“Profit inflection points come disguised as little crises” - Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS/Scandinavian Airlines
I just finished reading Moments of Truth, a management book written by Jan Carlzon who was the CEO of the SAS Group (Scandinavian Airlines) from 1981-1994. The book published in 1987 was one of the first books that really spoke about running a “customer-driven company”, something that is just picking up mainstream momentum now, almost 30 years later.
At the core of the book is this concept of the “moment of truth”, which describes each tiny interaction a company has with a customer, in which the customer decides whether they are satisfied with the company, or not. The book has become legendary inside support organisations who use it as a manual to ensure that every customer has a fantastic experience each time they interact with the customer.
However, one of the most fascinating parts of the book is where Carlzon talks about dealing with “angry” or dissatisfied customers, yet argues that those moments are actually the best times to drive increased sales or profits.
Too many companies and sales reps get instantly spooked by a customer who shows the slightest amount of anger, dissatisfaction or frustration. However, that customer is simply experiencing a problem that you now have a chance to solve for them.
Ironically, it’s the quiet, “happy” customers who leave you, whilst the ones who are constantly giving you feedback, even negative, are truly engaged with your company and are more likely to stick with you, given you can solve their problems.
The next time you get a call from an angry customer, don’t fret - it’s simply a chance to solve a problem, and maybe even generate a sale.
Remember, as Jan says, “Profit inflection points come disguised as little crises”. Every time you interact with a customer, you have a chance to either gain or lose business. It's up to you :)