am 11. Juni 2000
In "Moments of Truth" Jan Carlzon, the then president of Scandinavian Airlines System, tells the extraordinary story of turning a lacklustre state-run airline into a profitable business that consistently won passenger preference surveys. The central element of Carlzon's line of reasoning is the "moment of truth", a concept that was first formulated by Richard Normann in 1984 and which comprises the notion that a service company's overall performance is the sum of countless interactions between customers and employees, the so-called moments of truth that either help to retain a customer or send him to the competition. As Carlzon does emphasize, the implementation of the idea behind this concept is hardly an easy task to accomplish, especially so because it implies the transition from a production-oriented to a market-oriented approach within the company. The measures to be taken in order to make this strategic realignment possible include flattening the organizational pyramid, making sure everyone knows about the company's vision and, last but not least, empowering "front line" employees. Once these changes have been successfully implemented and are being pursued with perseverance, chances are that the outcome will be, as Carlzon puts it, "millions of satisfied customers and thousands of motivated employees".
"Moments of Truth" can be considered a prime example of how to explain a business strategy on very few pages and in an entertaining way. Although the book is written in an anecdotal style and can easily be read within a couple of hours, its contents are of interest and potential value to every manager in the service industry. Congratulations to Mr. Carlzon on a book that is both enlightening and very witty!
I see this book referenced in the literature of customer service, complexity science, and employee-oriented studies. Having now read the book, I can see why so many people refer to it. First, the book is extremely clear and easy to understand. It operates at a common sense level that is missing from many management books. Second, the author is describing case examples from his own first-hand experience. And he is certainly not Al Dunlap. Almost anyone would identify with the principles espoused here, which is to focus your resources and attention on where it will do the most good. Although people who refer to this book are clear about seeing the customer service aspects of Carlzon's thinking, I found that his strategic thinking about where trends force improved performance was even more impressive. Put the two together, and you have a remarkable opportunity to improve. Three, he explains very well the context of why he did things and how Scandinavia is different from the United States. That added a lot of meaning for me of case examples that I am not familiar with. If you want to see three examples of how unstalled thinking can make a big difference in your company, I urge you to read this book. Carlzon is a true stallbuster in areas like overcoming communications, bureaucracy, disbelief, unattractiveness, and misconception stalls. If we ever do another edition of The 2,000 Percent Solution, I would certainly like to use some of these examples in it. I particularly recommend chapters 5 (setting the strategy), 6 (flattening the pyramid), 7 (taking risks), 8 (communicating), 10 (measuring results), and 12 (the second wave). You will not find better advice anywhere else on these subjects. Unlike most management and leadership books, this one is a quick and easy read. Yet it contains a lot of meat. Carlzon seems to be able to get his point across in about one-third the space of most business authors. You'll like the difference.
am 19. Juni 1998
You would think that a book on "how to build customer satisfaction" written in 1,987 should be by now, obsolete. However, as you read how Jan Carlzon turned around the fortunes of three major Scandinavian Airlines, you'll find out why the man who said that ""We like to think of America as the land of the free and the home of the brave risk-takers, but we haven't found the latter to be true", continues being quoted today as an innovative, brigth and brave mind. You'll discover solid principles for developing a service strategy in your own business, clear and sound advice on how to re-define the traditional roles of the hierarchical pyramid, into an upside -down turn pyramid in the customer -driven organization and what leadership is all about. Although Carlzon's effective methods are far from being revolutionary, what is so striking about his story, is his single-minded, almost stubborn determination about getting everyone working together toward a single objective (And we're talking 20,000 people here) and how he accomplished what for many CEO's remains as dreams in paper. Long before we began (or at least tried ) reenginering corporations, or empowering people, Carlzon was already delivering impressive results by doing it . In this book he tells you how.
am 28. Oktober 1997
Jan Carlzon was promoted from middle management to run Scandinacia's biggest airline. He is sometimes quite modest about the reasons for this rise to the top. His airline, SAS, had sunk to the bottom of the league tables for profitability and customer satisfaction. This is half the story of how Carlzon turned around the airline, and half a desctiption of what a Moment of Truth is and how to use the idea of a Moment of Truth to improve customer service businesses. Carlzon defines a moment of truth as that moment when an employee has a choice, and depending on that choice the customer will be either delighted or disgusted with the service. Carlzon goes into the reasons why employees do not always make the customer delighted, and what he did to change these factors at SAS. The book is readable, but the key idea, the moment of truth, is overed in a few pages, and easily remembered. For those who feel no need to proceed through life burdened with a large number of business books, this volume is just the right size to mail with a letter of complaint to a utility company whih has recently given ou poor service. It earned this reviewer a full refund on 4 months of bills for two telephone lines.
am 13. Oktober 1999
This book is an excellent introduction to defining and managing customer touch points. It will help you to develop business processes which will empower your work force in the art of ongoing customer satisfaction. This is something that needs to be part of a company's core values, not just a buzz word.
More important, this is the book that Saturn used to define their world class retail facilities and processes.
The lesson's from the author's personal experience with Scandanavian Airlines are easily translatable to your business.