Don’t Drown in Data: Identify Your Customer Moments of Truth

By Aarthi Rayapura July 7, 2015

Our guest on Customer Success Radio‘s 24th podcast titled How to Solve for the Customer is Denis Pombriant, Managing Principal at Beagle Research and author of the Solve for the Customer: Using Customer Science to Build Stronger Relationships and Improve Business Results.

While the conversation wove in Kevin Bacon, Tolstoy and Anna Karenina (as you do) as it relates to Subscription Culture and Customer Science a majority of the conversation centered around the often intangible concept for subscription businesses — customer moments of truth.

We are often inundated and quite frankly overwhelmed with the amount of data out there as it relates to our customers’ behavior or interactions with our company and our products. So, we posed the question: “How do you really effectively leverage all of this data to serve your customers?”

“I wouldn’t even try. I wouldn’t try to leverage all the data,” answered Pombriant.

There’s a lot of messaging out there telling us to gather every single data point on our customers. Unleash the fire hose of customer data and they’ll be insights that magically pop out. This can be data overload and out the outcome can be more paralyzing than productive.

Instead, Denis Pombriant recommends a moments of truth approach.

“Moments of truth are limited, they are finite. If you want to effectively manage and you’ve got limited resources, you want to manage the exceptions,” asserts Pombriant.

It starts by identifying key customer moments of truth along the subscriber journey where you have to meet a promise, explicit or implicit, and gather an objective view on whether you passed or failed. This innately narrows the playing field from millions of data points down key pieces that’s much more concentrated and manageable.

However, it’s critical you train your customers to focus on what you do and what they need from you. And part of this is being comfortable when a customer asserts, ‘I’ve got this problem over here,’ and your reply is, ‘well, that’s not what we do.’ This is the basic Venn diagram intersection — the customer has a need, you have a solution. At that intersection is the moment of truth or one of many moments of truth.

These moments of truth can be very tactical. And these moments of truth are often not in regards to products gone bad but about processes blowing up. Let’s use an example of an onboarding process.

Every customer has a different set of moments of truth in their onboarding process. Perhaps it starts with subscribing to your product or service, registering for training, completing the training, successfully launching their first project, expanding use of the product or service by getting more users trained which perhaps leads to an upgrade. Each one of those moments of truth can go sideways.

Focusing on the effective processes between these moments of truth is really where customer stands to gain the most success. Once you’ve identified what your moments of truth are you can then decide the data needed to analyze in order to optimize these moments of truth.