A Moment of Truth

A Moment of Truth is a phrase that may conjure up different scenarios in your mind.  For me, it triggers thoughts about customer service. 

Over thirty years ago, I read a book titled Moments of Truth by Jan Carlzon, then President of Scandinavian Airlines.  Carlzon saw every customer interaction as a moment in time that reinforced the bond between a company and its customers.  He opined that highly satisfied customers translated to loyal customers, and loyal customers are fundamental to not only a company’s reputation but its financial success.

My forty-two-year career with a telecommunications giant, all of it in Network Operations, highlighted the value of customer-driven policies and procedures.  During my time as an Area Manager of Installation and Maintenance technicians, I quickly learned that every customer contact was an opportunity to renew and reinforce the customer bond — or break it. 

You may think that a repair visit was a de facto failure.   Ironically, customer repair visits proved to be just another moment of truth for us.  Studies showed that a prompt response that fixed the problem right the first time inspired customer trust.  Customers understood that even quality phone service may be interrupted from time to time.  But a prompt repair experience served to strengthen customer loyalty. 

All those customer experiences came flooding back to me this weekend when a local produce and garden center had a moment of truth with me.  Good Earth Produce and Garden Center, located in Augusta, Georgia, is a locally owned market that is known for its fresh local produce and plants.  My wife loves this place.

Needing a few fruits and veggies for the weekend, I dropped by Good Earth on Friday  — adorned, of course, in my Pandemic wardrobe of gloves and a mask.  As I maintained my “social distance,” and navigated my cart full of fresh produce to the cashier, I decided to treat my wife to one of their delightful cakes as a Mother’s Day surprise.  Their cakes, locally made, are truly triple D quality — that is delicious, delectable, and dreamy — a bit pricey, but guaranteed to make your taste buds do a happy dance….and earn me a bushel of brownie points.  And I always need brownie points.  Besides, buying a Good Earth cake is when I get to have the cake and eat it too.

Saturday evening, I unveiled the Key Lime Cake that tempted us to skip the main meal and eat dessert first.  When we finally gave in to the tasty temptation, the initial slice of the cake knife was a gut punch to our inflated expectations.  The icing cracked, and the first slice of cake crumbled before our tear-filled eyes.    To call it moist would be like calling the Sahara Dessert the Chattahoochee River.  In other words, it was so dry every forkful found the cake crumbling to shreds.

Needless to say, I was not a happy customer of Good Earth.  What the……happened?  All of our previous experiences had exceeded expectations.  As soon as dinner was over, I went online to send a brief note of complaint via their website’s “Contact Us” form.  Frankly, I wasn’t sure what kind of response, if any, I would receive. 

To my surprise, just a few hours later, on Mother’s Day Eve, I received a message from Good Earth owner, Rick Catts.  Rick profusely apologized for the cake, stated that they stand behind everything they sell, and promised to make it right.  He provided his cell number and asked that I call him the next day.  This (Sunday) morning, he told me what cakes had been made fresh and were available to me.  This time, I picked a chocolate one.

I must admit to being impressed.  Good Earth just had a Moment of Truth, and it passed with a Wow.   The new cake was all we expected and more — well-done, well-made and well-worth-it.

I may be attracted to a store by their quality products and reasonable prices, but I am a frequent and loyal customer in response to great customer service.

My wife’s first words after a bite of her new cake?  OMG.  Much like my response to how Good Earth handled my complaint  — delighted and ready for a return trip — to the cake as well as the store.

Thank you, Rick Catts and Good Earth, for reminding me what quality products and quality service look and taste like.


You can check out Good Earth at 150 Davis Rd. in Augusta, GA 

or at


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