. Well, the truth is – we all talk a good game in this regard but it is rarely really delivered in practice. Well, at least consistently.

That’s why we are so pleasantly surprised when it happens to us. Take last week. I was on a business trip to Glasgow and stayed at the Blythswood Hotel.

An unbelievable customer experience! The moment the taxi door opened…exceptional welcome by the porter. Next – reception. No queues, no fuss, free upgrade…5 mins maximum experience – Receptionist could not have been nicer and more professional. Next…bags taken to the room – quickly. Welcome drink offered – refused…I was in a rush. Next – taken to the room. Room tour – air con set to a requested level. Left in peace – quickly. Taxi to room – 10 mins maximum.

30 mins later…’check-in’ call by Concierge. “Everything OK. Anything we can do for you”?

You get the picture. It carried on like this until we left the next morning. Consistently!

The thing that impressed me most was not so much the consistency and politeness of the service but the consistency of EVERY MEMBER OF STAFF ‘getting it’ and getting it right!

Was this an expensive hotel? No. A normal budget for us (which is not a lot I can assure you!). We just got very lucky in the selection. I’m now an advocate and if I travel to Glasgow again (I hope so, as we were seeing a potential big new customer!)…there is no doubt I’ll stay again (even if it’s a bit more expensive next time) and I’ll recommend it to anyone I know travelling to Glasgow!

The point of this rambling?

Every contact with a customer is a ‘moment of truth’ for our businesses. EVERY CONTACT.

Get it right…we win. Get it wrong (or one member of your team gets it wrong – including outsourced partners; suppliers; anyone that contributes to your business and comes into contact, even remotely, with your customers)…your reputation takes a dent and you just do not know it, until it’s too late if you are losing a customer to your competition.

Jan Karlsson turned around a Government owned Scandinavian Airline in the 80’s on the back of every member of staff ‘getting moments of truth’. It took time – but that airline became the most successful and profitable European carrier for a time – based on customer experience and not price. They were the first of their kind…closely followed by Virgin, albeit much more publicly as you would expect!

In our business we bang on (my team will say incessantly!) about ‘moments of truth’. How we answer the phone – all consistently to an agreed welcome…’Good Morning/Afternoon, esphr, [Christian Name] speaking – how can I help you?; making sure the stamp is put on squarely on the envelope; making sure the milk and biscuits are in every week for guests; ensuring agreed accessibility and service standards are at the centre of our business performance. 100 ‘little things’ that are far more important to me than a few big things we all ‘emergency response’ really well too in truth.

Get the little things right I figure…and the few big moments tend to happen really well automatically.

So – next time you take a look from the outside in at your business…why not look at your own ‘moments of truth’ and start a journey that, in truth, will never end…but it may just differentiate you enough from your competition to retain those valued existing customers and win more new ones…which is nice!


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Author: Peter Byrne

Founder, ESP Group

Pete set up ESP Group in March 2003, after running an HR resource management business for three years. 

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