Learn five examples of Moments of Truth (MoT) or critical turning points that have a long-term impact on the customer journey.
In business-to-business marketing and sales, we often focus on the final turning points in the decision-making process: How do we get on their short list? How do we get them to sign the deal?
But organizations that focus attention on all of the critical decisions throughout the journey stand the best chance of retaining future revenue and loyalty. These companies know they can’t be everything to everyone. They invest in the customer interactions that matter the most.
In customer experience we call these critical turning points: Moments of Truth (MoTs).
They are the moments when lasting impressions are made because they’re decisions heavily driven by emotions. They can influence purchase outcomes and customer loyalty in a positive or negative way.
We’re used to thinking about consumer decision-making as an impulsive act. Super sizing a value meal or grabbing a candy bar at the checkout lane.
But it may be a surprise to learn B2B customers also are driven by emotions as much as they’re driven by logic. Despite a longer buyer cycle, research has shown when more options and consequences are weighed, decision-makers rely on their feelings, instincts, and memories.
Moments of Truth Have Long-term Impact
Moments of Truth have an immediate and long-term impact on buying behavior. After a decision is made in a MoT, customers will remember this moment and how it made them feel. This reflective memory stays “top of mind” and can influence loyalty depending upon the impression it left on the whole experience.
What might seem like subtle differences in the end-to-end customer journey can lead to improving the overall experience for customers, influencing their immediate buying decision, as well as future buying decisions. That is where the competitive advantage of your experience lies. Because many competitors rush to fill the gaps in the business customer journey, it’s wise to map the experience, address the MoTs, and design customer experiences that fulfill the brand promise.
Five Examples of B2B Moments of Truth Impacting Loyalty
- Access to Expertise: Trustworthy expertise supports customers in multiple ways. In some cases, your customer may prefer self-service access, while in others, they may seek interaction with your experts. Companies with great experience often narrow in on delivering expertise pre-sale by recording in-person product demos that are easy to share with other teams, or providing virtual simulations or free test drives.
- Face-to-Face vs. Digital: Strive to provide the right type of touchpoint where appropriate in the customer journey MoTs. In some cases, buyers prefer a quick text message or video call versus an in-person visit from a sales representative. COVID-19 has made this dynamic even more challenging, but it’s a good reason to ask customers what they prefer. This can change moment-to-moment as well. A brand focused on increasing face-to-face time believing customers want it as they make their final decision might accidentally frustrate customers if they push for too many face-to-face meetings during the early stages of the buying process. It’s important to match your customers’ communication preferences at each MoT.
- Quickly Solving Problems: We’ve found this is most important during the onboarding process where there may be problems with integration and easy adoption. Your customers need timely help and may complain that support reps don’t understand their unique situation. It’s important to analyze what problems occur frequently and work to prevent them.
- Friendliness and Transparency: It’s painful when support reps don’t know the answer, but it’s worse when you feel they aren’t being honest. Encourage employees to be friendly and transparent when customers are confused and be proactive about communicating updates to customers as they work through solutions. Even the end of a customer relationship can be critical to future success, so it’s important to also look at the cancellation experience. Make it easy for customers to get the support they need because their experiences in these moments can influence referrals.
- Uncertainty about ROI: When customers don’t see the benefits of a product they purchased or know how to convey them to others as successful outcomes, this is a problem for your brand. Preparing for these MoTs – especially when it’s time to renew contracts, upgrade, or address someone on the verge of cancellation – can go a long way toward creating positive customer experiences. Show customers how they can track ROI during the onboarding process and refer back to it throughout the user cycle before it’s time to renew.
Take some time to reflect on customer feedback about pain, and especially when it occurs during pivotal moments in the customer journey with your brand. Think about the potential customer showstopper peaks and endpoints, and how you might optimize them to create greater growth, competitive advantage, and differentiation in your market.