Actionable insights straight to your inbox

Equities logo

Jeff Kagan: Customer Service Moments That Matter Most

Customer moments are more important than all the money spent on advertising, marketing, and public relations.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.
Equities columnist Jeff Kagan is a telecom, technology and wireless analyst and consultant. He covers 5G, AI, IoT, the metaverse, autonomous driving, healthcare, telehealth, pay TV and more. Follow him at and on Twitter @jeffkagan and LinkedIn.

Every company faces certain moments of truth. These moments matter most with customers. These moments are more important than all the money spent on advertising, marketing, public relations, influencers and more. All those things target the wider, more general audience. The moments of truth that matters most are focused on the individual and more often than not, make or break a customer relationship.

I was asked to give a speech to the employees of a company teaching them about these customer service moment of truth. About the importance of taking care of the customer. The right kind of care. Over and above care. The moments that matter most.

To tell you the truth, the vast majority of those in the audience said they never thought of it this way. That was so telling. Training the workforce to think in this new way is key to growth and success.

The most important role of any employee is making the customer happy and to keeping every customer with the company. Period. These are the invisible moments of truth and are often not know by the management. These moments are not written down in the corporate training manuals. However, these moments save a customer from leaving. Keep them in the fold.

How to handle these important moments are not taught, but should be. Not being understood or taught is a big mistake countless companies make. Most times they don’t even know it.

In fact, moments that matter most should be taught to every employee to interacts with a customer. They are that important to every company’s growth. To their long-term success or failure.

Moments That Matter Most Are When There is a Problem

Moments that matter are typically between a worker and a customer at a moment when there is a problem. How the problem is resolved makes the difference between a happy and satisfied customer that can turn into a customer for life, or one who is dissatisfied and goes to a competitor.

Often times, the worker who disregards a corporate policy to keep the customer happy is the winning factor. This is the right thing to do because it saves the customer and solidifies the relationship. There are no two ways around this reality. Smart companies encourage this breaking of the rules to make the customer happy. Other companies punish and that is a large part of their problem.

What about your company? Are you encouraged to do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy in order to keep the customer? If a worker simply follows the rules, they may make their boss happy short-term, but the customer will be unhappy and leave. That will make the management unhappy long-term. So, the path to success is clear.

However, if a worker stops and thinks about the situation, they can see the right thing to do. And simply doing the right thing keeps the customer happy and that keeps the customer. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Every Worker Should Be Trained on Moments That Matter Most

Ritz Carlton Hotels train their workers to go above and beyond to keep the customer satisfied. To do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. Even if it means spending money to do so. When a customer has a problem, they have a short fuse. If not resolved quickly and correctly, the customer may not return. So, if there is a problem, how that problem is handled and how quickly it is handled, is the moment that matters.

At the Ritz Carlton, their motto is, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.” That says it all. But they go one step further. They empower every employee to make a decision to make any customer happy right now. That means from the hotel general manager to the maids that clean the room. They have the power to do whatever it takes, even spend money to the keep every customer happy.

And that’s what makes the Ritz Carlton so super successful for so many years. This is the power I am talking about with the moments that matter.

My son told me a story about when he worked at Einstein’s Bagel. He remembers a customer who became very irate and stormed out of the store when he ordered a coffee, but there were no cups left. He swore he would never to return. My son saw what happened, grabbed a plastic travel cup with the Einstein’s logo, filled it with coffee, and ran out of the store to the customer.

He said sorry for the way the customer was treated and gave him what he wanted, and at no charge. That moment that mattered not only turned the customers sour attitude around, instantly, but that customer kept coming back for years.

He was not trained to do this. He just did what he thought was the right thing. Afterwards, he was praised by his boss and a letter was sent to him from the corporate office patting him on the back. This is the way customers should be treated. This was an important lesson that every worker should learn. And that is the important lesson every company and every boss should teach. That’s how you build a company.

A friend told he his family has been buying my eyeglasses from Lenscrafters for years. Recently, he purchased a new pair. Then after a few weeks, while clipped to his shirt, some how they got scratched. It was very annoying so he called the Lenscrafters store where he bought them and asked what to do?

Since he had not purchased the damage plan, and since my health insurance would not pay for another pair, he would have to pay more than $700 for that scratch. The person on the phone simply said that was store policy. He felt abandoned. Lenscrafters didn’t care according to their policy. So, he was screwed.

That lack of care for the customer got him wondering why he was so loyal to them. Maybe there was another company who would appreciate his family’s business more. This was the moment that mattered, and Lenscrafters blew it. Fortunately, the story did not end there.

After several days, he went into the store to see if there was anything that could be done. The delightful young woman who took care of him originally was there and she jumped to his rescue. Today, he has a new pair of glasses, at no charge and is very happy. She saved a good customer which will mean much more revenue for the store going forward.

Lenscrafters’ Worker Saved Customer in the Moment of Truth

Today he is happy with Lenscrafters thanks to this young woman handling the moment of truth correctly. She was there in that moment that mattered. She did the right thing for him and for Lenscrafters. This is why his whole family has been a Lenscrafters customer for more years and more glasses than he can count. Because of what she did in the moment that matters, they will all stay customers. And isn’t that the whole point?

LA Fitness dropped the ball in a key moment that matters. I signed my son up for a membership. After a year he cancelled, but didn’t tell me. Not knowing, I kept paying the bill as it was charged to my credit card for years. When I found out, I told them about the problem and they said there was nothing they would do. They failed at that moment that matters most. Because of that, we are all now members at a competitor. So, handing this moment wrong, backfired on LA Fitness.

Think about what I am saying. I’m sure you have many of your own examples of moments that matter. We all do. Of companies that saved you and companies that blew it. Every company should train their workers on how to recognize and handle the moments that matter.

This will make the difference between keeping customers and growing, or not. The choice is simple, yet most companies and most workers never think about the moments that matter. But they should!


Jeff Kagan is an columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay, FinTech and communications technology. Email him at [email protected]. His web site is Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon should be turning the volume up. Their current quiet murmur is just not enough.