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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Who Is Your Company?

Moment of Truth, In the hands of your employees

The answer is simple: it is the person I am dealing with “AT THAT MOMENT.” In those fleeting seconds, one individual assumes the mantle of the entire enterprise. Their words, demeanor, and empathy become the face of the company. The warmth of their greeting or the efficiency of their problem-solving reverberates far beyond the immediate conversation.

I call it “The Moment of Truth.” In some cases, there are multiple such moments during a transaction. These instances provide several opportunities to either impress or disappoint the customer. Let me share an example: Recently, I purchased a car for my wife. After hours of research, I had the exact car in mind—make, model, trim package, and color. I also had a fair understanding of the cost. But then came the actual selling process, and it was brutal.

I conveyed my precise requirements to the first salesperson, only to receive a bid sheet for a car priced $20,000 over the Suggested Manufacturer Retail Price (SMRP). Highly frustrated, I asked, “Exactly what didn’t you understand about what I wanted?” I was on the verge of walking out when the sales manager stepped in. From that moment, I never spoke to the initial salesperson again.

My first “Moment of Truth” was dreadful. Despite millions of dollars in inventory, extensive advertising, and a stunning showroom, I was seconds away from leaving—all because of the employee I encountered “AT THAT MOMENT.” He represented the entire company: marketing, sales, advertising, shipping, maintenance, IT, accounting, warehousing, and management—all relying on his performance.

I won’t bore you with all the other details (encounters and interactions) of the transaction, except for the last one. I view that final encounter as PRESTON to the RESCUE because he turned a difficult buying experience into a true pleasure. Let me share the story:

Preston, responsible for acquainting us with the car, went above and beyond. He meticulously explained how everything operated—the intricate workings of the vehicle, setting up the phone, programming the garage door opener, and more. His expertise was evident right from the start. In fact, he kicked off our interaction with a simple yet crucial question: “Who is going to be the primary driver?”

I replied that it would be my wife, and from that moment forward, Preston made her his priority. His patience and thoroughness impressed me. He never rushed, treating every question with respect and providing detailed answers. Nothing was too trivial to address. Preston, in that pivotal role, became a major asset to his company. And let me tell you, I don’t impress easily.

Great companies understand the importance of eliminating terrible first encounters. They recognize the Ripple Effect inherent in all transactions. Positive interactions ripple outward, creating satisfied customers who become advocates, spreading goodwill. But negative encounters reverberate too. That impatient call center agent. The tardy delivery driver. The salesperson who fails to listen attentively. They cast shadows on the entire organization.

So, here’s a challenge: If you want to gauge how good your company truly is, become the consumer and live “their” experience. Walk in the shoes of your customers, encounter those moments of truth, and see firsthand how your organization shines or stumbles.


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